History

Prior to the incorporation of Inspired Practices in Early Education as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1999, a founding group of local educators began meeting informally in 1991 to build understanding of the Reggio Emilia approach and to share professional perspectives with one another. At that time, the Reggio Emilia approach was new to the United States. Early activities of this group included Reggio Emilia study discussions, outreach for interested educators through staff meeting visitations, and presentations at state and local conferences. As years progressed, the group developed actions that gave more opportunities to a wider audience of interested educators. A decision was made to legally incorporate when the group’s request to host The Hundred Languages of Children exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia was approved by Reggio Children in 1999. Hosting The Hundred Languages of Children traveling exhibit was a main turning point for the group. As hosts, the group grew in organizational competence as well as in professional competence, which positively situated Inspired Practices to launch its work with schools in the region when the exhibit departed Atlanta.

Since 1999, Inspired Practices has developed a variety of initiatives, the main one being Project Infinity, first known as the School Development Project. Other initiatives include Works-in-Progress Seminars, Educator Exchanges, the organization of small, local groups of educators to Reggio Emilia, and the organization of Project delegations to Reggio Emilia. Through these initiatives, Project Infinity aspires to positively influence the quality of schools for young children in the region.

In addition to serving as a hub for regional interest in the philosophies and experiences of Reggio Emilia, Inspired Practices also houses The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA). NAREA is a network of educators, parents, and advocates seeking to elevate both the quality of life and the quality of schools and centers for young children. The mission of NAREA is to build a diverse community of advocates and educators to promote and defend the rights of children, families, and educators of all cultures through a collaboration of colleagues inspired by the philosophies and experiences of the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Founded in 2002 with 300 members, NAREA has a current membership of 1,300.