NAREA Summer Conference 2008

The Fourth NAREA Summer Conference

in collaboration with Reggio Children and Boulder Journey School

“Dialogues for Quality in Education: The School as a Place of Research”

in connection with “The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children” A New Exhibit from Reggio Emilia, Italy – North American Version

June 28-30: The Values of the Reggio Approach June 30-July 2: Advanced Study June 28-July 2: Comprehensive Experience

Boulder, Colorado


Presentations by Reggio Educators

  • “The Competent Child” and “The Values of the Reggio Philosophy and the Pedagogy of Listening” – Carla Rinaldi
  • “Values of the Philosophy of the Reggio Approach” and “Observation, Interpretation, Documentation: Presentation of a Project of the Exhibit” – Daniela Lanzi
  • “The Hundred Languages of Children Exhibit and Its History in North America” –Amelia Gambetti & Lella Gandini
  • “The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children Exhibit” –Vea Vecchi
  • “Pedagogy and Architecture in Dialogue” –Tullio Zini & Carla Rinaldi
  • “School as a Place of Research: How Research is Supported Inside the Schools by Children, Educators and Families” – Carla Rinaldi, Amelia Gambetti & Vea Vecchi

Presentations by North American Educators

  • “A Glimpse of the Possible: Our Ongoing Research Around Materials” – Jennifer Kesselring & Kacey Davenport, Riverfield Country Day School, Tulsa OK
  • “From Sand to Smoke: Our Investigation of Andy Goldsworthy” – Kari Ryg & Liz Watzl, MacDonald Montessori School, St. Paul MN
  • “An Introduction to the City and the School as a Place of Research” – Ellen Hall, Alison Maher & Andrea Sisbarro, Boulder Journey School, Boulder CO
  • “Learning to See and See Again: Focusing Our Analytical Lenses” – Mary Jane Moran, University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN
  • “Wondering Together: Sharing Perspectives Through Dialogue – Andrew Stremmel, South Dakota State University, Brookings SD
  • “The Joys and Struggles of Inquiry” – Judy Graves & Susan MacKay, Opal Charter School, Portland Children’s Museum, Portland OR
  • “Identity Realized Through the Process of Inquiry, Research and Negotiation” – David Kelly, Aquinas College & Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, Grand Rapids MI

Poster Session Presentations

  • “Outdoor Spaces That Hold Meaning To Our Children” – Ashley Crowley & Nicole Schneeberger, Burlington Children’s Space, Burlington VT
  • “An Environment That Fosters Inclusion and Builds Relationships” – Kristen Common, Beaufort Elementary School, Beaufort SC
  • “I Think the Birds Might Just Come – Highlights From a Bird Investigation” – Angelia Jenkins & Tonya Cole, St. Anne’s Day School, Atlanta GA
  • “Bringing Reggio to Your Home” – Trish Parenti & Meredith Dodd, Winnetka Public School Nursery, Winnetka IL
  • “Expressivity in Clay: A Teachers’ and Preschoolers’ Journey Into Exploring the Language of Clay” – Jean Moranda-Torres & Emily Tahamont, Google Children’s Center at “The Woods,” Mountain View CA
  • “A Mosaic Project: A Metaphor for a Learning Community” – Karen First, The Children’s Garden, The Cambridge School of Weston, Weston MA
  • “What Do You Want to Know? Parents and Teachers Research Best Practices in Communication” – Nora Thompson, Galileo Early Childhood Center, Mason MI
  • “Project Work and Children with Special Rights: The Zoo Project” – Ron Smith, Warren Early Childhood Center, Indianapolis IN
  • “The Influence of Materials on Inquiry Learning” – Rachel Schumacher, Kay Cutler & De Gilkerson, South Dakota State University, Brookings SD
  • “Realizing the Potential: Developing Research Questions with Infant Through Toddler-Aged Children” – Heida Sigurdardottir & Rachel Jefferson, The Co-op Family Center, Eugene OR
  • “What Happens When We Make Young Children’s Learning Visible?” – Will Parnell, Frank Mahler, Liz Dickey & Rachel Mueller, Helen Gordon Child Development Center, Portland State University, Portland OR
  • “Through the Lens of a Child” – Elan LaMontagne, Science Alternative Program, Langevin School, Calgary AB Canada

Opening of “The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children” Exhibit Speakers

