Sunday 30 November 2008

Start real winter here

From more then a week is snowing.All the city looking gre8 in white dress :) and today open new season for ski

Sunday 9 November 2008

Reggio Emilia Philosophy

The following overview of the Reggio Emilia Approach was taken from a packet of information available at The Hundred Languages of Children traveling exhibit:
Hailed as an exemplary model of early childhood education (Newsweek, 1991), the Reggio Emilia approach to education is committed to the creation of conditions for learning that will enhance and facilitate children's construction of "his or her own powers of thinking through the synthesis of all the expressive, communicative and cognitive languages" (Edwards and Forman, 1993). The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is a city-run and sponsored system designed for all children from birth through six years of age. The Reggio Emilia approach can be viewed as a resource and inspiration to help educators, parents, and children as they work together to further develop their own educational programs. The Reggio Emilia approach is based upon the following principles:
Emergent Curriculum: An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through community or family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadow, dinosaurs, etc.). Team planning is an essential component of the emergent curriculum. Teachers work together to formulate hypotheses about the possible directions of a project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support and involvement.
Project Work: Projects, also emergent, are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests, which arise within the group. Considered as an adventure, projects may last one week or could continue throughout the school year. Throughout a project, teachers help children make decisions about the direction of study, the ways in which the group will research the topic, the representational medium that will demonstrate and showcase the topic and the selection of materials needed to represent the work. Long-term projects or progettazione, enhance lifelong learning.
Representational Development: Consistent with Howard Gardner's notion of schooling for multiple intelligences, the Reggio Emilia approach calls for the integration of the graphic arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development. Presentation of concepts and hypotheses in multiple forms of representation -- print, art, construction, drama, music, puppetry, and shadow play -- are viewed as essential to children's understanding of experience. Children have 100 languages, multiple symbolic languages.
Collaboration: Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work. Within the Reggio Emilia approach multiple perspectives promote both a sense of group membership and the uniqueness of self. There high emphasis on the collaboration among home-school-community to support the learning of the child.
Teachers as Researchers: The teacher's role within the Reggio Emilia approach is complex. Working as co-teachers, the role of the teacher is first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to children (Edwards, 1993). Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children's work and the growth of community in their classroom and are to provoke, co-construct, and stimulate thinking, and children's collaboration with peers. Teachers are committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.
Documentation: Similar to the portfolio approach, documentation of children's work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents. Pictures of children engaged in experiences, their words as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking, and the children's interpretation of experience through the visual media are displayed as a graphic presentation of the dynamics of learning. Documentation is used as assessment and advocacy.
Environment: Within the Reggio Emilia schools, great attention is given to the look and feel of the classroom. Environment is considered the "third teacher." Teachers carefully organize space for small and large group projects and small intimate spaces for one, two or three children. Documentation of children's work, plants, and collections that children have made from former outings are displayed both at the children's and adult eye level. Common space available to all children in the school includes dramatic play areas and worktables for children from different classrooms to come together.
Features of The Reggio Emilia Approach
Teacher Role:
to co-explore the learning experience with the children
to provoke ideas, problem solving, and conflict
to take ideas from the children and return them for further exploration
to organize the classroom and materials to be aesthetically pleasing
to organize materials to help children make thoughtful decisions about the media
to document children's progress: visual, videotape, tape recording, portfolios
to help children see the connections in learning and experiences
to help children express their knowledge through representational work
to form a "collective" among other teachers and parents
to have a dialogue about the projects with parents and other teachers
to foster the connection between home, school and community
can emerge from children's ideas and/or interests
can be provoked by teachers
can be introduced by teachers knowing what is of interest to children: shadows, puddles, tall buildings, construction sites, nature, etc.
should be long enough to develop over time, to discuss new ideas, to negotiate over, to induce conflicts, to revisit, to see progress, to see movement of ideas
should be concrete, personal from real experiences, important to children, should be "large" enough for diversity of ideas and rich in interpretive/representational expression
explore first: what is this material, what does it do, before what can I do with the material
should have variation in color, texture, pattern: help children "see" the colors, tones, hues; help children "feel" the texture, the similarities and differences
should be presented in an artistic manner--it too should be aesthetically pleasing to look at--it should invite you to touch, admire, inspire
should be revisited throughout many projects to help children see the possibilities


The classroom space is a discrete entity which is subdivided into "centers" including art, writing, sand/water, reading, math, manipulatives, blocks, science, and a domestic/house or dramatic play area. There is also a meeting area. The room may appear crowded with the amount of furniture and shelves in the space. Consider what is allowed into this space. On the walls are commercially made (along with some teacher-created) charts or posters. Adjacent to the calendar, or included as part of it, is a weather chart. Along the top of the chalkboards, or just underneath, are strips depicting the alphabet and numbers to10. Charts identifying colors and shapes are posted on available bulletin board spaces. There may be seasonally related posters, or pictures of community helpers (doctor, firefighter, police officer, letter carrier), or information posters on dinosaurs, parts of the body or animals, depending on the current theme of study. The bulletin boards will be backed with colored papers and surrounded by a scalloped decorative boarder. Each bulletin board may be decorated in a different color of paper with a different scalloped boarder. For example, in one small classroom I visited recently there were seven different boarders around six boards each backed in one of three different colors. There may be mobiles or things hung from the ceiling. The overall impression is often of a visual bombardment of images. There is a particular "aesthetic" to this room. Just from the images on the walls we know at once we are in a kindergarten (or primary grade) classroom. This look, like the string paintings or string prints typical of school art (Efland, 1988), exists only in schools.

