Learning Theory

Children’s knowledge deserves to be listened to and made visible.

Our Inspiration, Our Commitment, Our Responsibility.

L’Atelier Preschool was conceived in Miami in 1995, from the belief that children are born with an innate creative potential and curiosity to learn. They are eager to understand the world and construct their own theories about how it functions. The educators in Reggio Emilia inspired us to envision a new concept of school. Their strong Image of the Child and their innovative approach to education- renown in the world as the best early childhood approach- proposes to rethink the meaning of the word to educate. It derives from the Latin word "ex-ducere" which offers the concept that knowledge deserves to be brought out instead of filled in.

L’Atelier Preschool develops its unique identity becoming an Atelier with a School inside. For the past 23 years, the faculty of the school has been researching the meaning and relationship between teaching and learning. A strong and continuous investment in professional development focuses on studying connections between contextual curriculum and creative learning. The pedagogy of listening brings the fundamental values that sustain our work. It becomes the on going attitude that takes us to analyze how the construction of knowledge takes place in reference to the different learning styles, the diverse languages of expression, the intelligent environments and the projections and analysis of children’s and adult’s work. Assessment derives from our research and fosters evolution and innovation of our school.

Learning takes place when ideas, concepts and theories are shared in a social context. It is through human relations that all intelligences sprout. The awareness of these diverse styles gives birth to a common conscious creative learning.

At L’Atelier Preschool, creativity is seen as an innate intelligence, which connects all the diverse ways of thinking of human beings. Therefore, it enables them to achieve their inherent right of potential, happiness, and success.

Get to Know Us

Creating a Community of Learners
The School is formed by Children, Teachers and Parents

Meet the School

Welcome by Simonetta Cittadini

Founder and Executive Director of
L'Atelier Preschool and
Center for the Culture of Creativity

Click photo for
Simonetta's Bio

Welcome! Bienvenidos! Benvenuti! Bienvenu! Bem Vindos!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to L'Atelier Preschool in Miami and to the Center for the Culture of Creativity, known as CCC.

As you glance through the images and writings of our experience, we invite you to feel the essence of L’Atelier and the CCC through this media.

We believe it is important to create a new and innovative style of learning and teaching. We made the strong choice to fight for the rights of children and to develop a school where their time is invested in contextual social learning with creativity at the center. A preschool whose mission is deeply connected to its purpose of citizenship, well being, creative learning and children’s rights. The partnership between the School, the Community, and the CCC invites for a renewed vision of education, a new way of doing school. More and more in today’s world, we believe in the importance of investing in the power of creative learning as an essential element that unlocks potential, sensibility and sensitivity to one self, humanity and the world.

It is up to us!

What a pleasure to have you part of our community!


Simonetta Cittadini

Our Organization

The organization of the school is based on a strong collaboration among the community that forms the school, the children and adults. The school believes in the importance of sharing different points of view through an ongoing exchange of dialogues, resource and values that all belong to a broader concept of organization.

  • The Miami preschool welcomes 82 families from more than 30 different cultures of the world.
  • Children age ranges from 1 to 6 years old and are grouped by age in 5 classrooms from Young Toddlers class to Kindergarten.
  • The cut off date for placement is September 1st.
  • Young Toddler Class welcomes children 1 to 2 years old by September 1st. (The cut off date may vary in this class according to application.)
  • Toddlers Class welcomes children that are 3 years old by September 1st.
  • Threes Class welcomes children that are 4 years old by September 1st.
  • Junior K Class welcomes children that are 4 years old by September 1st.
  • Kindergarten Class welcomes children that are 5 years old by September 1st.
  • The faculty is composed of 12 members: Directors, Pedagogical coordinators, Teachers, Co-teachers, Atelieristas, After School coordinators, Office manager and Housekeeper.
  • Each class is staffed by 2 teachers minimum and works in collaboration with the atelieristas of the school.
  • The Miami preschool opening hours are Monday through Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm.
  • The Miami preschool runs from September through May and offers a Summer camp of six weeks in June and July. Check the annual calendar.

