Our Beginnings

In the spring of 2014, several women who knew one another from their work at Marygrove College formed Connecting Through the Arts & Education, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to bring diverse families together around an interest in child centered, inquiry based education. A preschool, Scuola Creativa, opened in the fall of 2014 in Ferndale, Michigan, with one classroom serving children ages three through five. In the spring of 2018, Scuola Creativa moved to the current location in Royal Oak, Michigan, and expanded to include a preschool classroom for children ages three through five and an infant-toddler classroom for children ages birth to three.

Philosophy

Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education, Scuola Creativa partners with children, families, and the community to provide an inquiry-based education for young learners. Scuola Creativa upholds an image of the child as a powerful, competent, capable, and integral member of the community. We envision each family as unique, deserving of respect, and the center of the child’s life. Scuola Creativa has a vision for a just and civil society that values our shared humanity, fosters strong democratic communities, recognizes the uniqueness of each individual and appreciates diversity. We acknowledge children’s ability to reflect upon and contribute to their own learning through their many languages of expression and communication. Our vision is to base all decisions on the principles of Reggio Emilia, incorporating current research on learning as well as developmentally appropriate practice.

Core Values

  • Image of the child as competent, curious, full of knowledge and potential, with a great capacity for experiencing the world

  • Image of the teacher as researcher, documenter, and life-long learner. Check out research from Scuola teachers here and here

  • Classroom environment as the "third teacher," designed thoughtfully with the intention to teach

  • Curriculum is largely inquiry-based, process-oriented & driven by the children's interests

  • Time outdoors, in all kinds of weather, offers valuable learning opportunities

  • Cooperation and collaboration among staff, with families and children

  • Children, families and staff are all deserving of respect and have rights

  • Diversity (in EVERY sense of the word!) makes for a richer learning environment

  • Anti-Bias Education and self-reflection are critical to our individual/collective growth. Learn more about Anti-Bias Education here.

  • Continuity of care from home to school, from infancy/toddler years through preschool

Meet the Educators

Steffanie Bowles, PhD

Founder & Executive Director
Steffanie Bowles, PhD Founder & Executive Director

Steffanie Bowles founded Scuola Creativa - a school for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children - in 2014, after successfully helping to start Four Corners Montessori Academy. She also worked as the Coordinator of Special Education at Marygrove College from 2003-2019. Before she discovered the Reggio Approach to education, Steffanie utilized project based approaches in K-12 special education settings for eight years. Once she found the Reggio approach, she spent the next eight years studying it, including three study tours to Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Jamie Solomon has over 15 years of experience in the early childhood field. She has spent the majority of those years working as a lead teacher in the preschool classroom. However, she has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the field, at both San Francisco State University and the University of Michigan, Flint. Jamie has long taken an interest in young children's gender development, publishing research on the topic for organizations NAEYC, NAECTE and NAREA and presenting at national and local conferences. Jamie loves working with young children and their families and considers herself an advocate for children's rights and childhood in general. When she's not at Scuola, Jamie is busy with her own family eating, reading and being outdoors.
Jamie Solomon, MA, Director

Jamie Solomon has spent over 15 years in the early childhood field, primarily working as a lead teacher in the preschool classroom. However, she has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the field. Jamie has long taken an interest in young children's gender development, publishing research and presenting at national and local conferences. Jamie loves working with young children and their families, and considers herself an advocate for children's rights and childhood in general. When she's not at Scuola, Jamie is busy with her own family eating, sharing stories and being outdoors.

Food & Mealtime Culture

At Scuola Creativa, mealtime  - and snacks - offer a time to gather 'round the table and enjoy sharing food and company. we work with families to create a lifetime of healthy relationships with food. Lunch is prepared each day in our fully licensed kitchen with a focus on fresh, whole ingredients including protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The ritual of sharing meals with friends and teachers builds community and encourages tasting new foods. Special dietary needs are taken into account whenever possible to ensure the health and safety of all children.