Monday, 16 September 2013

Recent visitor to Reflections from South Africa...

We were delighted to have a visit from Lindi Bell of Small World Playgroup in Johannesburg last week. Lindi is the Chairperson of the Johannesburg Reggio Study Group.  She left us some comments following her visit as below:

First I want to thank you for making a plan for me to come and visit Reflections on a day that perhaps did not suit you as well.  I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to move through the rooms and imbibe the atmosphere and ethos.  Truly, there were some rooms I walked into that made my eyes just tear up like there was some hidden sprinkler system or something.  I was so moved by the environment which spoke so loudly and proudly FOR children and their rights and potentials.

I understand that some of your rooms had just been cleared out over the holidays ready for the new groups to come in and make it their own space.  I would not have been happy with anything else.  Less was more definitely more in this case,

Yvonne was so generous with her time (did she tell you I took up an entire afternoon of her time??).  She was as authentic as they come, passionate about Reggio and Reflections, with a genuine and lovely way with the children. She was also very knowledgeable about all the ins and outs of running a school and was so in touch with the goings-on in each room.  I was made to feel so at home.  Honestly, I could've just bundled her up into my suitcase and brought her home with me.  I love the way she was so unapologetically confident in the teacher's role in the learning that happens at Reflections too.  That teaching and learning should not stand on opposite sides of the river watching the water flow by... that they should both be in the same boat, rowing. That yes, it is all about the children and their interests and curiosities, but the teacher has as much a part to play in the construction of that learning as the children. So, I'm preaching to the choir...

You have a magnificent school, Martin.  A noble, elegant school. A beautiful, juicy, organic, human school.  To think that its is all hand-made so to speak gives me 'goosies' (gooseflesh?).  The playground that has been co-created... the rooms full of the deep-thinking of the children (even the babies!)... the entrance hall that is so warm and welcoming, the lovely sound of children's voices drifting down the stairs, that beautiful water feature that I can't wait to read about, the 'poorly tree' so thoughtfully attended to, the fire-pit that I imagine teaches children more about being safe that any book/speech would, the edible garden so rich with provocations... the baby room with baby chairs sat side-by-side ready for communion with each other... the loveliness of Louise and Shelly... the treasure trove that I later found at St Paul's Exhibitions Centre... made it all worth coming all that way for! and then some!

I would like to say I wouldn't change a thing, but then of course you will anyway!
But really, a thoroughly amazing experience for me!

Thanks so much
Lindi Bell

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