A marketplace of possibilities: exploring the principles of Reggio Emilia

Presenters: Kelly Boucher, Kirsty Liljegren, Jan Millikan, Sarah Denholm, Kristen Myers-Tapim, Leanne Mits, Hanna Daniel, Andrea Elliott, Heather Conroy, Pauline Tepelis, Ruth Wallbridge, Jody Kingston and Libby Cumming

Date: Saturday 8 September, 2018

Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm


Category: Workshop

PDF flyer: click here to download a flyer for this event

Registrations have now closed

Program Description

A marketplace of possibilities offers a full day of practical workshops and presentations, inviting participants to engage with the principles of Reggio Emilia through an exploration of materials, ideas and techniques. Further sessions will offer opportunities for collaborative reflection on documentation, projects, and the Hundred Languages of children and educators.

Participants will be invited to choose 4 sessions across the day from the following:

    • Dialogues with Materials – Kelly Boucher
    • Thinking with, and about, the ‘language’ of wire – Kirsty Liljegren
    • Digital Landscapes – Sarah Denholm and Kristen Myers-Tapim
    • “The Morning Assembly” – in dialogue with Jan Millikan
    • Connecting the Development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to the Principles of Reggio Emilia – Leanne Mits
    • “Shadow Stories” – in dialogue with Jan Millikan
    • Exploring clay with very young children – Hanna Daniel
    • Adults exploring the language of clay – Andrea Elliott, Heather Conroy & Pauline Tepelis
    • The possibilities and provocations of light – Ruth Wallbridge
    • Listening to the possibilities of sound – Jody Kingston
    • The Documentation Centre heads west – Libby Cumming & Debbie Nicholas

Please read the session details below and indicate your preferred sessions on the registration form.



Workshop: Dialogues with Materials

Presenter: Kelly Boucher

How do materials activate spaces, respond to ideas, offer us questions?

This session engages materials as pedagogical questions and describes how materials and children are co-participants and co-researchers with each other in experiences. Participants will be challenged to re-think current ideas about sustainability and be prompted to look at ways to develop ethical practice by questioning the typical use of materials in early childhood settings. By thinking with materials as active and lively, we ask how we might open up to other ways of seeing, doing, playing and experimenting with the more-than-human objects co-inhabiting early learning spaces.

We will look at:

  • Where materials come from and how they are used in early childhood settings
  • Researching with materials
  • Materials as pedagogical questions


Workshop: Thinking with, and about, the ‘language’ of wire – a myriad of possibilities

Presenter: Kirsty Liljegren

Through engaging with this material, participants will experience and be in dialogue about:

  • Introducing wire to children
  • The ‘coming to know’ phase
  • Tools and skills to expand possibilities
  • Barriers and solutions
  • The interweaving with other languages
  • Being attentive and listening to the process of learning
  • Documenting children’s encounters


Workshop: Digital Landscapes

Presenters: Sarah Denholm and Kristen Myers-Tapim

Early Childhood educators Sarah Denholm and Kristen Myers-Tapim invite you to journey with them to explore the possibilities of digital landscapes.

Sarah and Kristen recently visited Reggio Emilia where they encountered the digital atelier. They will share their experiences of this space and talk about how it has impacted their thinking and practice.

Participants are invited to:

  • Engage with materials that can support digital encounters
  • Explore tools and tech
  • Play with and present provocations
  • Share and discuss the potential for digital languages


Presentation: Connecting the Development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to the Principles of Reggio Emilia

Presenter: Leanne Mits

Pope Road Kindergarten, Blackburn

Developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is an important journey of thought, research and dialogue; a process of encountering deeply held beliefs and values and making a commitment to relationships, respect and opportunities.

Join Leanne Mits from Pope Road Kindergarten, Blackburn, to hear about the journey of this kindergarten team’s experience in developing their formal statement of commitment to reconciliation; a Reconciliation Action Plan. This session will unpack some of the strategies that were used to introduce the idea to the kindergarten staff and community, from beginning steps and through a process of development; sharing the delights, challenges and triumphs of their journey and work.

Participants will hear how the team at Pope Road Kindergarten have engaged with the Reconciliation Australia, Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) platform and required sections of a RAP (Relationships, Respect and Opportunities), in relation to the classroom, school and community. Pope Road Kindergarten’s RAP story articulates some of the possibilities that lie between the development and implementation of a RAP and the principles of Reggio Emilia.


