As one of the Nature Center Educators noted “the exhibit seemed to place itself in the nature center”. As we enter the historic building, the exhibit panels drew us in. They tucked nicely into corners and rooms, giving visitors to the building a reason to stop and ponder awhile. Each panel seemed to flow with the space it occupied. The panel questioning “How Can You Sustain Wonder, Curiosity, and Engagement” found a home in the discovery room, where visitors explore all manor of materials found in the woods.
The opening event also seemed to come together in a natural way. Carolyn Edwards, coeditor of the Hundred Languages of Children spoke about the influence of the Hawkins on Loris Malaguzzi and the schools in Reggio Emilia. Ellen Hall, the Co-Founder and Board Chair of Hawkins Centers of Learning, talked about her and Boulder Journey School’s connection to David and Francis Hawkins.
More than 100 attendees engaged in the discussion and asked questions about the Hawkins’ work and their connection to the Reggio Approach. It was truly an inspiring night. Carolyn and Ellen sat by the big stone fireplace at the Nature Center with a roaring fire and David and Francis’ photograph on the fireplace mantel. As Ellen noted she felt like she was doing a “fireside chat”. It all felt very right and something that David and Francis would have enjoyed themselves.
Though the evening seemed magical and the exhibit like it was meant for this place, it took many months of planning and collaboration to pull it off. Cultivating Early Years, the coordinators of the exhibit in the Midwest, brought together an amazing group of collaborating organizations. These organizations donated time, money and resources to bring this event to Chicago and the surrounding area and deserve a huge amount of the credit.
The exhibit will be in 3-4 places while in the Midwest. It is at the Nature Center until February and then moves to the Milwaukee area. It will be back to Chicago for a closing in April, before moving on to Tennessee. For more information about its location in the Midwest you can go to culitvatingey.com.