What is meant by ‘aesthetic dimension’? In the words of Vea Vecchi, one of the first atelieristas of the schools in Reggio Emilia, she writes that first and foremost, ‘it is a process of empathy relating the Self to things and things to each other…it is an aspiration to quality that makes us choose one word over another, a color or shade, a certain piece of music, a mathematical formula or the taste of food…It is an attitude of care and attention for the things we do, a desire for meaning; it is curiosity and wonder; it is the opposite of indifference and carelessness, of conformity, of absence of participation and feeling…’ (Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia, 2010: 5)
I like to join the Reggio educators on this view how aesthetic dimensions deserves deep thought and reflection where the pursuit of beauty and loveliness is an activator of learning and knowledge, and important in life. This view also helps us to reflect and consider the metaphor of ‘languages’ as indeed made up of rationality, imagination, emotion and aesthetics. Each day as we live the spaces and moments together with the children at the ELC, the children help me feel the presence and awareness of this aesthetic dimension. The story of ‘the nest’ in E1 demonstrates the curiosity and wonder of the children, with an attitude of care and attention to the hope for the return of the mother bird and her baby birds. The E2 story of inclusivity through the choice of songs illuminates the importance of participation and feeling, with a great sense of care for the things we do. In the Atelier, the children’s aspiration to quality, choosing materials with care and not ‘just anything’, exemplifies the aesthetic sense within the children. In all of the stories, we are reminded of the empathy, and which should not be forgotten, that is present between each child to things and above all, to each other, where the path of learning and understanding is ever engaging and enchanting.