International Summer Learning Experiences - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

International Summer Learning Experiences

Posted on June 17, 2017

by Dr. Edna Hussey on June 17, 2017

It's Summer 2017, and the preschool/elementary summer session is in full swing with a learning community of over 300 students, 35 faculty, and 60 staff (including student teacher assistants). Make sure to check the teachers' blogs for a look into the first week, from preschool Fun n' Sun and Jump Start Kindergarten to Lights! Camera! Action! and Cook It Book It, to name a few of our creative summer offerings. Despite the rainy weather, it's sunshine and blue skies in the classrooms.

Buongiorno from Italy where I've been in "summer learning" in Florence this past week and next week, on to Reggio Emilia for the fourth international summer school -- "the Places of Education and Learning, 0-11 Curriculum." I meet with nearly 120 new colleagues from 33 countries on June 18 in Reggio Emilia where together we'll learn more about the Reggio approach to teaching and learning in early learning and elementary environments. I'll write more about my learning in next week's blog, but for now will share just a few highlights of my learning in Firenze (Florence). I couldnʻt help but take this photo of elementary-aged children on a school field trip to the Uffizi Palace --they reminded me so much of our students.


Although most tourists take their photos in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it wasn't until I walked around the piazza where the phenomenon was more apparent, the tower juxtaposed to the church. I was also more taken by the scores of tourists who tried to create photo tricks with their digital cameras so that it would appear that a person was attempting to push the tower upright. See the next photo.


Superhuman feat!


I was fascinated by the restoration process on Leonardo Da Vinci's last painting (15th century) of the Magi and Christ Child. Florence is the center of restoration art, and it took two years of painstaking work by experts, which entailed high-quality technology to uncover not only the images beneath years and years of varnish, but also Da Vinci's fingerprints! I learned that Renaissance paintings were done on wood, not canvas, and that the artists created their own paints from natural materials, e.g., crushed stone into powder, plant and animal dye. Below is the final restored masterpiece.



The first art gallery in the world, the brainchild of the Medici family, a political, financial powerhouse of the Renaissance. Gathering the world's treasures demonstrated the Medici family's reach and depth of their extraordinary prowess.


In Santa Croce, a 15th century neo-Gothic cathedral, houses several world-renown individuals whose works and actions changed world history. The monument here is of Galileo Galielei, but you can also find Rossini and Machiavelli.


When you see Michelangelo's David, you feel you have truly arrived in Florence.

The faculty and children look forward to the second week of summer session, as I do about summer school in Reggio Emilia. Again, please be sure to read the teachers' blogs about your children's learning experienecs this past week. Ciao!

E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!r!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.