Educational Outreach Program

The Educational Outreach Program provides a series of professional development opportunities to educators, focusing on teachers who work with poor children. The goal is to support the educator’s understanding of high quality practices and to share our work as we study and develop the philosophy and principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach at St. Mary’s Child Center.  The staff of St. Mary’s is qualified and has studied the Reggio approach in St. Louis, Chicago, Boulder, Tulsa, Portland and Reggio Emilia, Italy.  Louise Cadwell, the renowned author of American books about the Reggio Approach, has provided consultation.  The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) board has visited our schools and approved them for site visits by American educators.  The Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching embraces the idea that children are competent, capable, strong and important citizens of the world.

Offerings include:

Seminar Series
“Exploring and Interpreting the Work of the Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy at St. Mary’s Child Center”

School Tours
One hour tours are offered free of charge for your first visit.

Day Visits
A day visit includes a tour, lunch, classroom observations, and reflection with the St. Mary’s staff. 

St. Mary’s will present our model and overview of the Reggio philosophy to your organization.

Delegation Day Conference
St. Mary’s will collaborate with Butler University to present The Image of the Indianapolis Child: a closer look at the Reggio-inspired work in our city on February 7-9, 2019. More information can be found here.


St. Mary’s will provide scholarships to educators who work with children and families impacted by poverty, violence or trauma.

Outreach Program Clients

Apple Tree YMCA, Muncie, IN
Archdiocese of Indianapolis Schools
Auntie Mame’s CDC
Bright Horizons
Child Care Answers
Day Nursery Association of Indianapolis
The Early Learning Academy of Chapel Hill Christian School
East Tenth United Methodist Children and Youth Center
East Street Station Lilly CDC
Fairview ECP
Family Development Services (Head Start)
Freedom House Academy
Goshen College
Hasten Hebrew Academy Early Childhood Ministry
Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Indiana University
IUPUI Center for Young Children
Ivy Tech
Kids-X-Clusive Child Care
Marian University
Mt. Zion Preschool
Park Tudor
University of Indianapolis
Westminster Preschool
Zionsville Community Schools

Quotes from Clients

“St. Mary’s could be a model for us all.”   -Lori Geismar Ryan

Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative 2007 Summer Institute:

“I love the ideas I got at St. Mary’s.”

“I gained so much knowledge to make my classroom better.”

“I had a wonderful time.  Everyone was so welcoming and full of passion.  “Thank you!  It’s contagious.  I’m going back with a new vision.”

Visitation Day 2009:

“I realized the uniqueness of each child.  I will be more flexible in my classroom.”

“I learned how to incorporate nature into my program.”

“This program is very impressive.”

2011 Fall Seminar Series:

“100 Languages poem is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and at our school we will listen to and allow our babies the opportunity to express the 100 Languages.”

 “I appreciated how the teachers opened up their rooms and materials for us to explore.”

 “The documentation can be intense. However, technology is so helpful. I really value the importance of the children’s conversations and reactions.”

 “I learned more about how my environment should reflect what the children explore, investigate and question. Documentation bridges the children and visitors together and is proof of what they are learning.”

For information or to arrange tours, day visits, presentations, mentoring and scholarships, please contact Desiree Chon at 317-635-1491 or email dchon (at)