The ORA was conceived as a wide-reaching organization in Ontario that brings together those interested in studying and working with the inspiration of the Reggio Emilia approach. This organization has grown out of the partnership among The Bishop Strachan School, York University, the Toronto District School Board, and Seneca College which brought the exhibit “The Hundred Languages of Children” to Toronto from October 2006 to March 2007. Lella Gandini and Amelia Gambetti
supported us by speaking at both the opening and closing conferences of The Hundred Languages of Children exhibit. A follow up conference Feb. 6-8, 2008 that brought Carlina Rinaldi to Toronto provided ongoing momentum for those interested in continuing their relationship with this work.
The exhibit of original documentation from the Infant and Toddler Centres and Preschools of Reggio Emilia and the presence in Toronto of educators from Reggio Emilia at professional development sessions (2004-2008) has provoked an interest in further investigation of this unique approach. Enthusiasm spread much further than the original partnership. At that point, the executive steering committee that brought the exhibit began to work on forming an ongoing organization as a useful and supportive structure for individuals working in settings across the province. The organization was developed to provide occasions for joining others who wish to continue their exploration and engagement with the Reggio Emilia approach. The ongoing initiatives of the organization
include annual or semi-annual conferences for Reggio educators, professional development Saturday sessions in which small groups share documentation and discussion, website access and information, networking for members, and announcement for various events through the website.