Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


2019-20 Conferences & Seminars

(including Reggio Study visits)

Events Calendar

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Upcoming events


                    ... to our programme for 2020.

This year, we are focussing on professional development work including online courses and bespoke professional development for individual centres.

If you are interested in discussing bespoke professional development possibilities for your centre please get in touch: email .

During autumn 2020 we are offerring online seminars. Many of these are discursive, although some are a presentation style. If you are interested in a group participation, for example, a whole staff group, please contact to discuss a group rate, and practicalities. We want to encourage group participation, but as the seminars differ in style we need to consider each case, and can hopefully offer you a discount and coupon code. Email  to enquire. 

3 ways

In this session we will considering our ideas of play – what is it? what is it for? who determines this? – to focus on playfulness. The basis for this will be an exploration of children’s naturally playful learning and how this compares with adults’ constructs about play.

Adults who begin by closely considering children’s feelings associated with playfulness are far better placed to be insightful in their provision of dynamic learning environments.

We will

  • look at how we can foster playfulness and creativity through our relationships and ways of being with children
  • explore playful possibilities within the learning environments we create, and
  • discuss the value of developing our own playfulness to work in reciprocal, playful ways with children.

This seminar is organised in collaboration with House of Imagination, of which our guest presenter Dr. Karen McInnes is an associate.

Dr Karen McInnes has a background in working with children as a speech and language therapist, early years teacher, play therapist. Her PhD focused on play and playfulness in young children, and she continues to research, write and present on play and playfulness.

Date Tuesday 6th October 2020
Price £35
Member Discount £5
Presenters Dr. Karen McInnes
Times 4 - 5.30pm
Location/Map online

Viburnum thicker Dark Green Outline.fwThis online session is for Sightlines Initiative Network members and settings to reconnect, share journeys, and current planning in this ongoing time of global health crisis.  

What a strange time this has been and is!  

There have been so many challenges to the early years sector both financial and emotional big decisions had to be made. Was it safe to open? How could we keep safe but also still be here at the end of all this? How could we support our children at home?  How could we stay connected? 

Log in first in order to register - see 'Community Login' at the left of the webpage.

Date Wednesday 7th October 2020
Please Note: This is a free session for Sightlines Initiative Network members
Times 1.30pm - 3pm

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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 Thursday 15th October 2020
End Date Thursday 11th March 2021
Full Price £195
Discounted Price £185 (Until Friday 9th October 2020 17:00)
Member Discount £25

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

Madely LoE edit 3'Making the Parts Whole' Madeley Nursery 2019This session will explore the concept of ‘languages of evaluation’ – the idea that there are many different ways of understanding and conducting evaluation, and not just evaluation as ‘performance management’, a language that is very dominant today.
In particular, we will consider what language of evaluation can do justice to a complex and distinct pedagogical project, for example, that of the municipal schools of Reggio Emilia or many of the Children’s Centres in England, in a way that embodies the value of participatory democracy, and supports researchful education.
Peter Moss, from UCL Institute of Education, will share some of his preliminary thinking about this challenge; while Louise Lowings, from Madeley Nursery School, will share some examples from current practice that have evolved from a two year international research project in early childhood centres.
There will be time for questions and discussion about this vital subject.

Documentation as a tool for assessment/evaluation gives us an extremely strong 'antibody' to a proliferation of assessment/evaluation tools which are more and more anonymous, decontextualised and only apparently objective and democratic.

Carla Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children Foundation


Date Wednesday 21st October 2020
Price £35
Member Discount £5

Professor Peter Moss

Louise Lowings

Times 4 - 5.30pm
Location/Map online

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

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

Date Monday 26th October 2020
End Date Friday 30th October 2020
Price £150
Member Discount 10% (If you are not a member, you can go to Our Work/Network Membership for more info.)

Monday 26th October 10a.m. 'Loris Malaguzzi's pedagogical influence and contemporary importance.' Professor Peter Moss, University College London

Monday 26th October 2p.m. 'Walking on Threads of Silk.' Marina Castagnetti, Reggio Children, Italy

Wednesday 28th October 10a.m. 'The Women and the Schools of Reggio Emilia.' Professor Sabine Lingenauber & Janina L. von Niebelschütz, University of Fulda, Germany

Wednesday 28th October 2p.m. 'How Does Learning Happen? - Ontario's vision for education’ Karyn Callaghan, Ontario Reggio Association, Canada

Friday 30th October 10a.m. 'Democratic alternatives in education: Provocations from the Portuguese Modern School Movement.' Dr. Diana Sousa, University College London

Friday 30th October 2p.m. 'Truths and Transformation – where now and how?' Panel and Discussion with Peter Moss, Karyn Callaghan and others.

Please Note:

  • The cost is inclusive for all seminars.
  • Your ticket is transferable to another in the case that you can't participate in a particular session.
  • Video links will be issued on the previous working day.