  • Barbara O’Brien, Lt. Governor of Colorado
  • Ken Seeley, President of Colorado Foundation for Children and Families
  • Susan Foster, Deputy Director of Education and Outreach for the National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Carlina Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children
  • Amelia Gambetti, International Network Coordinator for Reggio Children
  • Ellen Hall, Executive Director of Boulder Journey School
  • Beth MacDonald and Jennifer Strange, Co-Chairs of NAREA

2008 NAREA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: The Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Italy


Additional NAREA Summer Conference Experiences

  • Tours of “The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children” Exhibit
  • Tour of Boulder Journey School & Small Group Presentations by Boulder Journey School Faculty (see BJS website for reflections from workshop participants)
  • Discussion groups facilitated by NAREA Board Members and Membership Coordinators

Summary of Evaluations of NAREA Summer Conference Participants

Insights, Reflections, Provocations, Curiosities… From “The Values of the Reggio Approach” Session Participants:

  • Carla Rinaldi is such an amazing, inspirational speaker. I wish we could have heard more from her. (Amelia also).
  • The information presented at the conference was excellent and very inspiring!
  • I have been inspired to go deeper into my conversations of reflections with the children and myself as a teacher! Thank you so much. I have many ideas and challenges ahead.
  • I did gain much new or “refreshed” knowledge to begin the new school year. The BJS is beautiful and I always enjoy visiting their school.
  • Amelia talked about the “right to time.” I love this concept but I feel in our culture time is a privilege rather than a right. I wonder how to fight this oppression. Secondly…the concept of observation and documentation as an “act of love.” I’m very curious about the shift in objectivity to subjectivity. This provides me with much to think about. The students I teach at a community college often have many challenges they are trying to understand and overcome. An example would be poverty, domestic abuse, etc. I find that my students have a strong need to “rescue” children and to reflect their own “stuff” into and onto children. A strategy to help them overcome this is to look objectively. I want to think about a process to deepen the observation of the population I work with and the context of our place.
  • I would have liked a discussion group on more than one day. It could have been an alternative choice to viewing the exhibit again.
  • I loved the visit to Boulder Journey School. The teachers there were so helpful and willing to answer questions of all kinds. I only wished I could observe the school in action with the children present! Maybe some videos of the children in action would have been helpful. The Journey Books for individual students and the documentation of the walls did help though.
  • I got insight into the philosophy at a deeper level. The exhibit challenged my ideas about letting go of control and allowing myself to observe the children rather than interfere with the process of discovery. I felt better prepared to open a preschool using this philosophy. I was curious about the teaching of reading, writing, and math skills in terms of having to be more direct with children who may not be engaging in opportunities themselves.
  • Wonderful presentations—Daniela, Carla, and also two schools. How can the work of teachers together be made visible? How can we share reflections in small groups at large conferences like this?
  • I wasn’t sure where the exhibition began and continued to in the UCAR space. I figured it out, but maybe an intro would have helped. Perhaps a little brochure to go with the exhibit would be helpful for enabling us to share with others unable to come.
  • The 100 Languages made me think of how close our world is through play, curiosity, and knowledge.

From “Advanced Study” Session Participants:

