• Suzanne Axelsson

Getting to know the third teacher...

Uppdaterad: jan 2

This post will share more images from my visit to Nido Scuola ENI06 in The suburbs of Milan.

i have already shared two posts - one with my interpretation of the construction materials and my reflections of the possibilities - and one with the thinking behind the choices from the school itself - who kindly took the time to respond to my questions...


My first impression of the school was the bold colours, not primary colours, but bold all the same... but then maybe some information about my visit is necessary too, as I was asked to hold a presentation about children with special rights/needs and in particular autism - so my eyes were automatically seeing the school from this perspective- and this meant for the first day I found the bold colours, and the number of them overwhelming - I am glad I visited the same space for three days because the first day was consumed by dealing with the colours and learning to see beyond them.

This is not to say that the colours were ugly or wrong - the school is beautiful and well designed... but that first day I was consumed by the design and struggled to see the children...

the second and third day I was able to see the children , the documentation of past and current projects and the play and learning...


Maybe this is simply like getting to know people - and that we need to go beyond how a person looks in order to get to understand and know them...

I mean, I remember my first visit to an early years setting in Iceland and struggled with the lack of “things” available to the children - it took me a few days to get to know why and understand the process and to learn from it...


Having had the amazing opportunity to visit schools in many different countries I think I have to admit that this happens in most places... that I need a few days to get to know the third teacher...

and really we need to not only get to know the third teacher but to also develop a relationship.


I have worked at places where I have not got on with my third teacher... sometimes as a temporary phase ... and sometimes so seriously that I have found it impossible to continue working at the setting - the third teacher requires rules, limitations and controlling behavior by the teachers that it is impossible to give the children the power and the freedom I strive for in democratic learning.


The third teacher will also reflect the culture...

the school in Milan obviously did not have the same outdoor play and learning culture that we have here in Sweden - even though they have the potential to create something special - this is in part the teacher reactions to the outdoor and weather, the parents reactions to what bad weather is and how that affects their children - and also the adults who designed the space . I loved the fact the classrooms could access the outdoors directly - so potentially allowing a free flow of indoors and outdoors... there was also space on the roof for all sorts of potential exploration - and having learned of their bunny “problem” I would put the garden on the roof so that the rabbits could not eat all the fruit and vegetables!!🤣


The space also had very high ceilings - in some areas extremely high. As a tall person this is something I really love... but from the perspective of young children this can be something that makes them feel even smaller rather than empowered

so usually I think high ceilings are a design to get the teachers and parents feeling impressed about the space! But at the same time - if windows are being used high up then it is allowing a different play of natural light in the space... sunlight being able to come in at different angles...


so to the photos... In this post just a few... and tomorrow I will share another with more images and descriptions - which I am looking forward to sharing more about the piazzas (shared spaces) the ateliers and classrooms - as well as the smart use of other spaces ...










Interaction Imagination

© 2017 Suzanne Axelsson. Interaction Imagination. Stockholm, Sweden.
suzanne@interactionimagination.com 

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