The team flew out from stansted to Bologna overcoming challenges created by the previous evenings lighting, so it took a bit longer than we expected, but at least we got there in the end!
We meet our colleagues form a school in Warrington, we shared our practice and spoke about our excitement for this trip.
This a view from out hotel balcony, when we finally arrived at our hotel.
In the morning we took a lovely walk through the town to La Polveriera a converted barracks now being put to better use.
We had a very interesting presentation by the director of SERN Nicola Catellani followed by an introduction to Early Childhood Education and Care from professor Elena Luciano of Parma University.
We then walk as a group over to ‘ Loris Malaguzzi International Centre’. Where we looked at the permanent exhibition.
We started the day with a visit to the pre-school ‘Allende Bibbiano’ which has children from three to six years. We saw two children create this masterpiece, which they explained was a ‘House and a city’. They created this over an extended period of time and it will stay all day and tomorrow for them and other children to extend their thinking.
We found out in this school the children sleep or rest from 12.30pm- 3pm. The staff here believe that the ‘rest’ time. Is a vital part of the learning process giving children time to evaluate their learning that has happened during the morning session.
The second school we visited in the afternoon ‘Pre-School of Barco’ Who have children from six months to three years. Here we saw the amazing ‘atelier’.
Which is a workshop space for children to investigate and explore. Children use over head projectors to cast light and experiment with rooms with children who are one years old.
Below are some pictures from our day.
Today we visited this school in the morning.We were welcomed by Christina Gilioli, pedagogical co-ordinated. She spoke in detail about the children the staff and the different spaces within the school. The square where all the children from each age class spend time together.
Every class have games and activities developed from the children’s age and interests. The spaces are bright and open they describe their resources as ‘Smart materials’ as they are often natural or recycled objects. The light laboratory includes a microscope which is linked to a projector. We observed children interacting with the screen using magnifiers and talking about what they could see.
We watched a presentation “Technology is a tool to Used to emphasise learning”. The second school we visited today gave us a presentation about documentation for older children. These children follow projects but also take part in creating these documents, for example taking and choosing the photographs they want to include. They spoke of learning being a cycle, and are very passionate in the importance of ‘safeguarding knowledge’.
Here are some photo of their wonderful creative environments within the school.This a picture of “All the teachers in my school” from a child at the nursery. She asked our teacher Eve to make sure she showed the picture to all the teachers that had come to her school today.
We ended the day with a visit to the ‘Boiardo’s Fortress’. A wonderful guide told us to the sad history of the building and even took us down to the ‘Prison’ although there is hardly any documentation about the use of this space, the grim reality is on every wall with prisoners writing about their innocence amongst other things. The last room we went to has a large celling and a pulley which was used to hold a noose and send prisoners to their deaths!
This morning we split into three groups looking at different schools in the Carpi area. Our group visited. ‘arcobaleno scuola’. ( rainbow school) The other group visited ‘Peter Pan’ school and the third group went to Coccinella ( Ladybird school).
A nature Labyrinth at Coccinella School, made by children, teachers and parents. We had a very informative and participative discussion about our schools, the identification of SEND children and their means of support.
The school explained that they are trialing a projects known as ‘Open group’ in which the ages of all children can work together. To start this the school have mixed classes of two and three year olds.
We got to look around the environment and meet some children and observe activities. A two year old showing us the class documentation! In the afternoon we went to ‘Centro Documentazione Educativa’. Where we shared practice and ideas regarding transitions and working with families. We enjoyed this concept of being a ‘Good thief’ and we feel this is what we have done in this trip!
Today started with a visit to an outdoor School in Campagna. We went for a walk with the staff and the children to a local farm. The staff push the youngest children in a cart down the road to a small farm owned by a local man who enjoys the children coming to visit the land and the animals everyday.
When we returned to their nursery the children are free to explore the outside area and say hello to the birds. We then took part in an activity designed by Tristiana a man who comes to support the children in physical activities. He passionately described the children’s ‘natural rights’.
- The right to use our hands -We think it’s very important using hands and fingers- will be able to write.
- The right to have nothing planned.
- The right to look into the eyes of the person you are talking to.
- The right to silence.
- The right to see what is in the middle.- not just black and white.
He showed us a range of photographs and we had to work together to match the photos with the ‘natural right’ we felt it best represented.Once we had completed this activity, he spoke to us about the importance of outdoor play. “ In order to do these things we need courage, with courage comes passion coming from the heart, if you do something you don’t really believe something is important you won’t have the courage to change”.
He advised us that “Nature waits for everybody”. Following this we were given a wonderful tour of the local cheese making facilities. We learnt about the process of how Parmesan cheese is made.
We then went to castle Montecchio and had a debrief discussion about our week, we spoke about the most important learning points that we had gained throughout the week.
- ‘Raising questions about our practice.’
- ‘How we should not begin with seeing Barriers’.
- How we will aim to ‘Keep all the things flourishing all the time’.
- How do you build upon the great practice by learning more about other countries their education systems and cultures.
We were then given a wonderful tour of this vast castle.This castle is now partly a library and a venue for events such as weddings. We saw skeletons and a prison and made our way to the top tower to see the wonderful view over Montecchio.
We have made some wonderful links and had a fantastic experience which we will remember for always. We learn in ‘hundred languages’ and we have seen many of them in this trip. What sticks in our mind most is the sense of community, that everyone has a responsibility to ensure the most positive experiences for the youngest children understanding that they are our future.
Ciao for now!