  • I wonder how more hands-on exploratory opportunities could be imbedded into the day. It was a lovely celebration the first day.
  • I saw an increase in computers and technology in the 5-year and under classrooms. I am not sure that is a good thing.
  • A golden nugget regarding “World Café” sharing” & documentation. Wonderful ending videos; I loved seeing the children using their space and their interactions. Very meaningful to see this tangible happening.
  • Gained tremendous amount! Inspired to read more, reflect more in my own practice. Inspired to make huge environmental changes in my room to create more inviting spaces. Eager to work with light more. New ways & insights of ways to work with mentoring students.
  • Videos at end of conference acted as a provocation that was very valuable. I wish that the exhibit was not fragmented between two sites and that there was more room for them. The space felt cramped.
  • Certain phrases will remain with me and continue to inspire me; e.g. “democratic piazza,” “cultural excitement,” maintaining that complexity that is so necessary. Regarding the exhibit—there was so much wonderful information and experiences being shared; however, with the exhibit being in two places, it felt disjointed & I was distracted by all of the other exhibits at NCAR. It felt very crowded—and not just because of the amount of people—it seemed too big for the space. Also, I felt if there were more headphones available at each video display, more than one person at a time could enjoy them and take in more at the exhibit—rather than waiting in line. But on a positive note, there were so many wonderful provocations to learn from & be stimulated by! The work that went into the entire exhibit is mind-boggling & I’m so happy that I was able to attend this grand opening!
  • A wonderful and dynamic experience! Thank you NAREA and Boulder Journey School.
  • A deeper look at what it means to “listen” or “see.” Finding the image of the teacher (myself).
  • A wonderful, rich gathering—well thought-out, programmed, inspiring. I have been to three NAREA conferences and I think the planners do a wonderful job. I sometimes feel though that we are speaking “cult-like” language and I hear the same terms over and over—wonderings, transparency, negotiation, collaboration, journey, revisit, etc. Are they becoming “buzz words” that help us feel connected or that help us feel connected to the ideas in Reggio? I don’t know… I have just begun to feel discomfort around this “Reggio-inspired speak” and for myself, maybe need to seek or make sure the terms I use really communicate my intent.
  • A running theme was that of making teachers processes, choices, doubts, questions just as visible as the children’s work—this has been an important focus for me!
  • Teacher as researcher is a major provocation as I return to my school. To listen better and think more deeply about change, about being open, will require much thought and action. The visit/observations at Boulder Journey School were provocative, exciting, and overwhelming in its possibilities. I would have liked to have additional time to return after reflecting about what else I wanted to focus on. The first study group mentioned that they visited the school twice, once as an observer, and then for workshops—I think this would be helpful. It’s so difficult to absorb (for me) everything I would like to focus on in one visit.
  • Exhibit—I felt the lack of size/space did not allow the proper viewing of the exhibit. It would have been nice to have more tables/chairs to reflect/write observations. I felt that it was very crowded and difficult to read. Many people held conversations in front of the panels, and it made it very challenging to give the exhibit the respect it deserved. I did enjoy the multi-media aspect of the exhibit. It was wonderful to read teachers’ journals—see children in action—real artifacts of the children’s work.
  • Although the exhibit was fascinating, the juxtaposition of the exhibit with the NCAR permanent exhibit was distracting. After the presentations, more focused discussions would be beneficial. OPAL WAS AMAZING!
  • This conference has been so inspiring and no doubt will change the way I approach teaching from now on. I see myself as a researcher now more than ever. The videos were so valuable. Thank you.
  • I thought this was very insightful & inspiring—the conference, discussions, presentations, and atmosphere being in Boulder.
  • If we see the child as competent, intelligent, full of curiosity and able to make hypotheses, do we also see teachers as competent, intelligent, full of curiosity and able to generate and test hypotheses? If we do see teachers this way, why then can we not empower all teachers and not discard those judged not in accord with our beliefs? Can we challenge these teachers to reflect, question, and become life-long teachers and come to hold a competent image of children and themselves?
  • The stairs as a learning environment—the music—the computer—this is what puts you all as a beacon of light and hope for us.
  • “Grand Canyon” experience—this is one of the best conferences I have attended! I’m anxious to share and “provoke” my students this fall.
  • Amazing, empowering—a call for us as educators to not be afraid to challenge/question state standards. Would have enjoyed the exhibit more if there was more space within it for small group dialogue. The setting of NCAR was amazing, inspiring, outside…. Inside, although I am interested in weather, climate change, I found myself bumping into people who came for the NCAR exhibits.
  • I’m learning to be a better listener and am inspired to be open to the differences and change that deep listening can bring. I’m excited about movement experiences with my students based on some inspirations from the exhibit—can’t wait to see what the children do, think of, ask, etc. Exhibit—it needs more space for viewing, especially with large groups such as ours. It takes a long time to read, think about, and study the many sections—not enough space for many people to read. More seating would be helpful to write, reflect, and/or talk with colleagues. Liked the videos and artifacts. Technology glitches were frequent and will need fine tuning.
  • The lunchtime presentations and small group format led to a lot of discussion—would have loved more of those—more time dedicated to those.
  • Thank you for getting me so excited to get back to my classroom! This conference has made a HUGE impact on me as an educator, learner, & researcher. I look forward to sharing all that I have observed, discussed, and absorbed with my colleagues in my school context. Thank you.
  • The Italians always leave me awestruck. Their passion, deep powerful thoughts and experiences are inspiring. Always leave me wanting more, asking myself questions. Their work inspires mine incredibly. Refreshing—makes me excited to observe, create provocations, and reflect upon children’s work/theories. Thank you.
  • Boulder Journey is a lovely school—amount of writing on the wall seemed excessive and drew me away from home-like, relaxed setting—wonderful research questions and visible work, but just a little too much—heard others mention this as well.
  • The Reggio approach as a philosophy a way of life—the importance/willingness to change—growing together, relationships, communication—baby steps—slowing down
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this conference! Thank you so much! More time needed to tour exhibit—perhaps open in the evening? It took a great deal of time to read and absorb.
  • All great. Thank you for all your time, hard work, and commitment. NCAR location was stunning. I appreciated the opportunity to visit such a high-quality aesthetic and technical space. I appreciated the multi-tiered learning that was available there, particularly in light of my need to understand more fully the health of our environment. I appreciated the depth of the exhibit documentation. It was particularly useful to revisit the “columns” documentation after hearing Vea share the story. I tremendously appreciated the decision to move this exhibit around the United States to various locations over the next year. Thank you.
  • I appreciated the acknowledgement of “error”—which is an intrinsic cog in the learning/understanding/meaning making process. Logistically, I struggled a bit with the interpretation process—my only other experience with translated presentations was in Reggio Emilia. In Reggio, it was very helpful for me to have the translator stand with the speaker. It was also helpful for me to be able to see the translator speak and gesture. Thank you.

