Begun conceptually in the summer of 2001 and formally launched in January 2002, the guiding idea of Project Infinity, first known as the School Development Project, is to support collaborative learning within and between ordinary schools in order to strengthen their depth and quality.
Participating schools are asked to make two main commitments:
- a genuine, school-wide interest in analyzing the experiences and philosophies of Reggio Emilia
- an active commitment to the welfare of other schools within the project
Experiences within the project include ongoing collaboration meetings and exchanges between and within schools, group visits to other schools in the United States, readings, discussions, conversations with visiting professionals, study weeks in Reggio Emilia, and restructuring the way professional time is invested at work. Schools within Project Infinity actively embrace the struggle of designing experiences borne from ongoing action research tempered by systemic professional collaboration.
These opportunities are grounded by the regular participatory support of Inspired Practices whose efforts established exchanges with Amelia Gambetti, teacher for 25 years in Reggio Emilia, and a number of other leading experts in early childhood education. Building a stronger sense of camaraderie within and between schools has enabled more risk-taking, more openness to disagreement and change, less willingness to accept the status quo, and more willingness among educators to offer their unique points of view in an evolving style of collaboration and social construction.
Project Infinity, a name coined by the founding group of schools in the School Development Project, is meant to suggest a style of work that builds forever on itself. Participation in Project Infinity is free of charge to member schools. The costs of the investment are covered through financial and time donations, and fees collected from other initiatives.
Currently, seven schools participate in Project Infinity. Two of these are located in Greenville, South Carolina: First Baptist Church Infant/Toddler Program and First Baptist Church Kindergarten. The remaining five schools are located in Atlanta, Georgia: Grant Park Cooperative Preschool (Grant Park campus), Grant Park Cooperative Preschool (Cabbagetown campus), St. Anne’s Day School, Peachtree Presbyterian Preschool, and The Nest Nursery School. Through these schools, Project Infinity engages with approximately 200 educators who work with over 1,000 children and their families.
If our reach should exceed our grasp, we hope one day all children experience exceptional early care and education and educators feel a professional bond with local colleagues and a conviction that their capacity to think will always create new avenues for advancing quality in education and life.