Oamaru's Pip Cleverley is off to Italy in April after being awarded a scholarship from the Little Wonders Community to further her knowledge in childhood education.
Each year, Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre offers a scholarship to celebrate and recognise contributions a teacher is making to improve learning in their particular centre.
The scholarship enables teachers to explore their area of teaching strength and interest further to disseminate their knowledge to teaching staff back in Oamaru.
This year's recipient, Oamaru Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre head teacher Mrs Cleverley will travel to Italy in April.
She currently teaches 4-year-olds in room Tapatoru, as well as her management role as head teacher.
She's using the scholarship to undertake a study tour organised by Reggio Emilia Aotearoa NZ, which will see her travel to Reggio Emilia in Italy to experience the city's innovative teaching philosophy with a group of early childhood and primary teachers from around New Zealand.
She said the international tour would offer opportunities to examine the cultural context of Reggio Emilia and the image of the child and teacher.
She would also learn about the environment as the third teacher, the pedagogy of listening, making learning visible through documentation and the role of the pedagogista and her role as a professional leader.
She said she hoped to gain an increased knowledge of management organisation and staff professional development and other processes as well as new ways of working in an environment of increased multiculturalism to ensure that individual needs were met and learning outcomes were consistent.
Her interest in the Reggio philosophy and educational approach was sparked in the late 1980s, after a visit from leading educationalist Lillian Katz.
Professor Katz's lectures on the Reggio philosophy came at the time when New Zealand counterparts were working on the draft stages of our first curriculum document Te Whariki.
Mrs Cleverley said belonging, wellbeing, emergent learning and the influence of the environment as the third teacher were aspects of the Reggio philosophy that were important to Oamaru's centre.
Mrs Cleverley has worked in early childhood since graduating from Otago University and Teacher's College.
"I like to teach children - everything is new and wonderful in their world," she said.
"They're doing things for the first time, they are learning in their unique ways."