From “Comprehensive Experience” Participants:

  • I feel immense gratitude to the Italian pedagogistas for their beautiful example of continued reflection and self-inquiry into their own teaching practices. The depth of humility is refreshing and absence of arrogance evokes incredible freedom regarding education.
  • I love to witness the collaboration of presenters and reflections from the audience and especially thought/provocations from the Italians. So often presentations in professional settings are a sharing of knowledge and a “finished product” of what has been learned. Reflecting/provoking immediately after sets the tone of continual learning.
  • As a first-time attendee with cursory knowledge regarding the Reggio philosophy, I felt the comprehensive experience helped me develop a well-rounded understanding of the philosophy, the historical perspective, and the collaborative nature of the philosophy.
  • How in my working with teachers can I find ways to approach the subject of finding meaning through inquiry & questioning in a context that is in its infancy?
  • I am hoping for more opportunities in my work to collaborate with others, to question & reflect. Five of us attended, and the thought-provoking questions have begun already.
  • 10 out of 10! Overall very good. How challenging are the regulatory licensing officials? Is there a greater need for full daycare? Boulder—use closed schools to facilitate new childcare spaces. Boulder Journey School—re: small group projects & presentations—this was the BEST part of the first three days—in my opinion (other than the exhibit….which is SPECTACULAR!) I had such an amazing time collaborating & re-discovering PLAY during our “East-Meets-West” chain reaction. It took us (although we completely lost all track of time!) two hours to complete, then Diane took a video and photos to document our process & we all had such a BLAST! Such an awesome place & people!
  • This was my first NAREA conference. Thank you for such respectful content & contextual pieces.
  • Give time to time; the words we use matter and we need to be very intentional about choosing the words we do; listening with all our senses; communicative structure; making thinking visible and realizing the need at times for something to be understood by other; requiring the effort of de-centering personal points of view.
  • So many engaging children, teachers, dialogue & research, returning home to engage our staff reflectively, knowing they are capable, my mind is racing with insights & ideas that need some time to percolate.
  • As a first time investigator, I felt many, many emotions during the study. My emotions went from wonderment to excitement to failure/disappointment to okay, I can begin this process in baby steps. I continually return to the first day—image of the child—how do schools/educators support this image? I would love to research how schools/centers begin this process. What I need to begin this process in my schools. I would love to know what others’ schools are going to do with the information that they gather at this conference. A sharing time at the conference next year—what did you learn this year?
  • I enjoyed the presentations, community feel, and quality of lectures.
  • “Give time to time” “Giving answers closes the door to learning” “Exchange knowledge”
  • It refreshed my mind and gave me new ideas.
  • The Values, Advanced, & Comprehensive packages were a great idea! Often feel those of us who have been on journey for 5-10 years get lost with newer participants! The provocations at Journey School were fantastic—thank you for all their hard work.
  • Thank you all so very much for such a wonderful conference! Fascinating, I have learned so much. I really enjoyed the relaxed & respectful environment set up by NAREA and the Reggio representatives; it allowed for some great interactions and collaboration of ideas.
  • The overall workshop/conference has been a great experience for me–to actually see how it all comes together. I have a better view of the process and will research on how to best implement the program at my school. What I love best is the freedom of expressions, and from that expression, observation & research on how learning is taking place. I am very excited about what I’ve learned and also look forward to the continued professional development.
  • The best conference I’ve attended with a beautiful spirit. Boulder Journey School experience—crucial!
  • Wow! So much to think about—as a public educator, I will certainly reframe my thinking around standards—thanks, Judy!
  • Throughout the conference, I—along with my colleagues—have been reflecting how we can bring this research and experience into our everyday life.
  • This is the first NAREA conference I’ve attended, and I am so glad I came! I wonder how the dialogue begun here can be provoked to continue among all the participants and presenters….
  • I struggle with documentation, and I have gained such a better understanding of collaborating, reflecting, sharing, to continue the process.
  • I loved the many types/styles of documentation used in the new exhibit and the research it made visible. It is always wonderful to meet others that share your vision and encourage you on your journey.
  • The conference was wonderful & fantastic. The school is beautiful & the teachers were very open & informative & collaborative. More small group work. More presentations with more choice to attend some but not others.
  • I feel like I could really use a mentor to help me with an outside perspective of my work. Is there a network of NAREA members who would be willing to serve in this capacity? I would even be interested to serve if the person I was mentoring needed help in areas I feel I have something to share in. There are perhaps two ways to look at this—one as a reciprocal relationship between peers who can share struggles—the other as more of a mentor/mentee relationship where a more experience person is advising but also learning from a less experienced person.
  • The exhibit was inspiring (The 100 Languages of Children). I wonder who is the audience for the documentation at the Boulder Journey School– kids, families, or visitors.
  • So much information to reflect upon. Journey School was amazing. Listening to everyone was so inspiring. The dinner rocked! I am so proud to have been part of this conference.
  • I got a lot out of this conference and am happy that I was able to attend the entire time. This gave me plenty of time to view the exhibit and the Boulder Journey School. It was wonderful to have so many representatives from Italy. I love listening to them talk and their insights and observations continue to give me lots to think about. I really enjoyed the Boulder Journey School and found it inspirational (especially liked their outdoor space). I’m also glad you provided an opportunity to let teachers “play” with materials. You might want to include more common materials such as paint and clay since I have found many teachers who are uncomfortable with even the most common art materials.
  • The key word I have come away with is “trust”—trust in children, trust in our families, trust in our communities. I came with a large group of colleagues and there is no question that all felt the conference was inspirational. We could barely wait to get together to reflect and discuss every evening what we had seen & learned during the day. I think it would be important for NAREA to recommend that schools send at least three people. We have so much to take home and use.

