Learning Theory

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

Our Inspiration, Our Commitment, Our Responsibility.

L’Atelier School 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 School develops its unique identity becoming an Atelier with a School inside. Since 1995, 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 ongoing 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 School, 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 School and
Center for the Culture of Creativity

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Simonetta's Bio

Welcome! Bienvenidos! Benvenuti! Bienvenu! Bem Vindos!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to L'Atelier School 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.

  • L'Atelier School 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.
  • L'Atelier School opening hours are Monday through Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm.
  • L'Atelier School 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

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
  • Family Day
  • Faculty Appreciation
  • End of school year Celebration
  • Father’s Day
  • Graduation


Meet the Faculty

We are engaged in studying, understanding and analyzing.


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

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 3s enthusiastically! Expanding together with children, parents and teachers the knowledge of communication and the aspect of relating with both people and materials as a form of expression to re-build and re-construct the image of community following a pandemic


María Figueroa was born in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2005 she came with her family to Miami and fell in love with the Reggio Emilia approach philosophy while working at her son’s school. She has been an early childhood educator for the past fourteen years. Prior to joining L'Atelier, Maria was the lead teacher for the 3- and 4-year-olds at La Piazza Academy. Previous to that, she was a Pre-K and J-K teacher assistant at Gulliver Academy. She was also the Art teacher for the Gulliver Primary and Elementary Art after school and summer programs. Maria is interested in growing professionally and better understanding how children construct their knowledge using their creativity, different learning styles, and languages of expressions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Universidad Central de Venezuela UCV.

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 has consulted school in Miami and tutored children in the community. The overall experience at L’Atelier for the last 20 years 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. Her wish is always to be inspired by children’s imaginative ways of being and to cultivate curiosity in order to be enthusiastic about living with others and learning with purpose for a connected universe.

Junior K - Kindergarten

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 Educación Inicial of Ministerio de Pesquería (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!

Young Toddlers

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, 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.


Lizeth Barrera was born in Bogota Colombia, since she was a child, she has liked dancing and singing, in her elementary and high school she participated in inter-school dance and choreography activities in different locations in Bogota and its surroundings. She graduated in marketing and advertising from the University Politecnico Gran Colombiano. In her free time, she practices photography and video. Lizeth is currently in the class of the 3's, Early Care and Afterschool classes. She has learned the abilities and development of each child, at different ages. “It is an honor for me to be able to link and share my knowledge in photography, I love the idea of “documenting with it. I expect to continue learning and growing professionally.”


Martina Costantino was born and raised in Varese, Italy. She moved to New York City in 2016 and just recently to Miami.

She started her professional career as a teacher in Italy, after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Education from University of Milan Bicocca.

Her first days as a teacher in Italy were in public and private schools as a preschool teacher and as a teacher assistant for children with special needs.

When she moved to the United States she worked as a Lead teacher in a Montessori School and as an Associate teacher at the Columbia University Preschool Program.

Her experiences in both Italy and the US have helped her learn how children are the main initiators of the learning process and how important it is to support them to follow their own interests in their own time and space. To create a stimulating environment where the children can learn and be curious, she thinks it is also very important to establish a good relationship with both the children and the families.

She is thrilled to join the L'atelier School community. She looks forward to meeting all of you and starting this new school. year!

Manuela Levy was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. She attended an American school, which gave her a sense of being a citizen of the world. Since an early age, she’s had a curiosity and interest in child development. She studied design at FAAP, where the wood and metal shops were her favorite places. After that she worked in several fronts of design, from magazines to beverage companies.

When she decided to follow her other passion, she moved to New York to obtain a Masters in Art Education at NYU. Which opened her eyes to the importance of the atelier on the life of children of all ages, other than just learning about materials and techniques. She has worked for more than 6 years in preschools and middle schools in New York and São Paulo.

She moved to Miami with her husband and two kids 3.5 years ago and it is eager to be part of L’Atelier family and continue learning and being part of children’s development and discoveries.

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

Alejandro Junco was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He graduated from Miami Killian Sr. High School in 2001. Alejandro studied Secondary English Education to teach in English in High School. When he was Sixteen he attained the rank of Black Belt in his Karate school. He loved teaching Karate and was given his first experience teaching young children, teenagers and adults alike. Eventually Alejandro worked all over Miami-Dade County in Schools, Daycares, Churches and Martial Art Schools. After a decade of working as a Karate teacher Alejandro was invited to be a Camp counselor in The Joy of Learning in 2012. The school then offered Alejandro a permanent position as a teacher for Pre-Kinder 3. Alejandro was then offered a position as a Physical Education Teacher in Kids Learning Center where he worked from 2016-2018. He then returned to The Joy of Learning and taught in the Pre-Kinder 3 class until 2022. Since the Joy of Learning is a Reggio Emilia inspired school the teachers were given the chance to attend an inspirational workshop at L’Atelier. Here Alejandro was enamored with the creative and innovative approach. He took this experience to heart and began to implement what he learned in his own classroom. It is his great honor and privilege to be a part of the L’Atelier staff and looks forward to grow and learn in this rich and amazing environment.

Pre-Kinder 3

Office Manager


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