The image of the child is one who must be protected from the outside world in order to learn. The child is seen as an object to be filled with information distilled and dispensed in regulated doses beginning with simple concepts leading to more abstract concepts. However, Egan (1988) argues that even very young children are concerned with the abstract themes of good/bad, beautiful/ugly, power/control, love and hate-- all those issues surrounding what it means to be human, are typically excluded from early childhood.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Who is next?!

A revolving gold statue, pink champagne and a "Pleasure Brigade" of nubile retainers all feature in Times Money's list of history's most decadent dictators. While their people suffered, these men - and sometimes their wives and children - agonised over how best to spend their ill-gotten gains...
1. Kim Jong-il, "Dear Leader" of North Korea since 1994. The son of the communist state's "Great Leader", Kim Jong-il has super-expensive tastes, with 17 palaces and collections of hundreds of cars and about 20,000 video tapes. On one state visit to Russia, he reportedly had live lobsters airlifted daily to his armoured private train. He is believed to spend around $650,000 a year on Hennessy VSOP cognac and maintains an entourage of young lovelies known as the "Pleasure Brigade"

2. Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines, 1965 - 1986. The Second World War freedom-fighter turned kleptocrat secreted billions of dollars in overseas accounts. His wife Imelda, however, was the big spender, leaving 888 handbags and 1060 pairs of shoes in the Malacanang presidential palace when the family fled mob justice after Marcos was deposed. Her pricier purchases included the $51 million Crown Building and $61 million Herald Centre in New York and art by Michelangelo and Botticelli
3. Nicolae Ceausescu, President of Romania, 1967 - 1989. The "Genius of the Carpathians" was congratulated (by telegram) by Salvador Dali on his excesses, which included his use of a kingly sceptre. Despite an official salary of just $3,000, he found the cash for 15 palaces, a superb car collection, yachts, fine art and bespoke suits. Tens of thousands of homes were demolished to make space for his 1,100-room, 480-chandelier Palace of the Parliament in the capital, Bucharest
4. Saparmurat Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan, 1990 - 2006. The President for Life and "Turkmenbashi", or Father of all Turkmen, was at the centre of an awesome cult of personality. His vanity projects included a £6 million revolving gold-plated statue of himself in the country's capital, Ashgabat. He shifted around £3 billion to overseas accounts, renamed the month of January (after himself), banned beards and ordered that his musings be displayed alongside the Koran in mosques
5. Idi Amin, President of Uganda, 1971 - 1979. The "Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea", "Emperor of Uganda" and "King of Scotland" awarded himself the VC, or Victorious Cross, and CBE, or Conqueror of the British Empire. He also spent millions on a super-lavish lifestyle - maintaining a reported 30 mistresses as well as five wives and fathering at least 43 children. A typically mad-capped project was the creation of a personal bodyguard of bagpipe-playing 6ft 4in Scotsmen
6. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, 1922 - 1953. The "Gardener of Human Happiness" and "Brilliant Genius of Humanity" was celebrated in his lifetime in thousands of stylised statues and monuments erected across the Soviet Union - many of which were moved or destroyed in later "de-Stalinisation" drives. He also had a taste for palaces, booze and cigars and preferred to travel by armour-plated private train with a Tsarist-style entourage
7. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Persia, 1941 - 1979. The "King of Kings" and "Sun of the Aryans" spent a reported $100 million on celebrations for the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian monarchy in 1971, serving breast of peacock on Limoges china to dignitaries in a 160-acre tent city at Persepolis - close to poor villages. His superb collection of sports cars can be seen at the National Car Museum of Iran, alongside custom models by Mercedes-Benz and Porsche for his son, the Crown Prince
8. Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, 1979 - 2003. The Baathist leader with a fondness for gold-plated bathroom fittings, and Kalashnikovs, rebuilt Babylon on kitsch rather than authentic lines, stamping each brick of the "reconstruction" with his own name in the manner of Nubachadnezzar, the ancient Babylonian king and conqueror of Jerusalem. His playboy eldest son Uday, meanwhile, kept a private zoo with lions and cheetahs at his Baghdad residence and owned a collection of 1,200 luxury cars
9. Mobutu Sese Soku, President of Zaire, 1965 - 1997. Siphoning his country's wealth into Swiss bank accounts was a speciality of the "All-Powerful Warrior", whose personal fortune was estimated at $5 billion in 1984 - then equivalent to Zaire's national debt. Mobutu's extravagances included palaces and pink champagne, yachts and shopping trips to Paris by chartered Concorde. His second wife Bobi Ladawa rivalled Imelda Marcos as a compulsive spender - with a reported 1,000-dress wardrobe
10. Suharto, President of Indonesia, 1967 - 1998. The former bank clerk embezzled more money than any other leader in history, according to Transparency International. In 1999, Time Asia put his family's wealth at $15 billion. Playboy son "Tommy" was the biggest-profile spender - lavishing money on cars and clothes and buying a majority stake in Lamborghini before a conviction for murder in 2002. Suharto's daughter "Tutut", meanwhile, spent $100,000 on one shopping flight to the US