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Italian Educator addresses early years conference

Renowned Italian Educator addresses early years conference

Early years teachers will be excited to learn that Carla Rinaldi, from the world renowned Municiple Infant Toddler Centres and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, will be in Auckland for the Provoking Encounters: Transforming Thought, Kei te Whakapirirpiri ki te Wero: Hiringa i te Mahara conference on 12-15 July. Here she will be involved in a powhiri at Orakei marae where Maori Party co-leader and passionate educator Dr Pita Sharples will join her and over two hundred others to begin three days of dialogue and debate, story telling and meaningful encounters with significant early years education philosophy.

Carla Rinaldi is a Professor at the University of Modena and Reggio at the Faculty of Science in Early Education, she has had a long and innovative involvement with the Reggio Emilia preschools and infant and toddler centres. She also looked after the publication, in 2001, of the book “Making learning visible: children as individual and group learners” born from joint research with Harvard University.

She worked closely with Loris Malaguzzi , a key figure in the development of the approach, and is currently Pedagogical Consultant for Reggio Children. Carlina has gained international recognition as a pedagogista, author and lecturer and brings alive the essence of the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia in her work.

At the heart of the Reggio Emilia approach is the concept of the image of the child as a powerful and competent learner – versus needy and passive – and an engaged and respected citizen of the world. This view of children is promoted by the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whaariki, yet not upheld in legislation.

Issues such as the debate into Section 59 of the Crimes Act, where “reasonable force” against children is legally condoned, demonstrate that it is timely to consider how the rights of very young children are addressed in this country.

The international interest in this educational philosophy was stimulated by the Diana infant toddler centre and preschool in Reggio Emilia being named as the most avant-garde early childhood institution in the world by Newsweek magazine in 1991.

Facts on the Reggio Emilia Approach:

The Reggio Emilia infant and toddler centres and pre-schools have had a huge impact on early childhood education in New Zealand over the last ten years

Groups of New Zealand early childhood teachers travel to Italy each year to participate in Reggio Emilia study tours

In Germany, and other parts of Europe, waiting lists for these tours mean people are waiting for over 18 months to be able to take part

Dr Margaret Carr, Professor of Education at University of Waikato and a leading early childhood researcher, will also be a keynote speaker at the Reggio Emilia Provocations conference

The Ministry of Education’s 10 year strategic plan for early childhood education, Pathways to the Future: Nga Huarahi Arataki, includes a commitment to the empowerment of parents and whanau to be involved in their children’s early learning. This is a strong feature of the Reggio Emilia infant and toddler centres and preschools

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