Young Toddlers


Class of 3s

Junior Kindergarten



Meet the Parents

PAL is the Parents Association of L'Atelier

Welcome by Heather Stenstrom
President of PAL

Click photo for
Heather's Bio

PAL Events Calendar

Dear Parents of L’Atelier

L’Atelier Preschool in Miami welcomes a community of diverse cultures encountering each other in the context of early education. We believe that this encounter offers many possibilities to collaborate.

Inclusion is a strong value at L’Atelier and as such, all parents of L’Atelier are included in the Parents Association. Parents are important and valued citizens of L’Atelier, collaborating in the education of children. The school wishes to create strong connections between children, teachers and parents in creating our community and we consider parents as strong pillars in our community.

Participation is also a strong value that we consider important to the context of our school. However, what we mean by participation is not so much how much time or money you give, but moreover, exploring the diverse and creative ways that we, as parents, stay connected, sharing our talents, communicating with the school and being part of the community. We invite you to Be Part in many different ways that suit your desire and time available to participate.

During the school year, L’Atelier offers the parents many different opportunities to engage, learn together and relate to what is happening at school. From entire school meetings to class meetings to individual meetings to ateliers, celebrations and events and coffees, there are many ways to Be at school. Participation in the meetings offered by teachers and the school is strongly encouraged as it is at those meetings that important dialogues about our children, education and our society are born. It is in those moments of connection and dialogue that we can experience the value of communication in a strong way observing the children’s work, their thinking, creating and doing. We encounter the opportunity to be inspired.

We invite all parents to consider what it means to be a parent and a parent at L’Atelier, and how you would like to become a piece of the structural pillars that sustain all of us through your interests.


Heather Stenstrom

President of PAL

About PAL

PARENTS ASSOCIATION of L’ATELIER, PAL was born in the year 2004 with the intention to strengthen the communication and participation of the parents with and at the school.

PAL is an organization for and about all of the parents of L’Atelier. This means that when you enroll your child in the school you automatically become part of our community.

PAL has a mission to offer different opportunities to children and parents to become part of a community where citizenship, inclusion, participation, learning and communication are strong values.

PAL is about you! What you like and who you are makes PAL unique. Share yourself!

Our strong wish is that all parents find a way to participate at school. There are traditional opportunities to be part of the community by participating in organizing events. However, we invite you to consider what you enjoy doing, your talents and interests and connect with the school in a new way. Inspired by what your child is doing at school, maybe you will think of a way to collaborate with the children and teachers?

The general organization of the PAL takes place at Back to School night and the week that follows.

PAL Committees

Historically, we have organized committees based on the values of Culture, Our School Environment, the Environment and our Earth, Parenting, Fundraising and Celebrations!


We believe in the importance of bringing Miami’s cultural events to the attention of our school community. As we described earlier, living in a vibrant city experiencing a cultural evolution offers us many possibilities to connect with the many cultures making up the culture of Miami. We invite parents to create awareness of these possibilities in Miami in order to organize field trips and outings or to simply create awareness and visibility at school for children, teachers and parents

Our School Environment

Through innovation and thinking, we evolve our school's environment to offer the children an environment that is high in quality and full of learning potential. We invite you to collaborate in offering new ideas and possibilities related to our school environment as well as offering your talents and interests in maintaining the environment.

Going Green

Nature and our surroundings are strong protagonists in our daily life. We support parents and children in becoming aware of our environment, the importance of recycling, gardening and taking care of the planet.


Other parents often make the best advisors when it comes to parenting topics. We believe in the value of communication and sharing information. We invite parents to collaborate in organizing moments for us to meet to learn and discuss topics related to parenting. Some suggestions include the role of media and its effect on children, the importance of good nutrition, and bringing the Reggio approach into your everyday life.


As we are continuously evolving and innovating at school, we believe in the importance of participation by our school community in raising funds to continue to offer the highest quality to our children in environment, materials, teachers and atelieristas. We invite parents to organize one or two small fundraisers in collaboration with the school.


There are many opportunities to participate in organizing Celebrations at L'Atelier, in big and small ways! We invite you to collaborate with the school and the classrooms in organizing the following Celebrations:

  • Halloween Party
  • Thanksgiving Luncheon Holiday Party
  • Valentine’s Day Celebration
  • Cultural Carnival
  • Book fair
  • Mother’s Day Luncheon
  • Faculty Appreciation

  • End of school year Celebration
  • Father’s Day
  • Graduation


Meet the Faculty

We are engaged in studying, understanding and analyzing.