Comments about Presenters From “The Values of the Reggio Approach” Participants:

  • Wonderful—thank you & loved the different teacher’s contributions—very valuable for making it all seem accessible.
  • The presenters were very good! It is also interesting to hear the Italians. I loved the 2 girls from the Montessori School and really enjoyed their presentations.
  • It was exciting and inspiring to hear the people speak as I have been reading their work for years. The poster groups I attended seemed prepared and presented well.
  • I absolutely loved hearing Amelia and Carlina speak. They are both so inspirational and have a way of using language to really express, in the simplest way, what they are trying to convey.
  • I enjoyed the conference very much and found it inspiring! The presenters were wonderful. My favorite presentations were “Values of the Philosophy of the Reggio Approach” and “Observation, Documentation, and Interpretation” both by Daniela Lanzi.
  • Excellent! I’ve been to many workshops and conferences and I learned a great deal from all the presenters.

From “Advanced Study” Session Participants:

  • Loved listening to the Italians—very inspirational. Not sure about where Mr. Zini was going at first, but finished with much relevance. Loved Opal School presentation and poster break outs.
  • I enjoyed Tullio and Vea’s presentations on the second day. The poster sessions were too crowded to be effective. I also wonder how they could reflect advanced working happening in the schools. Opal School was fantastic!!
  • A great variety of presentations with much food for thought that I know will provoke stimulating conversations among colleagues on the flight home and after. The Italians—Carla, amazing; Tullio, bravismo; Vea, as always passionate! Loved Amelia’s provocations and never tired of Lella’s insight.
  • Excellent presentations—very “a-propos”/diverse/thought-provoking
  • Especially enjoyed the presentation by Susan and Judy from The Opal School in Portland.
  • Excellent! More Vea—always! I was also very impressed with the N. American presenters and was so encouraged by their provocative and validating presentations. Their wonderful & solid presentations were important aspects of illustrating possibilities, questions.
  • Vea Vecchi’s and Tullio’s presentations were among the most powerful—due to clarity and context and processes of meaning-making.
  • Appreciated the range of presenters and presentations. Appreciated the time given for dialogue between audience & presenters. Wonderful, inspiring visit to Boulder Journey School.
  • Great! The Italians were thought provoking as always, but I particularly enjoyed hearing the American perspective—esp. Susan MacKay & Judy Graves and David Kelly & Andrew Stremmell.
  • As always, provocative & stimulating…. I especially enjoyed the presenters from The Opal School and how they not only shared their experiences but adapted it to our particular group’s questions.
  • Excellent! Such a richness when we include the Italian educators. You provided a great cross section of presenters and topics.
  • Great! Very diverse group and topics. Thought provoking—many connections between all presenters’ discussions. Great variety—older children, teaching teachers.
  • From diverse settings—really enjoyed listening to folks that work with older children. Hearing from an entire group from Italy with different perspectives was a special treat. The Italians are so humble and profound—true role models.
  • Loved having a “full complement” of the Italians for presentation and reflection. Would have liked to have had more choices of poster sessions. Wednesday speakers were quite good—great to have some elementary perspectives.
  • The”practitioners” were, to me, very valuable—more so than those distanced from education in a college without the connection with children.
  • Wonderful! I gained insight from all especially Amelia Gambetti, Carla Rinaldi, Opal School, and David Kelly.
  • Well prepared with materials & information that allowed me to think about the school I teach in & how I can implement theories & practices.
  • Wednesday’s presenters gave me valuable information about different contexts, which enriches my professional knowledge. The Italians were wonderful!!!
  • Willing to share, excellent—clarity of presentation, excellent—interest level, very good.
  • The Italian perspective was both insightful, provocative, and left me eager to learn more. I had stimulating conversations/dialogue with many other conference participants (all of which were initiated based on the provocations shared by our Italian colleagues). Mary Jane Moran also was riveting. I became an active listener/learner rather than a passive listener/learner. Judy Graves was incredibly insightful. I have always grappled with this notion of “state standards” and how EC educators manage this as we get pressure from our public and private over parochial elementary schools. Susan MacKay was one of my favorite presenters. Her ideas, strategies, and demonstrations of her work with her students at Opal School gave me hope for elementary education. I am eager to contact her to plan a visit to Opal School in Oregon.
