Second week of June 2021, a sunny Sunday. Six teachers from different countries landed in Bologna, ready to start an incredible journey. They come from Sant Marc and Ricardo Campano schools in Spain, Dječji vrtic Rijeka in Croatia, and Da Vinci preschool in Czech Republic. After a nice day in the city centre, accompanied by a lunch and a tour of the city, theparticipants were enthusiasts of starting their training on Preschool Education on Monday morning.
Monday began with some get to know each other activities, where the teachers had the possibility of getting acquainted one with the other and meet the trainer, Sara. The first day rapidly went by talking about preschool education best practices and group activities with the aim of involving all the educators in enriching discussions about their experiences.
Tuesdays was about exploring the power of play-based learning and non-formal education, topics which were investigated through learning games, practical activities, group reflections and brainstorming.
On Wednesday the group delved into the Montessori method, a philosophy and pedagogy developed by Maria Montessori in the early 19th century. A presentation of pictures of Montessori authentic environment and materials was the starting point for discovering the method in a practical and experiential way. In the afternoon the teachers had the possibility of enjoying Florence, an amazing historical and artistic city close to Bologna.
Thursday the team headed to “Naturalmente bambini”, an educational association in Bologna developing an outdoor education project inspired by the experience of “The kindergarten in the woods”. The group is warmly welcomed and guided into the four hectars of Podere Ringoni by Carlotta, educator, pedagogist and president of the Associaton. Getting to know how the outdoor space is planned, organized and experienced by children and educators, meeting the children as well as having a look at the rich and creative documentation produced was according to one of our participants “the best way to understand the pedagogy”. The day ended with an explanation of the Bologna preschool outdoor experience and some ideas and advices on how to implement this pedagogy.
The last day was about discovering the Reggio-Emilia approach. A historical and theoretical background on this peculiar approach was followed by a practical session where participants could get in touch with concrete experiences through the support of video documentation.
After enjoying the last moments in Bologna, our participants got ready to travel back home. As one of the participant commented, “the course made me smarter with knowledge that I can now share with colleagues in my country”, and we can’t wait for them to share the knowledge and experience gained in their schools and countries, so as to inspire other preschool teachers and spread even more innovation and new approaches in early childhood education.