News & Events

"We Have These Precious Rights and We Should Use Them"


cad collabToday it is snowing... still, after snowing all day yesterday and all through last night. We have a foot and a half of soft, white, peaceful snow.  This morning as I was catching up on things at my desk I read an article in our local paper from last week, The Addison Independent..."Trump order strands Weybridge family in Iran."  Middlebury College Professor Ata Anzali, his wife, Fahimeh and daughters, Esra and Narges have been in Iran for a sabbatical year.  Both Ata and Fahimeh were engaged in research and their children were in school. They had rented a house and purchased a car. They were spending time with grandparents and cousins.  Fahimeh was caring for her father who had a stroke a couple of months ago.  With Trump's travel ban, they were thrown into panic about returning to the U.S.  In the end, with help from Vermont Senator Leahy's office and also Middlebury College they were able to return.  But they abruptly left behind their research plans, their friends and family.

Professor Anzali said,

"My case was probably among the easiest ones. There are refugees who have been waiting for 20 years to get the clearance to come into the United States from refugee camps, and then in one night their life is upside down," he said.

This is a tough time we are living through.   One of the things that Ashley and I believe is so critical to authentic and lasting learning is to hear, nurture, develop and feature children's voices in words, graphics, dance, song.  Learning to be a local and global citizen, valuing multiple perspectives, contributing to a healthy, hopeful future...these are among the central themes of our work with teachers and schools.   I would like to quote Narges, one of Professor Anzali's daughters, because she speaks so clearly as she embodies her life and her beliefs in her voice.

Salam, Hello. I am Narges Anzali. I am eleven years old. I am living for a year in Iran. Me and my family were hoping that this new law would not apply to green card holders. I was shocked when I first heard of this law.  I have lived in the United States for nine years. Does that make me different from the people who are around me and are citizens? I consider myself just as American.  Does it make a difference that I am Muslim? Is that wrong? I have lived and talked and laughed with people who have supported this law. I can not believe that they would do this to me.

So I ask you to reach out. Reach out to the people and tell them our stories. The problems are appearing in our lifetime and it is our responsibility to solve them. Isn't the first amendment of the Constitution the right to free speech, free press and free religion? We should start to pay attention to these things and make sure that we use them to their full potential. We have these precious rights and we should use them.

I do not believe that what religion you are, or how many years you have lived in America, whether you have a green card or a visa make you any more or less American.

So I ask you do DO something about it, to help these people who have done no wrong to come home. It is not the time to stand on the sidelines and watch other people do our work for us. And I hope with all my heart that the people who are stuck with nowhere to go will soon find their way home.

cad collab



Environments and Materials in Reggio Inspired Practice

This spring, Louise will teach a class for Lesley University, Environments and Materials in Reggio Inspired Teaching and Learning.  The course will meet for two intensive weekends, March 3-4, and April 1-2.  I taught this course with Yvonne Liu- Constant in 2015 and look forward so much to meeting with participants to focus on these inspiring ideas and practices once again.  Our time together will be lively, practical, uplifting, and grounding.  There are still some spots left.  You can take this class for credit or for professional development requirements or just because you are interested.

Contact Yvonne Lui Constant at for information and to register.

Here is the course description:

This course provides an opportunity to explore a variety of materials that form the symbolic languages that children use to express ideas and to consider how these materials can support young children’s learning. The course also focuses on creating environments that promote children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. A progressive approach to education informs these discussions. In particular, innovations from the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy are considered.

Inquiry proceeds on two levels. First we will focus on the practical aspects of teaching involved while working with compelling materials and designing engaging environments. The materials we will use in this course include graphic materials and drawing, natural materials, building and construction materials and photography. How documentation, provocations, and an attention to individual and group learning support the use of materials is considered. Planning and designing young children’s learning environments both inside and outside will be a focus.  