  • All of the Italians were fabulous—really enjoyed Vea & Tullio. Andy gave excellent practical strategies as a jumping off place for next steps. Lella’s provocative reflections during presentations were excellent.
  • More time for questions/discussions at end of each presentation. More presentations by NA educators—including more opportunities for sharing & time for poster presentations—more of them.
  • Genuine, knowledgeable, funny, open, sharing—fabulous!
  • I appreciate the example shown by the presenters Wednesday morning—of declaration of observation and perspective/interpretation (the presentation) followed by reaction/reflection of others (new perspective/interpretation) in moving toward “social” understanding/perception…. In Reggio, it was very helpful for me to have the translator stand with the speaker. It was also helpful for me to be able to see the translator speak and gesture.
  • Thoughtful, articulate, interesting, inspiring—varied motivations.

From “Comprehensive Experience” Participants:

  • Dr. Andrew Stremmel also spoke to me with his open-hearted inquiry. You give me a great hope for our American education system. I love the emphasis on “collaboration” with colleagues and children and the unraveling and opening of minds that feel truth is not absolute.
  • How amazing to bring in young classroom teachers to share their work and inspire us as learners. I very much enjoyed all of these presenters—Jennifer Kesselring, Kacey Davenport, Kari Ryg, Liz Watzl, Ellen Hall, Alison Maher, and Andrea Sisbarro.
  • Wonderful presentations—Vea, Lella, Daniela, Carla, Amelia, & Tullio were so inspiring.
  • Presenters provided rich diversity—we needed to hear their voices, too. I was excited to hear from U.S. teacher educators and teachers sharing their work in multiple forms—panels, ppts, booklets, etc.—this gave us great variety of contexts throughout this continent. Thank you for the poster session multiple days.
  • Courageous and inspiring. The ultimate taste of making your own learning and thinking public. Thank you to all presenters for sharing your perspectives and thoughts on the school as a place of research.
  • Enjoyed the presentations & then the insights of the Italians—all very reflective. Poster sessions were difficult for me to attend for my mind needed a break at lunch.
  • I think a wide variety of presenters were there and that was very helpful.
  • Excellent presentations to help me understand the complex yet simple philosophy from Reggio. Speakers insightful, caring, passionate, and grounded in philosophy.
  • Fantastic! Very diverse selection of topics and from both world-renowned people as well as people like me doing amazing things in their schools.
  • All the presenters were able to bring their own perspective to the Reggio framework. I found comfort in that it offers a lot of flexibility and allows for research into to what will work in my cultural environment. All the presenters were great.
  • All excellent—good variety of different perspectives on the topic of school as a place of research. Appreciated the effort of so many Italian educators to participate in this conference.
  • My favorite presenters were the teachers sharing “real life” experiences—especially those from St. Paul, MN. I also thoroughly enjoyed the architecture session.
  • All were excellent! I especially liked to hear from another higher education person or two—still need their courage to begin my own RE experience!
  • The presentations by the various teachers were fantastic! It was hard to follow with the interpreters but overall, they were great.
  • Wonderful, lots of different experiences & points of view.
  • I really enjoyed hearing from the Italian presenters, but I also enjoyed hearing from American educators as well. Taken together they show the range of experiences along our chosen paths.
  • It was great to hear Daniela Lanzi. The poster session on Tuesday was excellent and lead to a very interesting discussion.
  • Vea’s, Tullio’s, Amelia’s, Carla’s, and Daniela’s presentations were a great beginning for me to understand the town of Reggio Emilia and the culture & traditions there. I am inspired to research more & have it inform my practice as a teacher.
  • Tullio Zini was extraordinary, worth the conference all by himself—great combination of vision and pertinent, useful information. The vision and interpretation of all of the Reggio Children pedagogtistas were terrific & beautifully balanced with the very pertinent hello to the teachers in North American schools. David Kelly’s presentation was excellent.

