Peta returns from learning tour
Peta returns from learning tour.Photo: . Pictures may be protected by copyright.
MCKENZIE THOMPSON GAWLER & District College junior school teacher Peta Tooley has returned from a week-long study tour in Italy, where she expanded her understanding of the Reggio Emilia early years learning program. The tour, which was held from April 7-12, lets educators delve deeply into the program, which values children as “strong, capable, resilient and rich with wonder and knowledge”. Miss Tooley – affectionately known as ‘Miss Peta’ by her students – said her interest in the Reggio Emilia learning tour was “to experience first-hand how they involve families and communities in the child’s education from birth”. “Over in Reggio Emilia, every shop owner, every council member, every community member takes on this approach to the child, which is beautiful to witness,” she said. “Schools are constantly working in the community doing performances and community events where the children have organised everything alongside the businesses and town members. “The philosophy of Reggio Emilia is all about the rights of the child; so, from the time the child is born, the Reggio Emilia community believes that the child has the same rights as every individual.” Miss Tooley was last year named the Early Years Teacher of the Year, and she said winning the award paved the way for her to undertake her recent Italy trip. “I would not have been able to go if I hadn’t won the generous grant through the Public Education Awards last year,” she said. “It has changed me as a person and as an educator for the rest of my life. “I am a completely different person from last year from the experiences I have just been through. “There were 86 delegates from Australia, and 460 delegates from around 46 countries of the world that went (to Italy). “It has been a very exciting time for the school and for the community. “All of this is for the kids, it is not about me, but about what I can do to improve the quality of education for every child I teach.” Following the conclusion of the study tour, Miss Peta went on a personal trip around Italy, where she became engaged, before returning home in time for the commencement of term two. “I encourage parents in schools and the wider community to nominate a teacher in the 2019 Public Education Awards, who they believe is making a difference in the lives of their students,” she said. “You may just change their life forever, too.”