Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education

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Events Archive

Learning to Live Well Together ~

investigating the shaping of education from ethics of relationship & listening.

Seminar Two: The humanness of conviviality in learning

Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Edinburgh


photos by ColwynAbstract reasoning about the brain as an organ for 'cognition', just recording information, creates barriers to understanding of the playful and affectionate motives for learning in early childhood.

As teachers and parents we need to appreciate how, in every human community, impulses for play inspire rituals of artful creativity and their celebration, and to consider how the source of this imaginative vitality born in our children may be best supported. ... Does the ambitious world of adults searching for profits in knowledge and skills become toxic for the spirit of many children?

In the past 50 years, research to describe how infants live with those who care for them, has discovered remarkable powers of selective awareness in newborn babies, and a need to engage with other persons' impulses and imitate them. Within a year, before any words are picked up, this inquisitive and affectionate playmate is learning of conventional behaviours, including daily rituals and purposeful handling of everyday tools. The child has taught us that we are born with powerful motives that lead to sharing baby songs, action games and use of words with many other tricks and devices for spreading and keeping alive a particular history of meanings. This is the 'nature of culture', in the child, that education has to serve

We are led by … observant science of human nature to recognize that the foundations of education, in every culture, must be in the development from birth of human impulses to test and expand active experience, and to share it joyfully with companions.

The brain of a newborn is about one third the size of an adult brain, but it has the unique human anatomy, including cerebral hemispheres with different temperaments and awareness adapted for complementary roles in cultural learning. The two sides of the brain of a child show different periods of growth that relate to changes in social motives for building affectionate relationships celebrated in artful ways of self-expression for collective pleasure, and systematic concentration of the individual body and mind to discriminate and identify or represent tasks that exploit environmental affordances for profitable 'work', and for their manipulation in technology.

The changing balance of these complementary modes, of the intellectual intention and awareness of the individual, contrasted with value-sensing of aesthetic and moral feelings in relationships, marks the key stages of a young child's activities and learning. Educational practice must attend to and work with these transformations in human ingenuity and compassions, how they may be created in development of body and mind, and how they are supported in communication and cooperation.

Colwyn TrevarthenDuring the past four decades, Professor Colwyn Trevarthen has published widely on brain development, the development of communication in infants and toddlers, musical and gestural communication, parent-infant interaction, and the interpersonal foundations of language and meaning. He is now Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, where he has taught since 1971. His professional generosity, enthusiasm and scholarship have been recognised internationally. He was trained as a biologist and psychologist, and pioneered research on infant communication in the 1960s with Jerome Bruner, T. Berry Brazelton and Martin Richards.

Date Tuesday 13th July 2021
Price £40
Member Discount 10%
Presenters

Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Edinburgh

Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making a recording of this session available to registrants.
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.
  • Times 4 - 5.30pm
    Location/Map: online

    Learning to Live Well Together ~

    investigating the shaping of education from ethics of relationship & listening.

    Seminar One: Reggio’s theory of interactivity and relations

    Dr. Lorenzo Manera, Reggio Emilia, Italy


    Immagine2The Reggio Emilia Approach is characterised by a relational aesthetics that find its roots in Deweyan philosophy and in phenomenological* reflections.

    Dr. Manera will introduce Reggio’s Approach, its aesthetics and roots, and underline how these perspectives influence the design of the learning experiences – also showing how researchful educational practice goes on to influence the further development of theoretical perspectives. His presentation is illustrated with research projects promoted by the Reggio Children Foundation.

    *“Everything that I know about the world, even my scientific knowledge, is gained from my own particular point of view, or from an experience of the world without which the symbol of science would be meaningless. The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to rigorous scrutiny and arrive at a precise assessment of its wish to think rigorously, to appreciate precisely its meaning and scope, we must begin by awakening the basic experience of the world, of which science is the second-order expression. …

    To return to things themselves is to return to that world which precedes knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the countryside in which we have learnt beforehand  what a forest, a meadow, or a river is.”       

    Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The Phenomenology of Perception, 1962

    lorenzo maneraDr. Lorenzo Manera is a postdoctoral fellow in Aesthetics and Pedagogy in the Department of Education and Human Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He is a member of the Italian Society of Aesthetics, and Executive assistant for the PhD in “Reggio Childhood Studies”, promoted by the Department of Education and Human Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Fondazione Reggio Children. He has experience in Preschools (Montessori Preschool in Regensburg, Germany), has worked as school educator in a primary and secondary school in Reggio Emilia and as researcher in several preschools in Reggio Emilia.

