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Reflections of Teachers as Learners: Experiencing Reggio through Professional Development

Last weekend, three of our Richland Faculty, Mrs. Daniel, Ms. Bei, and Mrs. Brown, joined the internationally attended conference held at the Reggio Emilia Institute at Lesley University in Boston. They enjoyed collaborative workshops with world renowned educators, including Lella Gandini, Carol Anne Wien, Karyn Callaghan, Jason Avery, and Kristina Lamour Sansone. At this conference, the teachers were given the unique opportunity to walk in the shoes of the children, by being closely observed and documented as they symbolically represented, and made visible to others, their authentic self. Much like our Richland students, the teachers were engaged through the use of materials, to explore complex ideas, and reach new understandings. Working in a group, listening to multiple perspectives, negotiating, debating, compromising, thinking critically, and finally coming to a consensus, was both a challenging and exhilarating experience. When addressing the group, one of the speakers referenced Isabella’s observation, “Children are not always in their comfort zone when we ask them to do something (unfamiliar).”  Many of the educators there felt very much the same!

“Documentation, by making visible the voices and work of children, the engagement of teachers and the commitment of a community can have the essential role of advocacy for a democratic education.” (Karyn Callaghan)

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