The day here was perfectly spring, with birds singing in the morning, the day bright and clear, and the promise of good things to come. The Loris Malagucci Center is an easy walk so within 10 minutes I was there, signing in and getting my bearings. Being a kindergarten teacher, sitting for long periods is not my bailiwick, but we got lots of information in a short period of time. Much of the conference is in Italian, but with an excellent translator. In the afternoon, we got down to the nitty gritty, and they let us loose to explore the exhibits in the Center. I wish that Jen Rankey and Mary Ann O’Sullivan were here, for this would make them swoon. Much of the work is done with natural materials (of which I’ll send pictures along each day), and they explore the qualities of light extensively and the scientific properties of light as well. I thought of second grade and their coral reef exhibit, for one of their ideas is to use digital images that are mixed with creations of the children. The images (of the sea, or of fish swimming) would be projected, and then the children would interact with those projected pictures.
Made by 5 and 6 year olds!
One of my big take-aways from today is how well organized everything is—-it may be junk materials, but they are neatly sorted and ordered so that they are accessible to the children. It will be interesting to see how it plays out when the children are in the spaces, and to see how they are able to maintain this lovely order. They have access to an inordinate amount of “stuff”. They have organized a recycling center in the town that has linked with 200 businesses to collect their cast-offs which are then located in a closed chemical plant. Anyone can come to get things they would like to use, but it serves as an excellent source of materials for the schools.
I’m off to dinner with folks from Finland, Greece, and Germany, and it will be interesting to hear their take-aways.
Caio, my friends!