Constructing Modern Knowledge is thrilled to offer a rare learning adventure as a pre-institute workshop, on July 10, 2023, Scintillae – Play and Learning in the Digital Age from Reggio Emilia (Italy).

Observe and listen to children because when they ask “why?” they are not simply asking for the answer from you. They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers.

– Carla Rinaldi

This workshop is named after an experimental research project led by Fondazione Reggio Children – Centro Loris Malaguzzi and The LEGO Foundation. The word “scintillae” means small sparks or flashes, and reminds us that being attuned to the smallest of sparks is a crucial part of understanding learning. The workshop will be organized in two parts. The first part to share experiences of co-designing, conducting and documenting playful learning activities. The second part will be an opportunity to experiment and document activities in small groups in an intermedial, immersive learning context. The CMK Scintillae workshop will be led by our dear colleague, Barbara Donnici from Foundazione Reggio Children, and the atelierista, Elèna Sofia Paoli, from Fondazione Reggio Children.

Barbara Donnici

Maria Barbara Donnici worked in the field of International Relations for the City of Reggio Emilia for twelve years. Since 2012, she has been employed by Fondazione Reggio Children in various roles. Barbara is currently coordinating the research project, Scintillae – Play and Learning in the Digital Age, promoted in partnership with The LEGO Foundation, and the project, Abitare il Paese, that gives voice to children’s visions and ideas for the future of cities as learning spaces in collaboration with the Italian National Council of Architects.

Since 2019, Barbara has been enrolled in the PhD course in “Reggio Childhood Studies,”promoted by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Fondazione Reggio Children. She is researching the role of adults in a playful approach to education in formal and non-formal contexts.

Elèna Sofia Paoli

Elèna Sofia has been an atelierista at Fondazione Reggio Children since 2018. She has a degree in education and in communication and didactics of art and artistic and cultural heritage and an MA in “Performing arts and community spaces.” Her interests focus on research, experimentation and the creation of learning contexts that allow a trans- and interdisciplinary approach to knowledge. The hybridization between atelier culture, Reggio Approach and contemporary artistic languages are a fundamental part of her daily work.

Many years of work experience in the field of art and inclusiveness allowed her to investigate the culture of atelier with people with mental and physical differences. 

In our digital age, scintillae represents a learning context characterized by a natural and playful approach to digital technology, where the physical and digital worlds interact, creating unexpected and unusual encounters for learning, designing and building knowledge and images together.

The Reggio Emilia Approach represents the most mature and sophisticated implementation of learner-centered education in the world. Although formally focused on educating young children, ages 0 – 6, the profound insights of educators from this small Italian city are applicable for learners of all ages and their efforts shape and are shaped by the community. That is why Constructing Modern Knowledge has featured experts from Reggio Emilia, Lella Gandini and Carla Rinaldi, twice each as guest speakers at our summer institute.

“The cornerstone of our experience, based on practice, theory, and research, is the image of the child as rich, strong, and powerful. The emphasis is placed on seeing the children as unique subjects with rights rather than simply needs. They have potential, plasticity, the desire to grow, curiosity, the ability to be amazed, and the desire to relate to other people and to communicate.”

– Carla Rinaldi
Carla Rinaldi (right) at CMK 2018
Lella Gandini (2nd from left) at CMK 2011

Unlike some other forms of early childhood education, the Reggio Emilia Approach does not reflexively reject technology. They identify ways to connect children to their world and seek opportunities for inquiry, invention, discovery, theory construction, and citizenship to evolve in relation to modernity. Scintillae represents an exciting effort to explore the intersection of play, science, technology, art, and collaboration. Learn more about scintillae.

We are excited to offer this workshop as inspiration for the four days of CMK to follow and beyond!

Space is limited — this workshop is available only to Constructing Modern Knowledge 2023 participants!