Online professional learning opportunity, registering for Fall 2020!

Course Overview 

Throughout this course we will encounter the philosophy, foundational ideas and practices from the infant toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. While exploring the deeply-rooted yet innovative Reggio Emilia Approach, in each module we will make connections to the Reggio-inspired work at Boulder Journey School, a school for young children and teacher education program in partnership with the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver.Child Looks into music room

Course Objectives

  1. Explore the values and core concepts of the Reggio Emilia Approach 
  2. Explore interpretations of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education at Boulder Journey School 
  3. Examine your own practices as inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and the work at Boulder Journey School
  4. Co-construct and deepen your understanding of the possibilities of Reggio-inspired practices 
  5. Experiment and innovate new practices in your context

Course Organization

There are 3 modules of learning in the Colorado Interpretation of the Reggio Approach. The course-for-credit offering includes all 3 modules together, and the Professional Development offering is the option to take each/all modules as non-credit, stand-alone experiences. Each module is organized by readings/multimedia resources, invitations and submissions of individual and group work. All modules require that you observe and document within your context or another context that includes children’s learning. The modules are geared towards educators and leaders working in schools. With instructor support, assignments can be altered for those not working in schools.

The full course spans 16 weeks. The professional development modules require sustained attention and work for 7 weeks for each module. You can expect a rigorous and rewarding learning experience for the time and energy you will put it. There are periodic due dates for submitted assignments throughout the course and the PD offering. Students will schedule their own time for coursework and Zoom meetings. This will allow for students to organize the course around work and other life commitments. The PD offering is ungraded and students who complete all elements will receive a certificate of completion.

If you take the 2 modules as PD offerings and decide later you would like credit, you can do so by registering and taking module 3! All elements of modules 1 and 2 must be complete prior to registering for module 3 and the conversion to credit.

For more information, please contact Sara Van Dyke.

To summarize my thoughts on this course feels emotional. I had been teaching for five years and was considered a great teacher at my very mediocre school. I felt burnt out and lost my love of teaching, and this course changed everything in four months. It reignited a passion for children, advocacy, teaching, and learning and opened my eyes to a tremendous amount of teaching that I didn’t realize existed." - Fall 2019 Course Participant

Course Options and Cost


Register now for an interactive online course that examines the philosophical approach of the schools for young children in Reggio Emilia, Italy and how that philosophy is translated into an American context at Boulder Journey School.

Option 1: Three Undergraduate or Graduate Credits*


Option 1 is the most complete experience and offers three modules as a course offered for 3 credits that can be taken at an advanced undergraduate or graduate level. The course for credit option includes the fullest list of readings and media resources, the most instructor mediation from an instructor with extensive experience in the Reggio Emilia Approach, and the most shared learning and examination of submitted work. The online format offers a degree of self-pacing in doing submitted work complemented by significant opportunities to socially construct understanding(s) in synchronous and asynchronous small group interactions over the course of each week. These group and individual learning experiences/assignments are submitted for instructor and peer feedback. The work can be self-paced within the week and can be organized around other personal and professional commitments. Zoom sessions for Q and A will be scheduled and recorded.

*This course, when taken for credit, articulates into two master’s programs in partnership with Boulder Journey School: (1) Innovative Early Childhood Education MA, Boulder Journey School Partnership as an online program or (2) Learning Developmental and Family Sciences MA, Boulder Journey School Teacher Education partnership, which is available at Boulder Journey School as a residency program.


Option 2: Professional Development


Option 2 is the non-credit, ungraded. professional learning experiences in modules 1, 2 and/or 3 that are rigorous and taught over 7 weeks. The readings, media resources and assignments of modules 1 and 2 are offered with instructor feedback and mediation from an instructor with extensive experience with the Reggio approach. Zoom sessions for Q and A will be scheduled and recorded. Module 3 involves an examination of project work in Reggio Emilia and at Boulder Journey School and invites students to design and plan for contextualized curriculum in his/her own setting for instructor and peer feedback. Certificates of completion are given to all students who complete all assignments within modules 1, 2, and 3.

With a certificate of completion of modules 1 and 2, students can take the third module in another semester (within a year) and convert the professional development course into credit. You will be asked to demonstrate learning in an assessment that will be evaluated for credit.

**The cost for all three modules taken without credit is $960.

**In the event a student wants to take Module 3 for credit, with conversion of Module 1 and 2 to credit, the cost for Module 3 will be $470 and a student must register for credit by the registration deadline for Module 3. A student must have completed Modules 1 and 2 in a previous semester in order to register.