Pedagogical Coordinators

Click photo for
Ana Pineda's Bio

Click photo for
Isabel's Bio

The faculty at L’Atelier Preschool in Miami is engaged in studying, understanding and analyzing what the “image of the child” means. Through the years the relationship with young children from a variety of cultures has supported and provoked us to not only learn to listen to the child but also, to perceive him and her with respect, intelligence, love, trust and confidence. The study of the image of the child is an endless learning process for adults. Our journey to education is linked to this continuous research where learning is based on dialogue, observation, interpretation and making children’s learning visible.

We purposefully welcome different talents in our team as they bring different points of view of the world and of the innate potential of human beings.


Ana Pineda

Pedagogical Coordinator of L’Atelier


Tamara Perez, born and raised in Miami, is welcomed to L’Atelier as the Director of Operations. She is excited for this new educational experience.

Tamara began her career in Early Childhood Education at Bet Breira Preschool in 2006 as an assistant teacher for 2 year olds and soon after became a lead Pre-K 3 teacher. From 2010 to 2016, while working as a teacher she was given the opportunity to work as the Camp Director. Her passion for education led her to return to college and achieve her FCCPC in December 2013, as well as her Directors Credentials, which is also when she became the Director of the Preschool. Tamara obtains an Associates in Arts in Early Childhood Education. When Bet Breira Preschool closed in June 2016, Tamara extended her knowledge and experience as a Director at Smart Starts Day School, and is now a part of our team at L’Atelier.

Director of Operations

Sandra Restrepo was born and raised in Miami. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in Advertising and Graphic Design with a minor in Marketing.

>Sandra joined L’Atelier in October 2019 as the office manager. With over 15 years of experience, she has accounting skills of the legal and auditing requirements for a transparent nonprofit management. Sandra also has a background in event planning and marketing that enables her to express herself in a fun and creative matter. Sandra has a particular ability to join bothher work and personal experiences and put them in favor of her current role at the school. In fact she contributes to the school with creativity, ethics and a sense of community. Her loyal, fun, caring and dedicated personality makes her an asset at the school.

>Being a kid at heart, she loves to come to work dressed up just to get a smile and laugh out of anyone she comes across. So don’t be surprised if you see her in costume, it’s all in good fun!

Office Manager

Carolina Calderón Medina was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She graduated in 1989 with an Associate Degree in Computer Programming. She worked in the educational field in Venezuela for ten years as an Administrative Director. Carolina joined L’Atelier in 2017 in the class of the Young Toddlers. It has been a rewarding opportunity, full of experiences and learning with children. She has participated in the professional development program offered by L’Atelier throughout the years. She has completed “Child Growth and Development” and “Special Rights Appropriate Practices” courses. As part of the faculty, Carolina invests in professional development and looks forward to continuing to understand the development of children.


Amanda Rodriguez was born in New York and was strongly influenced by her family educational background. She obtained a degree in Early Childhood Education and has been teaching since 2004 at various schools where her focus has been to understand children’s diverse styles of learning, and the various approaches to education. In 2010, she encountered L' Atelier School. A strong feeling of community invaded her and since then she has had the pleasure of teaching the classes of the 2s, 3s and Jr. Kindergarten. Amanda has participated in several professional development initiatives at L’Atelier School, as well as NAREA and Reggio Children national conferences. She participated in the IV Summer Institute in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2017. In the summer of 2019 she participated in an important professional development initiative in Brazil, in both public and private sectors.

This school year she encounters the Class of the Toddlers. Expanding together with children, parents and teachers, the knowledge of the Natural World through the developments of daily Symbolic Narratives, the beauty and functioning of Energy and Movement, and the importance of culture in the life of children that will offer all a marvelous and meaningful experience.


