PATRICIA HUNTER – MCGRATH
Patricia Hunter McGrath is the Executive Director/Atelierista of Branches Atelier in Culver City, California. Founded in 2007, the preschool is an innovative early childhood program inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. Branches currently serves 180 families in its preschool, parent-infant, and parent- toddler programs.
After working as a teacher for seven years at the Growing Place in Santa Monica, Patricia became the Atelierista at Evergreen Community School where over the following years, she developed a unique approach to children’s symbolic languages. Using many mediums such as clay, wire, and paint, the children enter into a relationship with the materials in order to express, clarify and modify their ideas and theories.
In 2005, Patricia left Santa Monica for Perth, Australia, to develop the Atelierista role at Bold Park Community School. While there for two years, she also taught the Reggio Emilia Class at Murdoch University as she had previously taught at Santa Monica College.
Deeply inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education, Patricia is a founding member of the West Coast Collaborative. This coalition of preschools work closely together to share resources, training, professional development, and research on how to apply Reggio inspired practices into early childhood settings. Through this work, the West Coast Collaborative continues to be “in dialogue” with the schools of Reggio Emilia through an ongoing collaboration with pedagogista, Tiziana Filippini.
With more than thirty years of experience in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California, Patricia is still a passionate artist at heart. She is a contributing author of the books In the Spirit of the Atelier and Insights and Inspiration from Reggio Emilia, both published by Davis Press. She presents workshops and seminars on a wide range of topics. She speaks at conferences and consults throughout the United States and abroad, including China, Australia, Canada, and Scotland. She has visited Reggio Emilia, Italy, eight times.