    Date Tuesday 6th July 2021
    Price £40
    Member Discount 10%
    Presenters

    Dr. Lorenzo Manera, Reggio Emilia, Italy

    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making a recording of this session available to registrants.
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.
  • Times 4 - 5.30pm
    Location/Map: online

    A free introduction to our summer conference series investigating the shaping of education from ethics of relationship & listening.

    Learning to Live well Together 1a

    Education in England, including early childhood education, is increasingly narrow, instrumental and technical, subject to a culture of managerial accountability obsessed with targets, testing and readying, and that sees nurseries and schools as ‘outcome factories’. In the words of Sir Ken Robinson, “we are living with a construct of education based on an outdated model of training for an industrial, growth economy…capacity for divergent thinking deteriorates with schooling…children alienated, not engaged, lacking aesthetic experience." Changing Educational Paradigms

    Emphasis is on the individual and on an educational norm of transmitting pre-determined information and skills from educator to child.

    But other types of relationship are available. Great educators, such as Reggio Emilia’s Loris Malaguzzi, have built their education on the importance of groups, of dialogue and listening, of creativity and research, and of children and adults working together to co-construct meaning and empathy. Instead of a pedagogy of transmission and conformity, they have chosen a pedagogy of collaboration, conviviality, democracy and enquiry: this is the heart which will be exploring in our June - September conference series. 

    This session on 29th June is a free introductory session to the ideas which we will be exploring in the series. This introduction will be by Prof. Peter Moss, ioE; Robin Duckett, Sightlines Initiative; Greta Ellis & Cathering Reding, Kirkoswald Primary School; Louise Lowings, Madeley Nursery School; Rachel Oakshott-Evans, Growing Places Early Years Centres.

    You can read full details about the series itself, dates, presenters and presentation focus - and register -  in the series Registration Section below.

    We have choices to make about the future direction for education and what we want for our children, and to be able to make choices we need to articulate the possibilities. We have choices to make about the foundations we build our education on and what ethics should underpin these.

    Education can continue down the path of transmission, control and individualism and the utilitarian values of growth. However there’s a growing social realisation that these mores are essentially damaging, and certainly not core to the way humans are born to learn.

    Instead we can turn to richer foundations for questing for meaning and understanding, more participatory and more respectful of diversity and potential with the educational environment being designed to work with the natural ‘zests’ of humans to enquire, to make sense of the world, and to do so in relationship with others and the innumerous elements of the world we depend on and of which we are a part (See Sightlines Initiative Principles.)

    Where this direction has been wholeheartedly embraced we see children eagerly engaged together in sophisticated and reflective project work, displaying a rich emotional, poetic understanding hand in hand with meaningful technical knowledge. Nurseries and schools become places of research, where educators and children are engaged together in co-constructing learning experiences.

    There is much to be described and envisioned – from the language in which we speak, the ways we see and hear and relate, to how we do it and our valuing of time and recognition of the many competences both of children and adults.

    Taking this path needs preparedness and intent. It needs good companions, new stories, new shoes, and new eyes.

    We hope this series will bring together those intent on developing a new pedagogy.

     

    Date Tuesday 29th June 2021
    Presenters

    Prof. Peter Moss, Institute of Education, London

    Robin Duckett, director, Sightlines Initiative

    Louise Lowings, Head, Madeley Nursery School

    Catherine Reding / Greta Ellis, teacher/Head Kirkoswald Primary School

    Rachel Oakshott-Evans, Pedagogical Manager, Growing Places Nurseries

    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making a recording of this session available to registrants.
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.
  • The series will begin in July. Contributors will include Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Edinburgh; Dr. Lorenzo Manera, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Harold Göthson, Stockholm, Sweden; Dr. Satish Kumar, UK; Dr. Lesley Rameka, Waikato, New Zealand; Dr. Iain McGilchrist, UK.
  • Times 4 - 5.30 p.m.
    Location/Map: online

    A group of unicorns were lost in the forest after their mother had died.

    A cat told them, “Don’t worry, I’ll look after you. Come with me.”

    • Children's explorations and themes in processing lockdown experiences: What can educators learn from listening in shaping and enriching educational provision?
    • What routes have we been finding to continue shaping creative learning environments?

