24 of October 2021: a new group of participants arrived in Bologna to experience a new and wonderful adventure. They come from the “Kindergarten Parvi yuni” in Bulgaria, Kindergarten "Tratinčica" in Croatia, Alasniidu Kindergarten in Estonia, and Vrtec Vrhnika in Slovenia.
They are here in Italy for exploring the main principles, features and benefits of the most innovative preschool approaches and methods.
The course started on Sunday with some get to know each other activities, where the teachers had the possibility to get acquainted one with the other and discover the city of Bologna a bit.
On Monday the day rapidly went by talking about the four main topics of the week: non formal education, outdoor education, the Montessori method and the Reggio Emilia approach. After the brainstorming we discussed about preschool education best practices and we did some group activities with the aim of involving all the educators in enriching discussions about their ways of teaching children.
The next day was about investigating 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. The group had the possibility of meeting an Italian pedagogist on a Montessori school in Bologna: Nadia Fornasari. The teacher gave a detailed presentation and showed us authentic materials used by the children.
Thursday the team headed to “Naturalmente bambini”, an educational association in Bologna developing an amazing 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 association. The group got to know how the kindergarten neatly planned the outdoor space, got to meet the children as well as had a look at the rich and creative documentation produced by the association team.
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.
As one of the teacher affirmed, “This course is a great way to get an overview of different methods and approaches used in preschools without having to learn a lot of theory”. This is our approach, engaging activities and lot of practice are the best way to learn :)