The board and staff of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance welcomes you to Atlanta, and our 15th summer conference, Defending Spaces for Creative Freedom: Spaces of Joy, Trust, and Solidarity. Since 2008, Reggio Children and NAREA have collaborated to offer professional development experiences in 24 communities throughout North America, bringing together more than 200,000 dedicated educators, advocates, and community members.
Atlanta, like many networks within North America, benefits from the volunteerism and dedication of those who envision an optimistic future for children and adults and work to bring it about, and from the constant collegiality and perseverance of many representatives of Reggio Emilia, Italy, who keep a dialogue going with us. In 2000, Atlanta hosted the debut of the first digitized version of The Hundred Languages of Children exhibit during the annual conference of NAEYC. The following year our conference host, Project Infinity, began bringing together schools of childhood into collaboration and shared learning. Today, Project Infinity includes Grant Park Cooperative Preschool Grant Park campus, Grant Park Cooperative Preschool Cabbagetown Campus, Saint Anne’s Day School, First Baptist Day School, Peachtree Presbyterian Preschool, and The Nest Nursery School, and endeavors to connect a growing number of Reggio-inspired schools in the wider community with the hope that all area educators and families feel a bond and conviction that the capacity to think in dialogue with one another will create new avenues for advancing good in education and life.
So, it is with great pleasure and gratitude that we welcome Claudia Giudici and Marina Mori, as well as interpreter, Jane McCall, from Reggio Emilia, Italy. It is through their sharing and exchange that we will continue to build strong interpretations of the values, philosophies, and experiences of Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centers and schools of childhood. We also thank Project Infinity for their strong organizational support of the exhibit and conference. We wish to highlight our belief in and commitment to the value of embracing a shared vision for education, which cultivates the potential of all children and adults. Recognizing the ever-increasing number of schools for young children inspired by Reggio Emilia’s approach to life and education, we honor and encourage each school and every group of colleagues to invest in an ongoing effort that includes permanent study, research, collaboration, innovation, transparency, disequilibrium, and exchange.
Through our professional development projects, we encounter a host of schools at varying points of their own journey, willing to open their doors, expose their work, and welcome the participation of visitors. This style of development has been introduced to all of us by the only “Reggio schools” of Reggio Emilia, Italy. To be continually encouraged to find our own unique identities as schools in different communities, worthy in our own identity, is to see how much the message of Reggio Emilia is based on attitudes of research and innovation, rather than prescriptive dogma.
Volume 26, Number 2 | June 2019
Together, we are empowering exceptional education.