Nancy Sparrow was born in Lima, Peru. As a child she had the opportunity to spend much time playing sports and developed a strong passion for gymnastics, swimming and athletics. She has always had a connection with children and sports. She worked at Centro de Educacion Inicial of Ministerio de Pesqueria (Lima, Peru) and at Diamond Elementary School in Fort Stewart, Georgia as a teacher assistant in the E.S.O.L. program. Nancy is a swimming instructor certified by the Red Cross. Since 2009 Nancy has had the pleasure to work at L’Atelier School as a teacher assistant, co teacher and after school coordinator. She has specialized in the class of the 2 years old. Each year is a different learning experience of knowledge and anecdotes that fulfill her as an educator and as a person. She is also part of the early and aftercare team, which is a big privilege and commitment. As a member of the afterschool team she has developed an afterschool program year. Nancy welcomes this year as a new challenge and I plan to bring all of my experience and passion. Welcome to all!


Siya Vadgama was born in London, England, and moved to Canada at the age of 10. She now lives in Miami after having moved in 2018. She obtained an extensive educational background in Early Childhood Education in Toronto, Canada. She has had seven years of hands on experience and knowledge working as a passionate advocate for high-quality childhood education. She has planned Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum that sustains, extends and enriches children’s play and learning, and is eager to create meaningful learning experiences for them. She has a strong understanding of human development and pedagogical theory and supports inclusion and diversity by focusing on children’s positive capabilities. Siya is now a member of the Toddler class and is very excited to be a part of an incredible team, as well as having been given the opportunity to encourage children to explore through nature and their imagination - sparking creativity and fostering their independence!


Gabriela was born and raised in Venezuela, where she earned a degree in Psychology. She moved to Miami in 2015 and began working at L’Atelier in 2019 in the class of the Toddlers as a co-teacher. She obtained a certificate in Early Childhood and is a Registered Behavioral Technician. Gaby enjoys working at L’Atelier where she develops creativity, encounters innovation, and a feeling of community.


Isabel Coles-Elie was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At age of 13 she moved to Montreal, Canada where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her journey with the Reggio Emilia approach began in 2003 when she joined L’Atelier faculty. As a teacher, over the past 14 years she has had the opportunity to work with different age groups, acquiring teaching and mentoring experience and knowledge. Every new year and experience have brought her layers in her journey of understanding children’s style of constructing knowledge and learning.

She has attended many different professional development initiatives where she has had the privilege of presenting throughout the United States and Canada and participated in two important Study Groups in Reggio Emilia in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Isabel has also consulted schools in Miami.

All of these professional initiatives offered by the school together with her deep personal desire to continuously study and learn about early childhood education shaped who she is today as a person and as a teacher.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy becomes more than an approach of teaching and learning, it becomes a set of values of life that we no longer negotiate. Value of collaboration, value of communication, value of relationships are at the base of Isabel experiences in the classroom and they continue to show her that learning is not separated from life but that they come together in a harmonious way, keeping them together is vital when building learning processes.

Jr. K

Romina Alessandria was born in Argentina where she received a degree in Psychology. Later, she worked in the Service Assistance at the School of Psychology where she had the opportunity to relate and support children with learning disabilities. She completed a Masters degree in Exceptional Student Education at Nova University guided by the necessity to understand in which ways she can support diverse children in inclusive environments to accomplish their dreams. When she moved to Miami, she became part of L’Atelier where she has had the opportunity to work in the different classes from the age of ones to Jr. Kindergarten, giving her the opportunity to learn about the Reggio Emilia philosophy and pedagogy. From 2007 to present she has attended to various Reggio Emilia conferences and seminars in United States and in Reggio Emilia, Italy. In her professional journey at L’Atelier, she has combined her main interests, psychology and childhood education. It is a rewarding and challenging journey that implies a strong commitment and desire to be in a permanent dialogue with others and to learn with and from children. It is also an enriching journey, because it is a reciprocal experience where the more you learn about children, the more you learn about yourself; and the more you advocate for children’s rights and their strong image, the more you can produce a transformation in the community and in yourself.


Ana Pineda has been interested in education since a very young age. The desire to enter in the educational field led her into the public system where she found an open door to enter in relationships with families from different socio-economic backgrounds, special rights, potentials, competencies, and talents.

In 2001, Ana joined L’Atelier as a teacher of the different age groups and opened the first kindergarten class of L’Atelier. She has invested in the understanding of how to teach and learn in different ways and has been rediscovering the multiple innate intelligences of children and adults. Ana participated and presented in several professional development initiatives in Miami, South and North America and Europe. She has deeply invested in the study of the Reggio Emilia approach also by participating in the hosting of the two Reggio Emilia Exhibits in Miami.

