This morning we had a few hours to ourselves to seek out the Market. I had half expected something similar to our weekly market in Lexington – but this was that times 100. It was massive. The whole downtown area was awash in vendors – selling everything from kitchen equipment to linens to leather. It was packed with local shoppers – very few tourists. We made our way up and down each aisle; picking up a few gifts for our loved ones; and of course, a few gifts for CNS.
After lunch, we made our way to the Museum of Marino Marini. For those of you who read yesterday’s post; this is the artist (born in Pistoia) that I mentioned with reference to the school we visited in the morning. The collection of his work was stunning – reminded me a lot of my brother’s work (not so humble a sister am I…. ;)). The museum tour was a prelude to two lectures that we attended at the museum – specifically for our group.
The first lecture was about the integration of art and nature. For both Noni and I, this topic resonated deeply for us relative to our work with “Voices from the Land”. It is very important work – and this lecture introduced us to a few new artists to consider (in addition to Andy Goldsworthy) as we continue to inspire and incorporate different provocations for our children at CNS. I felt like I wanted to stand up and share the Voices work – to expand their sense of what can be done with a landscape, a people, and a language; but it wasn’t the place or the time. I thought a lot about my colleague, Erik Mollenhauer, and how his work with the Voices project has such fertile ground all around the world (of which he is well aware).
The second lecture (which came after a much needed cappuchino) was fantastic. The passion of the presenter, Anna Lia Galardini, was palpable. I love people who are passionate about her work – and as I made eye contact with Anna Lia (while her words were being translated), I connected with her passion and her intensity and felt myself re-energized and reborn in a way that was most special. So much of her work with children is so close to what we believe and try to do with your children at CNS.
What I especially appreciated about her talk was that she provided a real example of how to consider the role of all (child, teacher, environment) in the educational moment when going on a ‘journey’ (our word at CNS has been so far ‘investigation’ – I sort of like ‘journey’ better). There was so much to what she said and described about this learning process that resonated with me – I could write for pages and pages. But I will distill it down to what I found to be the most compelling – most representative moment of the lecture.
Simply. We believe that children have so much already – and that we need to provide the right environment; the right nurturing place – where they can feel empowered, valued, and encouraged to seek their learning. We do not believe in the traditional didactic process of hierarchal learning. During Anna Lia talk, the word ‘education’ was broken down to the Latin origin. Education comes from the Latin root: “educo”. The Latin meaning of educo is:
“to draw forth from within.”
Think about that for a moment. To me, that concept resonates so deeply. If we enable children to have place, a moment, and time to draw forth their creativity; their questions, their theories from within…then they will forever for creative, thoughtful, and empowered in their learning.
More to come…I hope this is coming through my writing; but if not, let me be blunt. I am learning more – thinking more – and absorbing more than I thought possible. This trip is a gift. And I promise to pass that gift along to everyone of you and to your children.
Ciao. (and yes, new resolution to self: learn how to speak Italian before I turn 50…).