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#7 'Say Cheese!'

The final day of our Canadian Study Tour has arrived and it was a great one! Today started with a wee bit of shopping at the Marketplace which was set up in the piazza right outside of the hotel. I was on a souvenir hunt for my daughters, which was much easier to do for them when they were toddlers versus teenagers!

After shopping, I headed to The Loris Malaguzzi Centre for our final day of learning. I arrived early and decided to walk around the center and walk through the ateliers one last time. I also couldn’t resist taking my last photo with the Reggio children’s drawings. I have taken one every day since we arrived.

I also was drawn back into the bookstore. I am proud to say that I walked out empty-handed… the first time. The second time, after lunch, left me with another bag that I now need to find room for in my suitcase.

As I was walking back into the auditorium, I took a moment to thank Karyn Callaghan for organizing this once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for educators. If you are not familiar with Karyn’s work, I encourage you to check out the information in Think, Feel, Act.

Before taking my seat, I noticed a new face entering the auditorium. It was Carla Rinaldi. She is actively involved in educating and coaching educators around the world about the Reggio Emilia Approach. Reading some of the material that she has written and watching a few of her videos online, really helped me to better understand documentation and the value that it provides to a community. Having her sign my copy of The Hundred Languages of Children made my week!

Today’s learning involved lectures on children with special rights and sharing evidence of the daily rights of these children in the learning moment involving piazzas. It was great to hear these educators remind the participants that teachers need to know their learners. They must recognize what the children can do, in other words, observe and document them using an asset-based lens.

Education is a right. All children have the same rights when it comes to education and we were reminded of this several times throughout the day. The biggest message that I walked away with today is that it is our job, as educators, to provide opportunities for all of our students to express themselves, and their thoughts and find their identities. They will then become more independent, especially in how they interact with their peers.

After a full day of learning and saying goodbye to the wonderful people who helped make this experience a memorable one, I headed back to the hotel. I did make a few successful stops – more souvenirs were purchased and my tummy was very happy as we had PIZZA for dinner. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly and the pizza at Sotto Broletto was well worth the wait.

I now have one thing left to do tonight – pack. My suitcase was heavy when I arrived. My struggle will be keeping my suitcase under 20 kg. Take my advice, always travel with friends who are willing to help you carry your luggage and hide some of your new treasures in their suitcase!

Ciao from Italy!



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