Ninnanì is a low bed, following Montessori indications, with a comfortable opening on the bottom and soft edges in order to avoid falling out from the sides. But there is something more, as in all Nini’s furniture: our bed becomes a place to tell stories and, when we grow up, a bookshelf.
But why a low bed without bars?
I remember, the belly was starting to show, and with twins it was really going to explode. I was already starting to think about where to put them to sleep. So I searched for solutions, and this is how I discovered that my mother had put my brother on a mattress on the ground, otherwise he would throw himself over the edges. And then even Maria Montessori said it: with the mattress at 20 cm from the ground, even the youngest child can be autonomous in getting in and out from the bed without danger.
And so, with a little bit of fear, we decided to try.
Yes, because with the first child it is normal to be scared, scared of not knowing how to identify the dangers, or not being able to protect him or her.
But having a child is like throwing your heart beyond the obstacle and so… why not? The idea of not having barriers is beautiful, we thought. A nice message for tomorrow.
So we organized ourselves, we arranged the house for the babies to come, a few tweaks and some other precautions… A night light and the kitchen door closed!
It was a great joy for us to be able to sit next to them for goodnight stories without filters, without obstacles to overcome. It was easy to put them to sleep together: sitting on a bench, one hand for each of them, or a book to read until bedtime.
Children are free to come and go, of course, but each according to their personality. Two of my children still cried until we would go get them, while the third one just joined us crawling or slept all night long.
One morning, when I just couldn’t get up, I saw the twins reaching my bed. Vera, 10 months old, went to get her brother, to make him stop crying. I saw them like this, crawling towards me. And then I thought I had made the perfect choice for us.
“Imagination is as much a part of us as the intellect, and exploring it is a way to look inside ourselves.” This is how Gianni Rodari explained, in two precise phrases, what the imagination is for. He continued by saying that learning to use it means learning to use a brave and powerful tool, which provides original solutions to every problem. And a child’s imagination, compared with that of an adult, is even more capable of overcoming banal matters and creating new worlds and new adventures.
That’s why Rodari proposed a Grammar and then Exercises for the Imagination. His idea was to propose a Fantasy in much the same way as there is a Logic, following the intuition of the German poet Novalis whose works Rodari, then a newly-graduated young teacher, read and was profoundly impressed by. A Fantasy is a cognitive tool with which to build stories and you can practice it and freely use it every day.
The Grammar of Fantasy, that contains the theoretical foundations of Fantasy, was dedicated to the city of Reggio Emilia, where the writer met the children, educators and citizens in 1972, and inspired Loris Malaguzzi when he defined his educational method known throughout the world as the “Reggio approach”. However, in the schools of Reggio Emilia for some time there has been a studio in which children are encouraged to express themselves through the “hundred languages”, that is, the hundred points of access to reality that arise from the modes of expression: the physical, emotional and logical . And where they build stories experimenting freely and letting their imagination run wild. Malaguzzi explained that, in that way, the children build their own intelligence, with their own hands and their own emotions along with their brains.
And what about adults? Adults are invited to make this possible by building suitable and stimulating environments, and becoming invisible while the children explore by themselves.
Imagination training therefore does not mean imposing one’s own knowledge, nor guiding the child’s expressiveness. Imagination helps develop language, reasoning, character. Do not be afraid of losing touch with reality: in fact reality is best faced with imagination. Especially since our senses, starting from our sight, do not see an aseptic and rigid reality but interpret it and adapt it: the imagination is a powerful creative act that overlaps within the senses and uses symbols to invent and add depth. And here’s the third key character in this story: Bruno Munari, brilliant artist and designer, often alongside Rodari in the creation of narrative and educational paths. It is Munari, in fact, who illustrated many of the Rodari tales, but they are not just illustrations or graphic captions: they are creative inventions in themselves. Free, he wrote, is the imagination that can “think of anything, even the most absurd, incredible or impossible.”
From Munari’s insights were born creations and games that you can do at home, using a few simple concrete objects but a lot of indispensable freedom.
Bibliography: The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation, Loris Malaguzzi – Drawing a tree, Bruno Munari – Teach the grammar of fantasy, Gianni Rodari
How to book a piece of furniture from Nini? Nini is online, but to buy the furniture you will have to wait a little longer.
The furniture has been created and tested, but in order to start the production we are going to need your help. This is why we decided to go for crowdfunding: to rely on the support of a community that shares with us the passion for this idea and is interested in supporting it, funding it by buying one or more pieces from the first production.
Pre selling will launch in April. Until then we will share with you our projects and our ideas, so you can fall in love with Nini, just as we did.
Any suggestions are more than welcome!