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Special Exhibition from Reggio Emilia to Open in Madison

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December 27, 2018

Preschool for the Arts announced today “The Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children” exhibit from the world-renowned schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, will open in January in two Capitol Square locations – the Youth Services room on the lower level of the Central Library and in the Playhouse Gallery of Overture Center. Both exhibits are free and open to the public during each facility’s open hours beginning Friday, Jan. 25.
 
“We are so honored that Madison was selected to host ‘The Wonder of Learning’ exhibit in 2019. Madison is the perfect venue for this exhibit because, like Reggio Emilia, this is a city of children,” said Ann Gadzikowski, executive director of Preschool of the Arts and chair of ‘The Wonder of Learning’ Wisconsin Steering Committee. “There are over 350,000 children under five in the state of Wisconsin, and many families struggle to find and afford quality care and education services for their young children. Madison has a rich history of supporting early learning, such as the development of the only city accreditation system in the nation. Leaders of early childhood education organizations here in Madison have been eagerly preparing for the exhibit because we know it will be a wonderful opportunity to advocate for access to quality care and education for all young children and to provide exciting learning opportunities for teachers, child care providers, parents, and families.”
 
The exhibit will be open and free to the public through May 2019. It will inspire parents, educators and other advocates for children to better understand the powerful learning that occurs in the early childhood years. Visitors will be immersed in the world of the much-admired Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education and understand how children, from birth, use many “languages,” such as art, music, play, drama, numeracy and literacy, to learn about and make meaning of the world.
 
“The Wonder of Learning” traveling exhibit highlights the work of the children of the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The schools of Reggio Emilia were named by Newsweek magazine as the “best in the world” for young children in 1991. For several decades now, the ongoing development of this approach has drawn international interest and academic study, including here in Wisconsin. In every city the exhibit has visited, it has influenced early childhood education and the local communities in very positive ways. Visitors have called the exhibit “phenomenal,” “groundbreaking,” full of “fresh ideas” and “a one-of-a-kind early-childhood exhibit.”
 
A coalition of organizations, led by Madison’s own Preschool of the Arts in partnership with other organizations including UW Madison, Madison College, Reach Dane Head Start and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, will be hosting the exhibit in collaboration with Reggio Children and The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA). “The Week of the Young Child” will run April 8-12, 2019. During this week, early childhood organizations will host many special events in downtown Madison in and around “The Wonder of Learning” exhibit venues. A special event is planned for Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at the Central Library and Overture Center. A series of professional development workshops and conferences will take place in Madison during the five months the exhibit is available, including the Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction “Preserving Early Childhood” Conference and the UW Madison Information School “Power Up” conference for youth services librarians.
 
Volunteers will be facilitating visits to the exhibit, activating dialogue, conversations, observations and reflections. It is anticipated that as many as 5,000 visitors will see “The Wonder of Learning” exhibit during its stay in Madison. The exhibit will draw teachers, researchers, university and college instructors, students, politicians, policy makers, families (parents, children, grandparents) and interested citizens. The exhibit will be a source of pride for the host community, celebrating both the accomplishments of the educational project of Reggio Emilia, and the history and beauty of Madison.
 
“The Wonder of Learning” project is presented by Preschool of the Arts with additional support from Madison Public Library, Madison Public Library Foundation, Overture Center for the Arts, Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Reach Dane Head Start, Community Coordinated Child Care, UW Madison Office of Child Care and Family Resources, The Finlay Group, Little Explorers Preschool, Summit Credit Union and CG Schmidt.