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

Click photo for
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!

Warmly,


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

Toddlers

Class of 3s

Junior Kindergarten

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!

Culture

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.

Parenting

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.

Fundraising

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.

Events

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

Testimonials

Meet the Faculty

We are engaged in studying, understanding and analyzing.

Faculty

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.

Administrative and Admissions Director

Kathery Almanza was born in Barranquilla-Colombia. She is married and has a son that is two years old. During her early years in school, education has always called out to her, which is why she decided to study Early Childhood education. Since then she has been working in Early Childhood for the past 20 years. During her professional career, she encountered the Reggio Emilia Approach which generated more passion, love, and respect for young children and their process of learning. For this reason is why she has joined L’Atelier where she can be part of the curiosity and creativity for children. She is looking forward to creating a memorable and enjoyable school year with the community.

Toddler-PreK 3 Class

Kimberly Johana Granados Alejo was born in the city of Bogotá Colombia. She is married and the mother of a beautiful son named Julián. Kimberly graduated as a technologist in physical education, cultural recreation and sports and also finished her studies as a technologist in environmental control. She has worked in the health area, with the teachers of the teaching profession and worked in schools with children where she began to guide her new course in this area since children have always been an important part of her life. She started working at L’Atelier one year ago where she has grown professionally and has learned more about the children's processes every day, since they are the future. Being part of this community has helped her develop her understanding of children’s developmental and social skills.

Toddler-PreK 3 Class

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 Toddlers, 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. In May 2023, she participated in a conference in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

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

Young Toddlers – Toddlers Class

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.

Toddler-PreK 3 Class

Nancy Sparrow was born in Lima, Peru where her parents and brothers all live. As a child she had the opportunity to spend much time playing sports and have a strong passion for gymnastics, swimming, and athletics. She has always had a connection with children and sports.

She first worked at Centro the Educacion Inicial of Ministerio de Pesqueria (Lima, Peru) and also worked at Diamond Elementary School in Fort Stewart, Georgia as a teacher assistant in the E. S. O. L. program. She is a swimming instructor certified by the Red Cross. For a few years she dedicated herself to the care of her daughter Susan until they moved to Miami.

For the last 9 years she has had the pleasure to work at L’Atelier School. For the most part she has taught in the class of the 2s. Each year is a different learning experience of knowledge and anecdotes that fulfill her as an educator and as a person.

Young Toddlers – Toddlers Class

Isabel Coles-Elie was born in Port-au- Prince, Haiti. At age 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 had the opportunity to work with different age groups, acquiring knowledge that she applied in teaching and mentoring. Every new year and experience have brought 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 participated in two important study groups in Reggio Emilia, Italy. She has also consulted in Miami.

All 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. The values of collaboration, communication, and relationships are at the base of my experiences in the classroom, and they continue to show me that learning is not separated from life but that they come together in a harmonious way, keeping them together is vital when building the learning process.”

PreK 3-4 Class

Ana Paula Santos de Oliveira is a Brazilian bilingual educator. She is a childhood enthusiast and a lifelong learner. Currently, she is pursuing a Master's degree in Education at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, in the teacher training program. Additionally, she holds expertise in bilingual education from the Instituto Singularidades in São Paulo.

Graduated in Languages and in Pedagogy she is always researching about education that is her passion.

Presently, Ana Paula is at L'Atelier to learn with and from the multiculturalism present in Miami. As an educator, she wants to share her active listening to comprehend how creativity can be practiced.

PreK 3-4 Class

Eva Zuccotti was born in Argentina and started to work with L’Atelier last year. She has a background in Cosmetology, and Hospitality Management. Her love for dance, cooking, painting, and design is what led her at a young age to be a dance teacher. Her creativity and love for children brought her to L’Atelier where she continues to grow and learn. Her experience began in the Young Toddlers and Toddlers class where she developed relationships and knowledge along with families and the team. She is strongly connected to the young age of children and continues to develop as she invests in professional development.

PreK 3-4 Class

Madeleine Prosperi was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

One of her favorite trips of life, was to live in Paris and learn French as a third language. Not only did she fall in love with the language but with the city as well, it taught her different perspectives, culture, love, and amazement.

She has had opportunities to enjoy diversity in different environments where children could express themselves and at the same time develop their own skills, learn from them, and apply them daily, among them respect and values, which are pillars of life. She loves children and being surrounded by them makes her day., She believes it’s very important to teach children to be themselves, express how they feel, and at the same time learn, from every little thing that makes their brain, heart, body and soul grow, and develop accordingly.

As part of her hobbies, she enjoys ballroom dancing, singing, photography, and sometimes cooking surrounded by her family. But what she enjoys the most is a sunset and the beach, which helps her find serenity and inner peace.

Young Toddlers - Toddlers Class

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.

Bodyness Atelierista

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

A Musician and vocalist that believes in searching the power of inner voice

Music Atelierista

Textile artist in love with natural elements

Textile Atelierista

After-school Projects

Administrative and Financial Coordinator

School Keeper

Our History

Click on the thumbnails to see a slideshow of the year

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    1995

    Dream

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

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    1997

    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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    1998

    Inspiration

    First Winter Institute in Reggio Emilia

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    1999

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

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    2000

    Collaboration

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

    First Expansion of L’Atelier

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    2001

    Exchange

    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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    2002

    Effort

    Second expansion of L’Atelier School

    CONNECTING NORTH AMERICA

    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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    2003

    NIDO Class opens at L’Atelier

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    2004

    Investment

    Crossing Boundaries International Conference in Reggio Emilia

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    2005

    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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    2006

    Strenghthening Relationships

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

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    2007

    Strenghthening Relationships

    Second Spring Reggio Emilia Conference with Amelia Gambetti NAREA seminar

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    2008

    ENCHANTMENT DETERMINATION AND COMMITMENT

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

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    2009

    ENCHANTMENT DETERMINATION AND COMMITMENT

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

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    2010

    Citizenship

    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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    2011

    THE VALUE OF THE COMMON GOOD

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

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    2012

    THE VALUE OF THE COMMON GOOD

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

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    2013

    IDENTITY AND THE CITY

    Birth of the Project EmpathiCity

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    2014

    INVESTMENT IN THE COMMUNITY

    Collaboration with Centro Cultural Baby Gym , Barranquilla Colombia

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    2015

    20 Yr. Anniversary

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

    Elementary Art project is born

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    2016

    reflection

    Chairs Elementary Art Project

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    2017

    CONTINUE TO DREAM

    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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    2018

    SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

    Marrion ART Elementary Art Project

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