In Reggio Emilio schools are built with a central piazza, an open space from which all other rooms flow. Piazza’s are more than simply an architectural idea, they are integral to the philosophy of Reggio where values of democracy, reciprocity and sociality are of utmost importance. Ceppi and Zini put it this way:
“The piazza is a place of meeting, a public place of the school which plays the same role in the school building as the piazza does in town…..the piazza supports the formation of relationships, symbolizing the “pedagogy of relationships” in the sense that it fosters encounters, group interaction, stories, social relations and the children’s assumption of a public identity.” (Children, Spaces, Relations, a metaproject for an environment for young children, Ceppi, Zini, 1998)
The idea of creating spaces to generate relationships and dialogue among adults, children, teachers and the broader community is an uncommon idea where I live. Opportunities for discussing the important questions of listening to what children know, articulating, contesting and discussing education are sadly missing …..until now! A collective of educators in Terrace have created such a space with The Art of Human Learning now showing at the Terrace Art Gallery.
With the guiding statement Young children use the arts in their everyday life as their language families, educators, and the broader community were asked to submit stories and art to be showcased at the art gallery. The submissions were then professionally curated resulting in an exhibition that provokes new ways of thinking about children, art, human learning and expression.
The exhibit showcases photography, sculpture, found object installations, provocative quotes and stories of children and adults, ranging from the disturbing to the whimsical, all challenging the viewer to think about creativity, education, learning and the values we as a society hold.
A blue adirondack chair inscribed with poetry invites readers to reconceptualize our relationship with nature.
A large branch encased in canvas created by children who are thinking about life and death, growth and nurturing.
A gorgeously thick painting rich with texture draws the viewer to linger.
The Art of Human Learning is a remarkable accomplishment, doing what is so rarely done but so sorely needed…..sparking conversations about art, children, education, care and expressive languages.
Go see it. And then keep talking about it……these conversations are important.