About the Course Designers


Kantor, Rebecca

Rebecca Kantor

Dean, School of Education & Human Development

Rebecca Kantor has been visiting and studying the Reggio Emilia Schools since 1990. Dr. Kantor spent 28 years at The Ohio State University, first as an assistant professor and the Director of the Lab School, where she brought the Reggio approach to its children, families and students. Currently, and for the past 8 years, Rebecca leads the School of Education and Human Development as its Dean. The partnership of the School of Education and Human Development with the Boulder Journey School in Reggio-inspired teacher education has been a satisfying and deep relationship—recently the partnership accepted an invitation to be a participating member of the Reggio Children Foundation. Together with her colleagues Alison ad Lori, Rebecca is engaged with interpreting the Reggio approach for the Denver Public Schools.

Ryan, Lori

Lori Ryan

Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Education & Human Development

Lori Ryan first encountered the Reggio Emilia Approach in 1991 when the 100 Languages of Children exhibition was in St. Louis where she, as pedagogical coordinator of Clayton Schools’ Family Center, co-led the St. Louis Reggio Collaborative. Lori has continued her journey of collaboration and connections to Reggio Emilia after moving to Colorado and joining the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Lori dedicates her work with educators to embrace and realize their full potential and that of children and families.

Maher, Alison

Alison Maher

Executive Director, Boulder Journey School

Alison Maher first encountered the Reggio Emilia Approach in 1995 while working as a Director at Boulder Journey School. Since 1995, educators at Boulder Journey School have worked closely with educators in Reggio Emilia, Italy to develop a translation of the approach that is contextual and relevant to Boulder, Colorado. Additionally, Alison has shared the evolution of the school as a course instructor and as a consultant in schools around the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Japan and Ireland.

Fernie, David

David E. Fernie

Professor Emeritus, Wheelock College and The Ohio State University

David Fernie first encountered the Reggio Emilia Approach over twenty five years ago, and since then has deepened his understanding and appreciation of this unique Approach. As a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Ohio State and Wheelock College, and as a Board member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA), David strives to support American teachers who desire to draw inspirations and implications for their daily work with children from this approach.

Boulder Journey School

Boulder Journey School is a full-day, full-year early childhood program located in Boulder, Colorado that welcomes over 200 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years, and their families. We have a faculty of about 70 educators, that includes approximately 55 classroom teachers, both intern and mentor teachers, as well as 15 administrators, directors and teacher educators.

Students at Boulder Journey School

Our school focuses on the education of young children, as well as the education of teachers. In 1999, Boulder Journey School entered into close partnership with the University of Colorado Denver and the Colorado Department of Education to create a residency-based Teacher Education Program within the school. Through this one year program, Graduate Student Teachers earn a Master’s Degree in Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences and a Birth - Third Grade Teaching license. These partnerships, created around teacher education, have resulted in two decades of experimentation and innovation that have affected all aspects of daily life at school, including our image of the child, relationships with families, teacher professional development, curriculum planning, collaboration among faculty, and our connection to the local, educational, global and political communities.

Graduate Student Teachers enrolled in our program are teachers of record who team teach with Mentor Teachers. Mentor Teachers have already graduated from the Teacher Education Program. These teaching teams are charged with innovating new teaching practices as teacher researchers.

Our relationship with Reggio Emilia, Italy

Students paint at Boulder Journey School

Boulder Journey School and the University of Colorado Denver are promoting founders of the Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi, an international organization founded in 2011 with the mission to “promote solidarity through research”.

Additionally, Boulder Journey School and the University of Colorado Denver bring groups of educators to Reggio Emilia, Italy annually to participate in the Student Professor Study Group organized in collaboration with Reggio Children.

Choose CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development

The School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver is a statewide and national leader for educational quality, access and equity across the education lifespan, birth through higher education Our undergraduate and graduate programs prepare and inspire education and mental health leaders to have a profound impact in fostering student opportunity, achievement and success in urban and diverse communities. We believe that all students, diverse in race, ethnicity, economic resources, language, fluency, abilities, geography, first-generation status, age, gender and sexual identities, deserve access to an excellent education. Our academic programs, our world-class faculty and our curriculum reflect this philosophy of inclusion and social justice. Through innovative research and partnerships, we strive to be passionate agents of change, inspiring upcoming generations to learn from the past and shape the future. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion works toward a more just and compassionate world.

We offer high quality Early Childhood Education in BA, BS, MA, EdD and PhD programs to prepare inclusive ECE teachers (with and without licensure), directors, leaders, researchers and policy makers. Our 20 plus year partnership with Boulder Journey School is a gem in our ECE program portfolio. We share deep interest and extensive experience with the innovative schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and have successfully partnered in residency-based educator preparation for over two decades. Recently, we added an online MA rooted in the work of Boulder journey school and inspired by the acclaimed pedagogy known as the Reggio Emilia approach.