Southern Cross University’s Dr Wendy Boyd chased the Reggio Emilia 100 languages of children exhibition around the world for nearly two decades, and each time she thought she had found it, it had moved on.
So imagine her astonishment when, in an email, Jan Millikan OAM, founder of the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange, offered her a chance to host the exhibit.
“I couldn’t believe it, how serendipitous is that?” said Dr Boyd, SCU Lecturer in Early Childhood and convenor of the Reggio Emilia Northern Rivers Group.
“And, this is its first exhibition in New South Wales and its first exhibition in a university.
“We’re all excited about it because this is a great opportunity for students.”
Dr Boyd said the exhibition demonstrated how children are able to express their thoughts and thinking through symbols, art, words and images.
The library at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University is hosting the exhibition which is officially opened at 5.00pm Friday, June 6.
Reggio Emilia is a town in northern Italy where, after the WWII, a revolutionary approach to early childhood development was created by Loris Malaguzzi, a teacher.
He was joined by parents and the community in his philosophy that children are capable and creative from birth and have the ability to communicate in 100 languages.
If you need proof, come along to the exhibition and be amazed at what children have created and what they understand about our world.
Jan Millikan said Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange was established in 1994 and in 2001 commissioned the exhibition in English. Since then it has toured the world and Australia.
“One of the things the Reggio Emilia approach to child development does, is demonstrate how much greater children’s competence and capabilities are than we have previously realized,” said Ms Milikan.
“We now have 50 years of research to support this.
“The theory that children have 100 languages is supported by the documentation, so creating dialogue between child, educator, parents and community now becomes collaboration.”
The exhibition is in the Southern Cross University Lismore campus library, A Block. It officially opens on Friday, June 9 and runs until July 11.
Jan Millikan and Dr Wendy Boyd