Branches Atelier Fall Reggio Workshop Series

Hands on immersive, interactive workshops for educators and parents.

These workshops will be held at our beautiful new campus in Culver City and will include a tour of our school!

 1) Creating Mathematic and Scientific Environments, Using Unconventional and Unique Materials

(A hands-on workshop) New!

 Saturday, November 10th,  9am to 3pm  $75

Presented by: Michele Plafchan and Christina Bianchi

This workshop will examine the role that open-ended materials play in promoting scientific and mathematical concepts. Participants will explore ways to support and challenge children’s inquiries through provocations. Materials and how they are set up play a key role in the work that takes place in the early childhood classroom, creating opportunities for children to develop their understanding of complex math and science concepts such as: sorting and classifying, patterning, states of matter, volume, number sense, length, and conservation.

In addition workshop participants will engage in learning:

  • How to set up math materials that encourage collaboration and exchange of ideas and scaffolding.
  • How to set up provocations as scientific experiments, using variables and constants.
  • When to shift or change set ups depending on children’s inquiry, questions, research, etc.
  • How to challenge and extend children’s ideas, theories and experiments.

2) Creating a World of Colors:  Palettes that Connect us to our World

(A hands on workshop)

Saturday December 8th  9am to 3pm $100

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath

  • What are the tricks and tips to creating a wide range of beautiful palettes?
  • What are the techniques of paint mixing with children?
  • How can color support children learning?
  • How can a wide range of paint colors support children’s connection to nature?
  • What is the difference between a tone, hue, shade and tint?
  • How can paint and color support literacy and poetic language?

This Workshop includes the price of paint cups and paints that participant can use to create a palette that can be taken back to their centers. Participants will also create a paint recipe book that can be used as a tool to create other beautiful palettes that can be used through out the school year.


3) An Introduction to Reggio Repeat workshop

(A hands-on workshop)

 Saturday  January 12th  9am to 3pm $75

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath

  • What is the Reggio approach?
  • What are the theoretical and philosophical roots of the Reggio approach?
  • How can materials support children’s learning?
  • How can a teacher be a researcher?
  • How can our environment act as a third teacher?
  • What is the role of time?
  • How does wonder support creativity and imagination?
  • What is the role of parents in a Reggio inspired school?

4)Mind in the Making: 

Seven Essential Life Skills That All Children Should Know

Wednesday  January 23rd  6:00pm to 8:30pm   $40

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath

From 6pm to 6.30pm tour our new school. Workshop start at 6.30pm.

  • What are the seven Essential life skills that all parents and teachers should know?
  • How do these life skills support children’s learning and development?
  • How do we create learning environments that support focus and self control in young children?
  • How do we support communication and cognitive development?
  • How do the seven life skills apply to the Reggio approach?
  • How does making connections lie at the heart of children’s learning?
  • How do we create an environment that supports self directed, engaged learning?

About the presenters:

Patricia Hunter McGrath is the Executive Director/Atelierista of  Branches Atelier in Culver City, California.  Over the past 17 years she has developed an innovated early childhood program inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. From 2005 to 2007 Patricia developed the role of the Atelierista at Bold Park Community School in Perth, Australia. From 1998 to 2005 she was the Atelierista at Evergreen Community School where she developed a unique approach to children’s symbolic languages. Using clay, wire, paint, dance, etc. children enter into relationship with the materials and express, clarify and modify their ideas and theories. She also taught at the Growing Place in Santa Monica for 7 years. Patricia is an artist and has over 20 years experience in Early Childhood Education.  Patricia has taught the Reggio Emilia Class at Santa Monica College and at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.  Patricia graduated with a Masters degree in Human development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. She also speaks at conferences throughout the United States and abroad and has visited Reggio Emilia, Italy seven times.  She is also a contributing author of the book In the Spirit of the Atelier published by Davis Press and Insights and Inspiration from Reggio Emiliaalsopublished by Davis Press.

Christina Bianchi is a preschool teacher at Branches Atelier. Prior to becoming an educator at Branches Atelier, Christina worked as the Program Director for The Children’s Nature Institute bringing her passions for teaching, children and promoting environmental literacy to the agency. In addition to overseeing both the design and implementation of all new education programs and curricula; Christina also worked with Development staff on grants related to program development, managed a staff of Environmental Educators and coordinated and implemented volunteer training.

Michele Plafchan is a graduate of Michigan State University with a major in Elementary Education, Child Development, and Language Arts, with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education.  Michele currently teaches at Branches Atelier, a Reggio inspired program for children ages 18 months to 5 years. With her knowledge in literacy and experience in movement, Michele led two professional workshops for educators and parents one titled, Knowing and Using the Language of Movement, Gesture and Expression with Young Children and Ourselves and the other titled, Literacy and Movement Intertwined. She has a passion for using recycled and traditional art materials as tools for learning.  Thus, kinesthetic and visual learning are two of the teaching methods she utilizes.

For more information about Branches Atelier please visit:

Click here for the registration form.

Click here for the flyer.

Click here to preregister online.

Call 310 395 6040 toMake a credit card payment.

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