From Ligonchio, Italy

This week Louise is in Ligonchio, Italy attending an international conference for educators, The Hundred Languages in Dialogue with the Natural Environment.  Here is her report so far: We are high up in the Apennine Mountains, several hours south of Reggio Emilia.  The group is spread out because of the limited accommodations in this mountain area.  I am staying at 5000 feet on the border between the regions of Emilia Romagna and Tuscany in an inn called Carpe Diem.  Out of the 100 participants from 16 countries, there are ten of us at Carpe Diem from Singapore, Sydney and Perth, Australia, and the United States including Honolulu.  We have long, delicious dinners and discuss the day's work.  We are hosted by Vittorio and Serena, the nicest inn keepers any of us have ever met.  We live at the base of a gorgeous Apennine peak, Cavelbianco, which takes half an hour to climb for a spectacular 360 degree view.

This week we are focused on connections between the natural environment and what the Reggio Emilian educators call "the hundred languages," or all the ways that human beings discover, express and communicate ideas.  This is a very hands-on international experience!  It has been terrific to spend time at the Ozolo River studying flow and force and at the atelier for children called Wave to Wave at the Enel hydroelectric power plant, investigating magnets, electrical power and water power.  I was enchanted yesterday using graphic materials in the beech woods in Pradarena and in the meadows learning about sound.  Today in the meadows and woods we worked with a British choreographer in movement and dance.  Tomorrow, in another hamlet at an agriturismo center we will engage with herbs and cooking.

What a privilege to learn side by side our Italian friends who my family has known now for 20 years, Carlina Rinaldi, Vea Vecchi, Giovanni Piazza, Marina Mori and others during this brand new adventure for them and for all of the participants here.  What a marvel to share this experience with educators from all over the world.  What a hopeful way to spend a week of the summer, learning in such a stunning environment about ecoliteracy and aesthetics, renewable energy and creativity, multiple perspectives and poetics all through first hand experience.  To learn more about professional development experiences offered by Reggio Children visit their website.  To see a youtube video of the some of the week's experiences of the Reggio Children week in Ligonchio visit this site.

Best wishes to all from Ligonchio, Italy.