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Reggio Emilia's exhibition: The wonder of learning

The Wonder of Learning is an exhibition which began in 2008 (before was The Hundred Languages of Children exhibition), which travels around the world recounting the research and experiences of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education and promoting a discussion and mutual exchange on the importance of quality early learning.

Sections of the exhibition:

Dialogues with places 

Here, children explored the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre whilst construction was still underway choosing spaces that were interesting to them. They then designed a work of art that represented a dialogue with that particular space - respecting its identity whilst also modifying it.

Thus, the process initiated empathy with place and giving way to a personal interpretation of a space and creating new understandings of children's perceptions of their spatial environments.

Notes for a choreography - Among the many movements children use to explore space, running is the one they use most. It is through running where they perceptions are tuned strongly to the space, and giving them a sense of freedom and power. The space provides a sequence of forms and movements - a choreographical composition.

If columns were... - here two groups of children aged 4-6 recognised the opportunity for a number of a columns in a space to have their own unique identities and appearances, using different forms and materials to give each column its own specific nature.

The stairway's voice - One groups most vivid experience of a space was the sounds produced on a stairway by rhythmical steps, repeated jumps, running and voices. Here they used sound narratives, discussion and drawn interpretations, learning to distinguish between different sounds, and creating new variations, new compositions...

Shadow stories - In this project the children pick out the shadow of a window and investigate the movement of the shadow where it is reworked into the story of a life - expectancy, birth, growth, decline and passing away - of day.

Dialogues with material 

This exhibition takes aspects of a project that explored the relationship between the "languages" of children's creative expression and the language of the renowned 19th century artist Alberto Burri. Features of Burri's work including the chromatic quality of this materials, ideas of variation and alteration, the compositional rigour were explored with the children, with particular attention given to the creative process.

Black is made of all colours - Here children are encouraged to see the world in way that has not yet been locked into rigid categories of thinking. Crumpling, folding, rolling, tearing and transforming, they test the reversible and conservable qualities of their materials.

White, white and white - Here each child manipulates a white paper napkin which reveal a myriad of properties when explored - white, lightweight, airy and delicate, slightly textured, opaque when place in layers, but almost transparent when opened out. Each are then placed close together, revealing one large final composition, which carries the traces and identities of each and every 'author'.

Painting, between material and nature - Here natural materials reveal quantity, qualities, density and variations in colour and hue. The materials are then transformed using hands, sieves and rocks to crumble, crush, sift and powder - capturing the material's essence, colour and perfume. These natural 'paints' are then used by the children to create compositions.

Sound systems - Here 4 year old children, teachers and a music teacher build a sound sculpture using natural materials.

The enchantment of writing 

Here the children carry out research on the alphabetical code.

Between signs and writing - Varying contexts and strategies were investigated in relation to communicative symbol systems.

Figurative writing - Here children elaborate their written communication - reflecting on the graphic nature of the symbols, the size of the letters and words, the chromatic and tactile choice of the paper on which to write the words and the accompanying graphics and decorations.

Ray of light 

The children encounter light - Using the initial springboards of learning - wonder and curiosity. The environments can enhance this wonder making 'spectacular' and engaging experiences.

Meetings between parallel worlds - Playing with shapes and shadows with overhead projectors.

Path of light - Five-year old children make a light-catching machine. They have to confront a number of problems such as how to orient the reflected ray of light. The children build a road of light to illuminate some of the indoor and outdoor spaces of the school.

From enchanted garden of reflections to tower of light - Exploring materials that create colourful reflections, transparencies, luminous rebounds and ever-changing reverberations - the group of children construct a 'tower of light' - a sculpture on wheels that can be moved to seek out the light and built in three parts to be stacked and interchanged to create different reflections.

Tournesol, the turning sun - The architecture is designed to enable significant dialogues between inside and outside, creating dynamic contexts where light becomes the protagonist - giving new life to the spaces so that they are constantly changing in relation to the intensity of the light, the time of day, and the season. Thus the 'places' create narratives to interpreted freely.

Echoes of light - A curtain of mirrors at the window of the classroom creates changeable everyday reverberations, they bounce around, animating the pleasure of discovery.

Light is "weightless matter", almost liquid, capable of expanding and retracting, of being captured and studied and, just for a moment, illusively, stopped.

The pulsating life

A research project on the themes and languages of the natural sciences, based on a collaboration between Reggio Children, the Lemshaga Akademi, the University of Stockholm and the Reggio Emilia Institutet in Sweden, which followed a group of children from the last year of preschool through the first year of primary school (from 5 to 7 years old).

Concepts of transformation, transversality, and the possible connections in the contexts of life guide this project, developing children’s empathy with nature.

Via The Wonder of Learning.


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