Here's a New Take on Documentation...


cadcollabWe have been working with Buffalo Public School 33 for three years.  For the second year in a row the Albright Knox Art Gallery has asked the school to install an exhibition of student work.  This year's exhibition is titled Art Makes You Think ingenious observation by one of 33's youngest students.  The exhibition features the connections between art and other subjects;  demonstrates the implementation of inquiry based inter-disciplinary projects; and shows the influence of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Last year we created over 30 panels that were installed directly on the bulletin boards of an Albright gallery.  They were well done and well received.  However, when the exhibition was over, it all had to come down...and to reinstall in the school proved to be a burden...mostly because of the lack of bulletin boards in the school hallways.

This year we invented a new technique.  We measured all 28 of the bulletin boards at the Albright and cut boards exactly to size from triplex cardboard sheets (about 3/4" thick and very sturdy).  These boards served as our "canvas" for each project story.  They will be installed directly over the existing Albright boards.

Having this defined and moveable canvas made the composition of the boards easier.  And, we went a step further by creating a sort of template for each board: a poster with a brief narrative of the project with pictures dividing the narrative in English and Spanish; examples of student work with subtitles; and a brief synopsis of New York State Standards developed during the project.

The exciting part of this process however, is that all 28 pieces will be reinstalled directly in the school hallways...where they belong.  In fact, as we composed the panels on the large cardboard sheets, we installed them in the halls, much to the delight of all the it should be!

BRAVI School 33 students and teachers!


Learning Together in a Special Place



Learning Together in a Special Place: Perspectives on Leadership

June 11 - 16, 2016

Learning and Leading for the Future

Ashley and I, along with Lori Ryan, faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver, have been invited to co-facilitate the first of three June 2016 sessions arranged by Angela Ferrario in Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy. As I wrote in an earlier blog, the setting is particularly unique and beautiful.

We have begun preparing for the session and are excited about Learning and Leading for the Future as the fertile ground for the shared thinking of a small group of early childhood and elementary educators about the current challenges and opportunities within our 21st century schools. As more and more is required of teachers, children, and families today, we find ourselves flipping the challenge on it’s head to ask ourselves…

What inspires all members of a learning community to embrace their passions, co-create a vibrant learning community and in doing so, contribute to a healthy, hopeful future for our children and our world?

How do teacher leaders, administrators and all members of a school community invite and sustain such contexts and cultures?

These positively oriented questions, can-do attitudes, and appreciative leading approaches will guide the experiences, conversations, and reflections of Learning and Leading for the Future.

As an interactive community of learners, participants will approach leading and learning for the future from a self-reflective, appreciative and curious stance.

Register here for an opportunity to…

  • Look back at the field's historical roots and re-capture your own unique personal and professional stories ILLUMINATING THE BRIGHT SPOTS when things felt like they were working well and everyone was learning
  • Leave with a new vision, new possibilities and plan for LEADING ONE’S OWN LEARNING COMMUNITY with the future in mind

As facilitators, the three of us look forward to revisiting the origins of our work together that began many years ago as we studied and grew the three schools of the St. Louis Reggio Collaborative that now continue to thrive.

We look forward to a session that promises to be a blend of reflection, inspiration, and application as well as a lot of fun.  There are a few spots left and time to register.  Please join us in Italy!


A Beautiful Opportunity


cadcollab A few months ago, we wrote about a learning opportunity coming up in about six months that we are so excited about.  This week together in June will be a wonderful chance to enjoy Italian culture, cuisine and wine, (yum), and the people of a small town that is designated a "best small town in Italy" in a lovely region as well as to enjoy and learn with a small group of colleagues.  We are so looking forward to this chance to build hopeful and renewed energy to work in education as a positive force.  We are thrilled to work with our colleagues Angela Ferrario and Lori Ryan.

Contact us if you have questions and want to chat about what we are planning. The groups will be small and space is limited.  Sign yourself up here as a treat to look forward to.   But, don't miss it!  See you in Italy.

group photo italy may 2015