Suggested Topics for Future Conferences From “The Values of the Reggio Approach” Session Participants:

  • Useful ways to bring staff closer—collaborations & communication between staff & then larger picture city/town—Also understanding importance of a theorist/thinker to be part of the team. Importance of coming back to what is important about our values & understandings of education of young children.
  • More concentration on the teacher’s processes of collaborating with each other. I really enjoyed hearing the teachers from schools outside of Italy share their experiences with Reggio-inspired projects.
  • More sharing of teachers & their own experiences working with children. As a musician atelierista, I would appreciate more presentations of studio teachers collaborating with classroom teachers.
  • I have been to many conferences and the Italian speakers have repeated their words/presentations. I would suggest having more people discuss their projects (like on day two) and also discussing the logistics of carrying out the project.
  • Transparency.
  • More focus on documenting and project pace. How much time is spent on the subject? How much influence/question asking does the teacher do?
  • Using/exploring Reggio Emilia approach in underserved, low-income communities e.g. Common Ground (Chicago), Para los Ninos (LA), Head Start (Ft. Wayne IN). With all due respect, we need to show that the guiding ideas of RE Approach work in the context of low-income, under-served communities & families. Also…could there be a workshop or presenter on using RE Approach in elementary school?

From “Advanced Study” Session Participants:

  • Technology in the classroom, especially with PreK–how far do we let the child explore this medium or should it be a medium in the hands of the child.
  • Considering the Identity of Place—finding a sense of place—in N. American contexts with cultural, community identities. –Finding our own identities.
  • Infant-toddler experiences from the U.S. More in teacher collaboration processes.
  • Using pedagogical documentation like what we do with teachers but doing that with children.
  • The language of dramatic play.
  • Documentation of children’s play.
  • The role of the atelierista in supporting the classroom teachers.
  • I suggest “prompt” questions before presentations begin. The voice of children was largely missing with the exception of Vea Vecchi.
  • Continue this year’s exploration of public schools.
  • A workshop based on how atelieristas can connect to the classroom teachers.
  • The teachers from Boulder Journey School were so warm & welcoming. Thanks so much.
  • Stories of Reggio struggles for school in the USA. Bravo to all the teachers, directors, and support staff from Boulder Journey School! A great thanks.
  • More depth into creating classroom cultures –the thoughtful planning/preparation.
  • Sustainability, connecting with nature—how we help our children take responsibility and great care of our world environment.
  • I have been very pleased with all of the other NAREA topics at conferences including this one. This conference/exhibition would have been more powerful had it been in one location. Although I have overheard colleagues saying that was the intention. This may have been out of control of NAREA.
  • Light/reflection/shadows. Time for more group discussions, collaborations with other educators. Reflecting upon experience, insights, and curiosities about BJS would have been beneficial. More time at BJS needed, did not have time to absorb everything. Registering online option would be appreciated. Exhibit would have been more powerful all in one location—more space needed, too close to walls, etc. NCAR & UCAR are very appropriate along the streamline of beauty & education.
  • Social justice/advocacy—NAREA ought to be more visible.
  • Environments. Culture. Outdoors/nature. NA interpretations in school & settings. Have poster fair of projects to look through & discuss with creators (if exhibit is not present).
  • Suggestions for exhibit technology needs some work—additional headphones at each site to accommodate more people at one time. Great conference!
  • Reggio philosophy in the era of NCLB. Reggio in elementary schools. Long-term effects of Reggio in children’s development. Would be nice if the display poster could have been distributed as a gift rather than offered for $10.00 each.
  • Documenting the adults/the process. Documenting the interaction(s) between and among all protagonists—a. atelierista and teachers, b. teachers and children, c. atelieristas and children, d. families and teachers, etc.
  • Reflection time needed. Collaboration—as a professional development process—researching the teacher’s growth from student-practiconer. Small group work—for adult & children.