    Network members are keen to share their experiences: this session has been suggested by Woolenwick Infant & Nursery School.  Experiences will be presented for exchange and discussion from Sightlines Initiative Network members including Woolenwick,  various London nursery centres,  Kirkoswald Primary School, Edopia School Early Years (Pakistan.) We will also be hearing about the Play Observatory project from team member Dr. Kate Cowan.

    All are welcome to join the discussion; if you would also like to contribute your experiences in the session, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

    CV19 in a cage RosieRosie. Woolenwick Nursery & Infants SchoolThe mummy virus is inside a cage because the vaccine stopped her, but she has babies who are still able to spread.

    Date Tuesday 22nd June 2021
    Price £10
    Member Discount Free for Members
    Please Note:

    This exchange meeting is open for all. If you would like to become a member, you can join here.

    Times 4 - 5.30 p.m.
    Location/Map: online

    01 ELiN SI

    A five-session online course intending to guide you through helpful beginnings in developing your pedagogy in nature, with discussions of narratives from 'Learning to Learn in Nature', preparation guidance and general readiness.

    Learning to Learn in Nature is about young children learning in wild places, and educators learning with them. It is about being in connection with nature and bringing that connection back to the classroom. But it is also about something more, something that is seen very clearly when children are given the freedom to explore the wild outdoors on their own terms, with daring and imagination.

    It is about learning as a process of continuous enquiry: an expression of insatiable fascination with the world, in which children learn together and individually, and educators and children work together to discover and make meaning. School life is part of human life, connected to its cycles, desires, dreams, wonderings. Educators best meet the interests of children when fundamental human values inform and shape their pedagogical practice.

    Our Autumn 2020 course will echo the framework of our action-research publication Learning to Learn in Nature: Discovering the Forest, Meeting the Unknown, Competence and Autonomy, Building a Culture Together, Journeys of Change.. Each session will feature  a presentation of material, invitations to help you structure your encounters in nature to encourage yours and your children's iimagination & learning, group discussion and questions.

    05 EdRoles SI

    Date Friday 12th March 2021
    End Date Thursday 11th March 2021
    Price £195
    Member Discount £25
    Presenters

    Robin Duckett

    Cetherine Reding

    Liz Elders 

    ... & others

    Please Note:

    Planned seminar dates:

    15th October

    12th November

    14th January

    11th February

    11th March

    (all Thursdays)

    Times 4 - 5pm on each date
    Location/Map: online

    spider's web study

    This session will cover:

    • A short history and principles of blockplay
    • What block play offers: reflecting on practice
    • A celebration of children’s wonderful ideas
    • The practicalities of blockplay organisation.

    There will be opportunities for viewers to ask questions.

    Dr Deborah Albon is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Roehampton and writer.

    Ann Bridges was formerly headteacher of a nursery school and consultant.

    Solveig Morris was formerly a headteacher of a nursery and infant school, a local authority inspector for early years education and consultant. She is also a co-ordinator for London ReFocus – a regional network group of Sightlines Initiative.

     Helen Tovey was formerly a headteacher of a nursery school and principal lecturer at the Froebel College, University of Roehampton. She is a Froebel travelling tutor and author of early years publications.

    All four presenters have been inspired by the work of Pat Gura who died recently.  Pat, as a researcher for early years education, was particularly known for her contribution to the Froebel Blockplay Research Project (directed by Tina Bruce) in the late 1980s which explored the use of Community Playthings blocks in early years settings. Ann and Deborah, as practitioners, were original members of the research group. The legacy left by this project is relevant today as it was then.

    Date Thursday 11th February 2021
    Price £35
    Member Discount £5
    Presenters

    Dr Deborah Albon

    Ann Bridges

    Solveig Morris

    Helen Tovey

    Please Note:
    • We will be using Zoom for this session. Participants will be sent a link the day prior to the date. If you are registering on the day itself, please email robin@sightlines-initiative.com for the link.
    • We will record the session to enable registrants who are unable to join live to view the session a day or two later, and to enable all participants to revisit the session.
    Times 4 - 5.15 p.m.
    Location/Map: online

    Bicycles & Bricks, Vision & Determination ~

    Online Conference set:  narratives of the real and possible in shaping education

    Seminar Five: Democracy in education: provocations from the Portuguese Modern School Movement

    Dr. Diana Sousa, University College London


    MEM school reflectionWe want to arrange a party for the baby with Fernanda’s mum; We want to learn things about whales and sharks.

