Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


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Background and History

Sightlines Initiative was established in 1995 by Robin Duckett, a Newcastle-based Nursery School teacher, with funding from the John Allbar Trust, to research the potential for a creative early childhood centre in a North East public park. This proposal sought to demonstrate a creative and reflective approach in early childhood education,  reflecting on the many years of experience of the steering group of early childhood educators, and was additionally inspired by the pedagogy of the preschools of Reggio Emilia. The idea attracted much interest from prominent individuals in the world of early education. The project demonstrated the need to revisit and explore values and practice in UK early childhood services. Although this project was not realised, we were able to build on the interest generated and begin to offer services and opportunities to explore values and approaches in education, particularly in reference to the pedagogy of the pre schools of Reggio Emilia. 

Sightlines Initiative began to organise study visits to Reggio, major exhibition tours, conferences, seminars and action-research projects. We became a charitable trust in June 2001, at the time of becoming the official UK reference agency for Reggio Children Srl. Since its inception Sightlines Initiative has developed an international reputation as a quality provider of advice, support, high quality continuous professional development and demonstrable action research projects in early childhood education.

In 2013 Sightlines Initiative Ltd, a non-profit company, was formed by long-standing Advisory  members, in order to sustain and develop pedagogical consultancy, and enable the charity better to focus on general advocacy and fundraising.

The Sightlines Network has been a project-in-development since Sightlines Initiative was founded in 1999. Since then Sightlines Initiative has organised UK tours of ‘The Hundred Languages of Children’ exhibition, study trips to Reggio Emilia, Denmark and Sweden , as well as UK conferences, action research projects and initiatives. The network was formed in response to the desire from people engaged in these activities to be in connection and communication with each other.

Network aims 

  • To enable connections between early years professionals and projects
  • To research comparative work nationally and internationally
  • To organise professional development opportunities
  • To offer advice and support for UK early years professionals
  • To disseminate material generated by the network
  • To influence national policy and decision makers
  • To promote creative and reflective approaches to early years education
  • To develop a creative learning community which maintains a continuous supportive dialogue


Network characteristics

  • A learning community
  • A national forum for exchange and dialogue
  • A conduit for involvement in activities and learning opportunities within the international early years community
  • An independent and inclusive organisation engaging with professionals from a range of fields.
  • A spirit of collegiality


Our Values

  • The image of the child as an innate and creative knowledge builder, explorer & co-constructor
  • The power of the ‘Hundred Languages’ in forming learning environments
  • A flexible and creative cycle underpinning the work
  • Educators and artists as enablers within a pedagogy of listening
  • The process of children’s exploration is the focus, not the end product
  • Documentation as an important tool in aiding reflection and analysis
  • Professional development is an important part of the whole process
  • Development of a creative learning community to maintain a continuous supportive dialogue
  • Family and community involvement, not only in the education of the children but also for themselves as lifelong learners.
For more information about our values click here Compasses and tools

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