From “Comprehensive Experience” Participants:

  • I loved that the “Basics” were at the head of this conference. This review of theory helped us all be on the same page. Thank you.
  • Certainly in our school, as much as I love our students, with the high price of tuition, it appears our school reflects an elite population. How do we make the Reggio Emilia approach more accessible to disadvantaged children? The impoverished child? Topics of outreach programs/Mentorship training consulting with public schools? I would love to see all children have access to a conscious collaborative education. I truly see the importance of acknowledging and validating children of the world in order to help them grow into responsible, conscious citizens of the world!
  • What about a discussion/inquiry for people bringing Reggio inspiration to their schools for the 1st time? Is there coaching available? Instead of us reinventing the wheel, let’s talk about what challenges we have and possible ideas to overcome.
  • Getting to Scale with the Reggio philosophy in the elementary school setting. Continued sessions on Documentation and Representation. The exhibit and sessions about the exhibit should occur in conjunction with the NAREA Conference.
  • Progettazione, Inquiry-based project work. Thank you to all Board members and the BJS staff.
  • More about how sites moved into Reggio thought & got admin & staff involved & excited.
  • Provide opportunity for teacher placements—professional development—such as Boulder Journey School/Reggio that do not necessarily accompany a large group but provide opportunity to work with “site” teachers & children.
  • Further dialogue on inquiry & subjective/objective observation. Thought-provoking presentations & time to dialogue better.
  • Focus on community involvement & accessing community resources.
  • The videos from exhibits were educational and inspiring. Would like more opportunity to look at and discuss. Bring life to words!
  • The alphabet of documentation technology. Now that we have been challenged by the architecture of Reggio Emilia, we need nuts & bolts session on how to fit it all together. The unique furniture, remodeling, lighting—how to find it and how to put it together. What to consider, how to plan—use of light, color, materials.
  • (Reminders for people to turn off cell phones before presenters go on). We are all so curious about the process of the teacher—how they draw the conclusions they do, what words are they using with the children. More info on these processes would be so helpful.
  • Continue with the topics already discussed and maybe shared from different viewpoint or aspects and how these viewpoints relate to the present culture/environment.
  • More special education/inclusion!!
  • Communicating the Reggio-inspired approach to administrators, parents, and the community at large.
  • The community as a collaborative partner in research—children’s and teachers.
  • Transforming America’s education system. Where do we go, who do we talk to, who needs to be involved and how?
  • More teacher presentations on projects/documentation. They were insightful, dynamic, and powerful! Importance of Environment. Community–in connection with the school, as a participant in the school, and as an extension of the classroom & school. Parents as partners, as learners, as advocates. Studio & studio teachers—how they were used, importance, extension of classroom, and as a resource. The approach in relation to policies or philosophy in relation or incorporated into policies.
  • The exhibit from Italy should be seen by many more educators/children in our country!!! I had learned so much more about “listening” & about giving time—to the kids, to the process to myself—as we need to respect the time. We should give more respect to the works of the children. I think that it would be more powerful to see the exhibit under one roof (and also not be distracted by the weather exhibit). Building some discussions with small groups of participants in the beginning of the conference may help to establish new connections among schools in future relationships and collaboration.
  • More examples of N.A. schools and their interpretation of this approach. Not a lot of communication before the conference. BJS staff was so helpful & welcoming!
  • Roles of pedagogistas, atelieristas, and teachers being articulated in more detail and how these roles work together in Reggio Emilia.
  • Successful ways to involve families. Inspired by “In the Spirit of the Studio.” Organize sessions or meetings for people to meet other people from their state to improve networking possibilities.
  • Trusting in the Power and Competence of Children. The exhibit is magnificent—I feel lucky to have seen it. Thank you so much for everything! To believe in children and their ability to learn and discover is my most powerful lesson.

Download 2008 NAREA Summer Conference Participant List

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