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New York

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Wood, not the commodity kind but the real one you find in nature, is not easy to come by in the city. But within the last week we were lucky enough to come across it in two occasions. Once in the natural materials atelier of the wonderful Wonder of Learning exhibit about the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood learning, hosted by my daughter’s school. And today in Central Park, catching a brief break from the freezing temperatures and blistering winds for a sun-filled snow day in nature (albeit one surrounded by skyscrapers).

I’m so glad we got to know Reggio Emilia by chance, because it happened to be the closest preschool to our home. The more I learn about it the more I love it. It’s absolutely child-centered and child-led, with adults and teachers taking on supporting roles as mentors and guides to encourage children to explore all the ways they can express themselves. It fits so well with our own views, based on children’s rights and respect for the child. Childhood is about exploration, experimentation, creativity, endless fun and play and I’m rather relieved that my daughter has the chance to experience that, and natural wood, in this hectic, urban, and ultra-competitive megacity.

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