Do contact us with your suggestions for new articles - and we really appreciate comments and other feedback.
Are you looking for ways in which your children can explore their world through music and movement?
This slideshow/video summarises our 2-year project with a nursery and primary school in Kendal. Discover what we did, what we learned, what obstacles we faced and how the children engaged.
Production has been supported by Youth Music, and so we are able to make this free to download.
"Dogs, Bones and Dancing richly expands the story I have been trying to understand, in two ways.
First, it is clear that, for each of these three-to-five-year-olds, the growing vitality of a human body with its many clever parts has become a thrilling adventure.
Secondly, this life adventure is one to be explored in play with companions who love to share the energy and grace of moving, and the new stories it tells.
Such advances in cleverness with cultural understanding depend on the vitality of natural self-expression, and the enjoyment of co-creating with others in making actions and memories meaningful and productive of common good."
Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Edinburgh
We hope you will enjoy meeting the children, the educators, their ideas and explorations and learning, and reading the accompanying Commentary by Colwyn Trevarthen, Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh
"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
That banner-statement of Einstein's came back to me yesterday, as I was reflecting on the questions and uncertainties of an enthusiastic team of educators with whom we're currently working. Keen to thoroughly shift their practice from 'instruction' to 'construction', they are encountering that 'rug-pulled-from-under-their feet' feeling of what it might mean to do things differently, with a different mindset:
"What should we do if we're not instructing?"
"What if the children have different interests and ideas to ours?"
"How can we understand what to do?"
Their imagination is kindled, nudging them towards 'doing things differently', yet like many/most of us, their own experience of 'what education is' had been solidly instructional: that's what they'd had, and that's the common practice in the schools around them. Very unsettling, to say the least. I recall how education students participating in our Floor Four exploratorium also discussed how they felt initially de-skilled by the challenge of beginning with listening and observation, rther than predefined ctivities (as they'd been taught in college.)
How different the challege is to work with imagination at the fore, rather than repetition and ingestion.
What a positive call of encouragement Einstein's famous proclamation is, and I was prompted to hear more, so I tracked down the 1929 interview. If you click on the statement , you can read the full interview too - I hope you enjoy it as much as did I. Einstein discusses so much, so elequently - the artistry of being, thinking, examining, living - and the serious danger of living withough so doing.
"Life," Einstein said later in a letter to his son, "is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Maybe that is good enough advice for us educators too, as we learn, uncertainly, but with inner energy, how to do things differently: learning how better to work with our children who themselves are also born natural examiners of worlds.
Thing the First
On Friday 2nd February we are having a Dialogue Day at Madeley Nursery School, Telford. This will be a special day dedicated to explore the various principles and practice which Sightlines Initiative, the Nursery School, and also Reggio Emilia, have been working on for 20, 17, and 60 years (!) respectively. The day will be for a maximum of 10 educators/heads/managers, who are themselves beginning to explore theses principles in their practice.
Here you can read more about the day, and book your place - do ring us with any questions.
Thing the Second
... A video by Reggio Emilia's municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools, based on children's ideas and thoughts about the squares in the city.
The schools wanted to investigate children's ideas on the participation and 'life lived' by adults and children in the piazzas of the town and in the schools themselves, as a backdrop to the elections of a big new intake of citizens and friends to the new City Childhood Councils ....