    Democracy as a value, ethic, practice and purpose is largely absent from education in England. In this presentation, I will contrast the situation in England with the attention paid to democracy elsewhere, in particular focusing on The Portuguese Modern School Movement (Movimento da Escola Moderna Portuguesa), also known as MEM, in which democracy is a central component.

    MEM is one of the most active and widespread democratic pedagogies to be found in any country today. Remarkably, it emerged out of repression and consequent struggles for freedom, in a Portugal marked by a dictatorial regime that lasted almost half a century (1926 -1974). This oppressive rule, which ended with a democratic revolution, was pivotal in establishing democracy as a national aspiration for both education and society and consequently, a political period, which inspired those who were looking for progressive alternatives. In MEM, learning and teaching focus on the socio-cultural development of sciences, techniques, arts and everyday life, within the spirit of communication and cooperation between all stakeholders in education. The organisation of work and learning is based on a dialogic and cooperated system in which structures of educational cooperation, communication, and democratic participation inform each other in a reciprocal relationship, and education is defined as a shared journey towards active and democratic citizenship where everyone teaches and everyone learns.

    Diana SDr. Diana Sousa is Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute of Education, University College London. She previously worked as an educator in a variety of early childhood settings and, her particular research interest is the place of democracy in early childhood education.


    2016 project 1These are times of possibility. Amidst calls and demands to ‘return to normal’ there are also many who have lost patience with the ‘old normal’ or have seen that other ways of living and learning are indeed preferable. Multitudes of educators, head teachers, parents and advocates are striving to protect and also develop possibilities for educational experiences with children’s rights, wellbeing and proclivities for natural enquiry at the heart.  

    This online conference set of seminars is designed to nourish all those who are actively promoting and creating these ‘visions of the possible.'

    Seminar Five: Democratic alternatives in education: Provocations from the Portuguese Modern School Movement

    The core frame of reference in these seminars is work of the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.   2020 is the centenary of Loris Malaguzzi’s birthday, the pedagogical teacher, psychologist and civic campaigner who worked closely throughout his life with Reggio Emilia’s emerging preschool services between 1945 - 95. Reggio’s preschools continue to be a tirelessly evolving example of an embodied vision for the future. 

    We are also showcasing selected innovative educational experiences from other countries. We will consider these alternatives, in order to learn and ally with their experiences as we forge a new education for our children. 

    The series culminates in a panel discussion with Peter Moss and others to consider the questions and possibilities that these generate, and the principles and directions which they imply for us. "

    women's resistance 1944
    building the preschool 1946 2

    " It is the spring of 1945.
    I hear that in a small village called Villa Cella, a few miles away from the town of Reggio Emilia, people decided to build and run a school for young children. That idea seems incredible to me! I rush there on my bike – I find women intent upon salvaging and washing pieces of brick …you have to agree that seeing an army tank, six horses and three trucks generating a school for young children is extra-ordinary. … [Reggio Emilia's] valuable (and continuing) history confirms that a new educational experience can emerge from the least expected circumstances. "
    Loris Malaguzzi

    the truck of the people LM summer fresco

    Communicate with presenters prior to the presentations: When you register you will be given a link to write about your interests, foci, wishes, questions.

    If you register before Friday 18th December these will be submitted to the various presenters. This will be helpful to them in honing their presentations and give them a sense of connection with you and your interests.

    Date Tuesday 2nd February 2021
    Price £40
    Member Discount 10%
    Presenters

    Dr. Diana Sousa, University College London

    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making recordings of the sessions available to registrants for a period of four days subsequent to the presentation.
  • Times 4 - 5.30pm

    Bicycles & Bricks, Vision & Determination ~

    Online Conference set:  narratives of the real and possible in shaping education

    Seminar Four: How Does Learning Happen? - Ontario's vision for education

    Karyn Callaghan & Kelly Massaro-Joblin, Ontario Reggio Association, Canada


    Ontario values

    How Does Learning Happen? - Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years, 2014

    This early years education policy document and professional learning resource guide is founded on clearly articulated views of the child, educator and family, and encourages critical reflection, collaborative inquiry and pedagogical documentation.  “Children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential. They grow up in families with diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. 

    Every child should feel that he or she belongs, is a valuable contributor to his or her surroundings, and  deserves the opportunity to succeed. When we recognize children as capable and curious, we are more likely to deliver programs and services that value and build on their strengths and abilities.”  The view of the educator and family are similar in spirit and content.

