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Edi Puka – photo by Paolo Martino

Edi Puka is the head of a kindergarten in Kosovo, for some years involved in the Pedakos project focusing on early childhood, and which has its roots in the Reggio Emilia area. An interview

Since the second post-war period, the Reggio Emilia area has developed relevant skills in pre-school education, which has led to the definition of the so-called Reggio Emilia approach, known worldwide. At the heart of this pedagogical philosophy are the studios, places like, quoted from the website of Loris Malaguzzi International Center, which is the guardian of this special education system, “are environments that promote knowledge and creativity, suggest questions and give rise to suggestions. It is beauty, that produces knowledge and vice versa.This is the place where they trade the hundred languages . From the infant centers and municipal schools in Reggio Emilia, where they were born and where they remain an integral part of the overall education project, the Ateliers have been expanded to include adult life ”.

It is precisely from the latter’s stories that we explore the world of early childhood in Kosovo with an interview with Edi Puka, head of the Pristina Kindergarten School “SOS Educational Social Center”, who recently participated with many colleagues in a visiting studio on the right. in the Reggio area.

Which of the studios you attended this week in Reggio Emilia struck you the most?

The studio dedicated to the lights and shadows that we followed in the Loris Malaguzzi International Center .

Thanks to the Pedakos project, you have also started doing workshops in your kindergarten in Kosovo …

We have created a so-called “Atelier Natura”, a wooden structure in the yard of our school, where we can develop specific educational experiences. It affected everyone, both parents and the community at large. Many were curious to see what we were doing.

It was a great way to start introducing to everyone the path we started on the Reggio Emilia approach.

During a workshop at the Reggio Children Foundation - photo by Davide Sighele

During a workshop at the Reggio Children Foundation – photo by Davide Sighele

What activities take place in this room?

For example, the latest was to focus on the growth cycle of plants, for example by sowing some varieties of flowers. These are activities that we did before, but in a less structured way and not with the awareness attached to the Reggio Emilia approach. We have given the children’s ideas centrally, the educators have documented all phases of the activity. And on the way to the children, everything had a more intense effect than before.

In these days with you in Reggio Emilia, I have seen that a lot of space has been given for documentation …

The documentation phase is very important because the entire path that each child takes is recorded. It means for us a change of mentality. As I said before, we have often carried out various projects, but we have never documented them, as we have not documented the activity of the single child.

Very often in school we, educators, experienced that we asked questions and got answers from the children. With the Reggio Emilia approach, it is actually the child, with his desires and questions, who starts the whole process and everything flows from there. This is an approach that allows children to build skills through activities they do on their own.

In the beginning, we understood through documentation that we were going to take a picture, and with that picture, we thought we would be able to tell everything. We now understand that the documentation must be able to document the entire process. For example, the questions that teachers ask and the ways to ask them should also be documented.

Did you feel your professional skills improved during these days of your visit to Reggio Emilia?

Yes, every moment was interactive and our abilities were recognized.

In these years there has been a lot of talk about the environment, has a studio like the one about nature managed to influence educators ‘and parents’ views on this issue?

I wanted to start from the beginning. One of the strengths of the Reggio Emilia approach is the schools’ collaboration with the local community and in particular with parents. We still have a lot to do with this. This does not mean that there is no cooperation, but it is necessary to ensure that parents are part of the school and cooperate. For us here in Reggio, the meeting with a parent who told us how they are involved in the activities and collaborate in their creation was a great inspiration. It takes a lot of effort to go in this direction, but it is more necessary than ever. It took many years to get here in Reggio Emilia, now we are so lucky to have an example ahead of us and the road is smooth, we just have to be open to change.

These are years of great change in Kosovo, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the early childhood sector in Kosovo?

If I say I’m pessimistic, those close to me will say it’s not the Edi they know: I’m obviously optimistic. I think a lot has been done in Kosovo, especially in terms of participation. When there is good communication between staff, management, municipality, parents and the ministry, I believe that good results can be achieved. Some important steps have been taken, and we must continue in that direction.

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