Reggio students got a look at their new school on Saturday, Oct. 5 at a Fall Harvest Celebration.
Hundreds of families visited the new site at 59 Waterville Rd. in Avon, which is slated to open in 2014. The Rivera family from Avon was one of them. Three of the children attend Reggio and the family has been driving by the site "frequently to keep an eye on the progress," the release stated.
“I’m just so excited to get inside,” the mother said.The event included fall crafts and activities and harvest refreshments were provided.
“The kids’ energy is infectious,” Marnie Liska, the project manager for the construction of the new school, said at the event.
At least 500 "teachers, students, construction and central office staff, and Reggio family members attended the event," according to a press release.
“This is a dream come true,” said Josie Di Pietro Smith, Reggio's principal. “I am so excited for this day, because our children and families deserve a school like this, a school that honors and respects all of their skills and talents.”
Reggio staff is also excited to move into the location.
“Seeing the excitement on the children’s faces, it feels great that this is our home,” said Jamie Vincenti, a pre-kindergarten teacher who has been teaching at Reggio for two years.
She frequently talks with her students about the new school and has been showing them footage of progress on the project through a stream from CREC's construction camera.
“We are all looking forward to getting settled,” she said.Construction on the new school began in the summer of 2012. The building is 63,000 square feet.
Reggio follows "an educational philosophy that was started by parents from the villages around the Reggio Emilia region of Italy after World War II," according to the release.
"Like a village, the building footprint is designed around a centralized area known as a Piazza, where children can intermingle or get together in large groups," CREC officials said. "The Reggio Emilia teaching approach also puts the natural environment at the center of its philosophy, so the Piazza is infused with light from skylights and is accented with natural materials such as wood and stone veneer."
The building's media center and art room were designed to be connected to the "central Piazza via glass walls" and "are also equipped with exterior doors which allow instruction to spill out into the natural environment," the release states.
The nature lab on the second floor has access to a roof-top garden "where numerous plants will grow and allow for further interaction between the students and the outdoors."
The arts are integrated into the major subjects.
West Hartford resident Natasha Mercado, son, Javon attends kindergarten at Reggio and her daughter, Charlize is in fourth grade there.
“I like this school because they are open to my children’s interests,” she said. “The kids always come home and say, ‘look at what we did in class,’ and I know they have been listening to what my kids are interested in.”
The school has temporarily been operating out of a building owned by Mark Greenberg at 20 Security Drive as the magnet school community waits to move into the new location. Reggio, which first opened in 2008 educates students from the Hartford region.
“We are proud to be a part of something that will benefit students and their communities now and for years to come,” John Mena, CREC director of construction, said.
Finishing touches are being made to the school over the next couple months so that student and staff can relocate to the new school after winter break in January.