Presentation: Exploring clay with very young children

Presenter: Hanna Daniel

Educator, Amici, Westbourne Early Learning Centre

Children are capable and confident learners, full of desire and curiosity. It therefore becomes our responsibility to provide them with rich and meaningful experiences that enhance their sense of wonder and imagination and acknowledges their right to learn and grow in an inspiring environment.

In this presentation Hanna will share some of the clay project work she has undertaken with infants and very young children (under the age 2).

Participants will be invited to consider:

  • How we can invite very young children to work with clay;
  • How to enable young children to access clay as a language with which to communicate and share meaning with others;
  • How clay invites children to take different actions and think in certain ways;
  • How the medium of clay impacts on children’s ways of thinking, knowing and creating;
  • The importance of learning with and from others from a very young age.


Workshop: Adults exploring the language of clay


Andrea ElliottHead of Campus, Amici Westbourne ELC and Winjeel Junior School,

Heather ConroyPedagogical Leader Amici Westbourne ELC and Winjeel Junior School, and

Pauline TepelisEducator Amici Westbourne ELC

To understand how children might begin to interpret a material, adults need first to explore what Forman spoke of as ‘the affordances’ of a material… the properties of the material and how it responds.

This is a hands-on workshop providing opportunities for participants to work directly with the medium of clay. Participants will be invited to reflect on how clay might be offered to children to support them in both building and communicating what they are coming to understand.

The session will provide opportunities to:

  • Share strategies for inviting children to engage as sculptors (moving from simple gestures to understanding technical sculptural knowledge);
  • Explore texture and line with clay in reference to natural and repurposed materials;
  • Reflect on possibilities of supporting children to work collaboratively in sculptural projects.


Presentation: “The Morning Assembly” and “Shadow Stories” – In Dialogue with Jan Millikan

Presenter: Jan Millikan

These sessions will include an introduction to two videos produced by Reggio Children (Reggio Emilia, Italy). In the first session, we will viewThe Morning Assembly; in the second, Shadow Stories. Jan will then facilitate a dialogue related to the interaction between key values and principles of the educational project of Reggio Emilia including listening, collaboration, the Hundred Languages of children and educators, and documentation.


Workshop: The possibilities and provocations of light

Presenter: Ruth Wallbridge

In this workshop we will explore the possibilities that light provides as an expressive tool. We will discover some of the science behind light and ways to make light accessible to children. The presenters will share projects they have done with preschool children working with light. This will be a hands on workshop and participants will be encouraged to experiment and share their findings with the group. Participants will be encouraged to discover the joy that engaging with light can provide. They can expect to leave excited by the possibilities light provides and many ideas that can be used as provocations in introducing the wonder of light to children.


Workshop: Listening to the possibilities of sound

Presenter: Jody Kingston

Taking experiments from R.Murray Schaffer’s A Sound Education as a starting point, participants will be invited to give attention to sound, exploring the differences between passive and active listening. Then in a series of group exercises, participants will experiment with the materiality of sound, and its relationship to space and the body. Beyond this, small groups will explore connections between sound and speech, as we play with the basic principles of organising sound (composition). This workshop is designed for anyone who is curious about listening more deeply to the (everyday) sounds that surround us.


Presentation: The Documentation Centre heads west

Presenters: Libby Cumming & Debbie Nicholas
The Documentation Centre, at the REAIE office in Hawthorn, was established several years ago to make examples of project documentation visible for our members and guests. The Documentation Centre now houses a diverse range of documentation from centres and schools around Australia making reference to the values and principles of Reggio Emilia. For the first time, a collection of documentation will travel to the western suburbs, to provide educators with the opportunity to read and reflect on examples of documentation and to talk with others also exploring the role of teacher as researcher.
“We want our teachers to fall in love with documentation” – Tiziana Filippini, former pedagogista, Reggio Children.
Come visit our pop-up Documentation Centre, dialogue with colleagues and ‘fall in love’ with the practice of researching young children’s learning.

Feature image: from Kelly Boucher’s very successful workshop Dialogues with Materials, presented in Launceston and Melbourne as part of REAIE’s 2016 Invited Speaker Series.