Fundraising events to help send teachers to Italy

4/10/2008 | By: Natalie Savidge  |

The University's Child and Family Research Center is hosting two fun-filled events during the next three weeks to help its teachers learn more about innovative Italian instructional techniques.

Proceeds from an April 12 Scrapaholics Anonymous event and a no-limit Texas hold ‘em poker tournament on May 3 will help send 30 of the center’s teachers to the world-renowned municipal preschools at the infant/toddler centers of Reggio Emilia, Italy, later this year. Annually, thousands of professionals worldwide visit Reggio Emilia to learn about its programs and an approach to teaching infant and preschool-aged children developed in the northern Italy city. The center has been using the Reggio Emilia Approach for more than 10 years.

“This is a great opportunity for our teachers to continue to learn and work together in order to enhance their understanding of children,“ said Jennifer Thornton, the Child and Family Research Center’s family services specialist.

Classes in the University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies also help students learn about the philosophy.

The Reggio Emilia Approach is distinguished by involving very young children in extended, in-depth research and investigation of the world around them. It emphasizes the documentation of the learning process occurring in children, believing them to be intelligent and capable of being challenged. It involves every concept of the children’s environment, the children’s theories about the world, and a routine enhancing their education and their experiences. Most parents send their children to a Reggio Emilia program incorporate many of the principles within their parenting and home life.

“We are continually interacting and responding to them, which creates trusting relationships,” Thornton said of the center’s group of parents and children. “Teaching them to respect things builds a sense of community.”

The approach evolved in post-World War II Italy. Reggio Emilia preschools were meant to raise young children to be democratic citizens, and people who would be able to fight back against possible fascist regimes. Today, Reggio Emilia has established 46 municipal infant/toddler and preschool centers.

Scrapaholics Anonymous is a 12-hour scrapbooking extravaganza held from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at the Joe Crowley Student Union, Ballroom C. Participants pay $35 and will enjoy snacks, raffle prizes on the half hour and goodie bags. They will also have the chance to purchase scrapbook supplies from many product vendors.

To sign up or to request more information for this limited-capacity event, please contact Diana Clarke at (775) 784-8258 or

The no-limit, Texas hold ’em poker tournament will be held next month at the St. Albert the Great School gym, located at 1250 Wyoming Dr. in Reno. The event opens with a taco bar dinner at 5 p.m. and game play begins at 6 p.m.

Call Calena Greenspan at (775) 682-7641 or email to register or for more information such as buy-in amounts and table costs.

The Child and Family Research Center is part of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. The center is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.


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