She is a consultant to Miami schools and a tutor. This has given her a solid experience about childhood, education, different ages and their processes of learning as they create meaning of life. She is fascinated with the relationship between formal knowledge and the creative ways of thinking and learning.

In 2017, Ana became the Relationship Coordinator of L’Atelier. This new role united with her personal mission offers her the opportunity to funnel her vision about education and how to make visible the possible transformation in today’s world of education. Ana mentors the faculty and works closely with children and parents both in the school ateliers and the Center for the Culture of Creativity. Her wish is to always be inspired by children’s imaginative ways of being and to cultivate curiosity in order to continue to live a happy and meaningful life.


Leo Chiano was born in Argentina where he worked as a physical education teacher, swimming instructor, and lifeguard for five years. Sports and physical education are a fundamental part of Leo’s life. Soccer, specifically, is one of his passions and a sport that he practices every day. The world of the body, its physical education and health are essential to life. They not only provide physical development but also are a tool to build fundamental values. Some of these values include being part of a team, learning to have respect for the other, and learning the skill of compromise. Leo has been working at L’Atelier for 12 years. He brought to the school the swimming program and subsequently in 2007 he implemented the physical education program. L'Atelier entered into a deeper research of the body and its functioning. In fact, in 2010, the project “Bodyness” was born. It has been a marvelous experience to learn from the children and witness how they express their ideas and concepts through their very own and original Bodyness. Leo admires children’s development and the connections they make in creativity.

Physical Education


Our History

Click on the thumbnails to see a slideshow of the year

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    Birth of and Educational Project --Opening of L’Atelier Art Workshop for Children

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    Enthusiasm and Vision

    Opening of New Campus in South Miami. Mayor of the city of south Miami plants a tree in occasion of the opening of the school.

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    First Winter Institute in Reggio Emilia

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    First View of “The Hundred Languages of Children Exhibit” from Reggio Emilia, Italy in Wyoming.

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    Amelia Gambetti visits L’Atelier for the first time. A strong collaboration is born

    First Expansion of L’Atelier

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    AStudy Group to Reggio Emilia, connected to the World Forum on Education at Athens Greece. Simonetta Cittadini presents L’Atelier experience in Reggio Emilia

    First Reggio Emilia Summer Institute in Boulder, Colorado

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    Second expansion of L’Atelier School


    NAREA is launched at the meeting of the National Association for the education of young children in New York City.

    Simonetta Cittadini - Founding Member of NAREA

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    NIDO Class opens at L’Atelier

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    Crossing Boundaries International Conference in Reggio Emilia

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    Celebration with the Community

    Birth of Florida Reggio Collaborative

    Opening of the exhibit The Hundred Languages of Children from Reggio Emilia, Italy

    Tenth Anniversary of L’Atelier

    Pedagogy of listening

    Conference hosted by L’Atelier School at Florida International University

    “ The power of Collaboration” with Carla Rinaldi

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    Strenghthening Relationships

    L’Atelier invests in evolution. The awareness of our roots launches our school. NAREA at NAEYC

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    Strenghthening Relationships

    Second Spring Reggio Emilia Conference with Amelia Gambetti NAREA seminar

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    Fundamental principles” in collaboration with Lella Gandini Lella Gandini at L’Atelier School

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    Fundamental principles” in collaboration with Lella Gandini Lella Gandini at L’Atelier School

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    L’Atelier School has transformed through the years into an Atelier with a School inside, going back to its initial essence. Creativity and Intelligence are strongly linked to our style of working.

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    What role does our school have in front of the society?

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    What role does our school have in front of the society?

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    Birth of the Project EmpathiCity

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    Collaboration with Centro Cultural Baby Gym , Barranquilla Colombia

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    20 Yr. Anniversary

    The Florida Reggio Collaborative hosts the Exhibit “The Wonder of Learning”

    Elementary Art project is born

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    Chairs Elementary Art Project

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    L’Atelier opens the Center for the Culture of Creativity.

    Art Couture Art Project

    Summer School in Reggio Emilia

    Opening of the Center for the Culture of Creativity

    With the Collaboration of Amelia Gambetti and Jennifer Azzarriti

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    Marrion ART Elementary Art Project