    “As we question, research, reflect, respond, and co-construct our understanding of the world around us with children and families, we gain new perspectives and new and more complex questions arise. This document is not so much about providing all the answers, but rather is intended to provoke questions – for it is in exploring our questions that learning happens.” 

    In this session Karyn Callaghan and Kelly Massaro-Joblin will introduce the context and background to this visionary state document and the possibilities and challenges it offers for the large Canadian province of over 14 million people.  

    Karyn CIn addition to working as an early childhood educator with children and parents for several years, Karyn Callaghan was a faculty member in the ECE program at Mohawk College and in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies program at Charles Sturt University for a total of 30 years.

    Since 1997, I have been exploring the philosophy that has guided the early education programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy. I co-founded and coordinated the Reggio-inspired Artists at the Centre – Making Thinking Visible project throughout its 15 year history. I am president of the Ontario Reggio Association, a board member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, and represent Canada on the Reggio Children International Network.

    I have authored and co-authored articles published in national and international journals, and have been a keynote speaker at conferences across Canada and in the United States, Asia and Australia. I consulted with the Ministry of Education as they developed the “Think, Feel, Act” and “How Does Learning Happen?” documents, and participated in preparing support materials for the Ministry. I have also co-authored “Documenting Children’s Meaning: Engaging in Design and Creativity with Children and Families” with Carol Anne Wien and Jason Avery, published by Davis Publications. I am grateful for opportunities to be with others who are taking up the challenge of the complex philosophy that is generated in Reggio Emilia.

    KellyMassaro JoblinKelly Massaro-Joblin is currently an Early Years Advisor for the Early Years & Child Care Division for the Ontario Ministry of Education.  For the past ten years she has supported Child Care and Early Years Program Implementation and Children’s Services planning with First Nation Communities and District Social Services Administration Boards.  Alongside Karyn Callaghan and others, she helped develop the document How Does Learning Happen?, Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years and now is  seeing the influence of the foundations in day to day practice.  She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over thirty-five years, started three Reggio-inspired childcare programmes in Thunder Bay and travelled to Reggio Emilia, Italy to participate in study tours.  


    2016 project 1These are times of possibility. Amidst calls and demands to ‘return to normal’ there are also many who have lost patience with the ‘old normal’ or have seen that other ways of living and learning are indeed preferable. Multitudes of educators, head teachers, parents and advocates are striving to protect and also develop possibilities for educational experiences with children’s rights, wellbeing and proclivities for natural enquiry at the heart.  

    This online conference set of seminars is designed to nourish all those who are actively promoting and creating these ‘visions of the possible.'

    The core frame of reference in these seminars is work of the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.   2020 is the centenary of Loris Malaguzzi’s birthday, the pedagogical teacher, psychologist and civic campaigner who worked closely throughout his life with Reggio Emilia’s emerging preschool services between 1945 - 95. Reggio’s preschools continue to be a tirelessly evolving example of an embodied vision for the future. 

    We are also showcasing selected innovative educational experiences from other countries. We will consider these alternatives, in order to learn and ally with their experiences as we forge a new education for our children. 

    The series culminates in a panel discussion with Peter Moss and others to consider the questions and possibilities that these generate, and the principles and directions which they imply for us. "

    women's resistance 1944
    building the preschool 1946 2

    " It is the spring of 1945.
    I hear that in a small village called Villa Cella, a few miles away from the town of Reggio Emilia, people decided to build and run a school for young children. That idea seems incredible to me! I rush there on my bike – I find women intent upon salvaging and washing pieces of brick …you have to agree that seeing an army tank, six horses and three trucks generating a school for young children is extra-ordinary. … [Reggio Emilia's] valuable (and continuing) history confirms that a new educational experience can emerge from the least expected circumstances. "
    Loris Malaguzzi

    the truck of the people LM summer fresco

    Communicate with presenters prior to the presentations: When you register you will be given a link to write about your interests, foci, wishes, questions.

    If you register before Friday 18th December these will be submitted to the various presenters. This will be helpful to them in honing their presentations and give them a sense of connection with you and your interests.

    Date Thursday 28th January 2021
    Price £40
    Member Discount 10%
    Presenters

    Karyn Callaghan & Kelly Massaro-Joblin, Ontario Reggio Association, Canada

    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making recordings of the sessions available to registrants for a period of four days subsequent to the presentation.
  • Times 4 - 5.30pm