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Education, Arts, and Community Combine in "The Hundred Languages of Children," a Unique Exhibit Comes to NCAR

Linda Carbone
NCAR Information and Education Outreach Program
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8612
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: lcarbone@ucar.edu

BOULDER -- The scientific, artistic, and emotional discoveries of very young children will be on display in a special exhibit, "The Hundred Languages of Children," at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder from June 15 through August 15. The exhibit's 140 large panels, light boxes, and cases document young students' explorations and introduce the educational philosophy of a small Italian city that has focused on early childhood education for more than 30 years. The NCAR showing is sponsored by Boulder's Make A Mess and Make Believe, Inc., a local preschool.

Original artwork, photographs, displays, transcriptions of children's dialogues, and the comments of their teachers create a portrait of the preschools in Reggio Emilia, a northern Italian city just slightly larger than Boulder. The city has been recognized internationally for its innovative, publicly funded network of full-day infant-toddler centers and schools for young children, including children with disabilities.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based on belief in children's potential for learning, exploring, and entering into relationships with peers, teachers, the environment, and the community. Educators are viewed as researchers and partners with children in the learning process; children make hypotheses, explore their environment, and discover connections and meanings, and they "have many, many languages for expressing and communicating" what they discover, according to the Italian educators.

The exhibit is organized around thematic investigations, called proposals. In one set of display panels, children encounter a computer and discover that it, too, has a language. For an investigation of shadows, the preschoolers pose scientific questions about where shadows come from. They discover the answers in the relationships among light, mass, and surface by making observations and conducting experiments that test their initial hypotheses. The investigation ends with an exploration of the metaphorical meanings of shadows. "Young children find both scientific and emotional problem solving to be valid and meaningful; the integration makes for a deep and powerful educational experience," according to the exhibit's creators.

A conference for educators will be held at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder on June 24-27. Panelists and participants will focus on the exhibit and the fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. For more information about the conference, contact Ellen Hall, Make A Mess and Make Believe, 303-443-8909.

NCAR's Mesa Laboratory exhibit hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. In addition to this special exhibit, visitors may view ongoing displays by regional and national artists or join a guided noontime tour of the Mesa Laboratory, designed by I.M. Pei. A self-guided tour of the building is also available. All exhibits and tours are free. The Mesa Laboratory is located at the west end of Table Mesa Drive (exit off U.S. 36) in southwest Boulder.

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation.

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"Rain" is one of the twelve thematic "proposals" in "The Hundred Languages of Children," an exhibit depicting the scientific, artistic, and emotional discoveries of very young children. The exhibit is on display at NCAR June 15-August 15. (Photo courtesy of National Center for Atmospheric Research.)

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Preschool children illustrate their concepts of color in this panel, which is part of an international touring exhibit, "The Hundred Languages of Children." Some 140 large panels, light boxes, and cases portraying the educational philosophy of a small Italian city are on display at NCAR June 15-August 15. (Photo courtesy of National Center for Atmospheric Research.)

-The End-

Writer: Zhenya Gallon

Note to Editors: The images accompanying this news release are available via the Internet using anonymous ftp: Log on to ftp.ucar.edu, using the userid: anonymous; password: [your e-mail address]; directory: /communications [include the slash]; filenames: exhibit1.tif, exhibit2.tif [dinosaur, not shown], exhibit3.tif.

See also:
NCAR Visual Communications
NCAR Mesa Laboratory
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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCARs sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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Last revised: Fri Apr 7 15:38:50 MDT 2000
Last revised: Thu Jul 9 15:02:24 MDT 1998