Professional Development Program

Professional Development Program

Success in Learning  •  Success in Life

The Professional Development Program provides a series of professional development opportunities to educators, focusing on teachers who work with children living in poverty and/or dealing with adversity. The goal is to support the educator’s understanding of high-quality practices and to share our work as we study and develop the philosophy and principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach and Applied Educational Neuroscience at St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center.

St. Mary’s Early Childhood Program is interested in willing to work with your organization to design the professional development opportunities desired. Below is a sampling of our current offerings that can be tailored to your needs.


Reggio Influenced Offerings Include:

Reggio Influenced Offerings Include:

The Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching embraces the idea that children are competent, capable, strong, and important citizens of the world. The staff of St. Mary’s is qualified and has studied the Reggio approach in St. Louis, Chicago, Boulder, Tulsa, Portland and Reggio Emilia, Italy. Louise Cadwell, the renowned author of American books about the Reggio Approach, has provided consultation. The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) board has visited our schools and approved them for site visits by American educators.

Full Day Seminars

“Exploring and Interpreting the Work of the Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy at St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center”

Internship Days

A Full-Day Internship includes a tour, classroom observations, lunch, and reflection with the St. Mary’s staff.
A Half-Day Internship includes a tour, classroom observation, and reflection time with the St. Mary’s staff.

School Tours

One-hour tours are offered free of charge for your first visit.


St. Mary’s will present our model and overview of the Reggio philosophy to your organization. We also offer professional development for project work, environments, and documentation.

Applied Educational Neuroscience Offerings Include:

Applied Educational Neuroscience Offerings Include:

St. Mary’s Professional Development Program also has multiple staff members certified in Applied Educational Neuroscience through Butler University. Dr. Lori Desautels, a nationally recognized expert in this field, has worked closely with the staff at St. Mary’s, sharing calming strategies as well as research related to adversity and brain development. Through the offerings, we explore Applied Educational Neuroscience, and some basics of brain development as well as the effects of chronic stress and trauma on the young and developing brain and the adult brain.


We offer two 3-hour presentations which detail the importance of quality relationships necessary for healthy brain development. In addition, we view videos which demonstrate calming activities that serve to be preventive measures, rather than the traditional reactive measures often seen in school and home settings. There is also time for questions and discussion.

For information or to arrange opportunities, please contact Diane Pike at 317-361-4894 or email:

Professional Development Program Clients

Apple Tree YMCA, Muncie, IN
Archdiocese of Indianapolis MTCA Preschools
Batesville YMCA
Bauer Family Resources, Lafayette, IN
Bright Horizons
Busy Bees, Columbus, IN
Butler University College of Education
Child Care Answers
Chinese Educators and Principals
Day Nursery Association of Indianapolis
East Street Station Lilly CDC
East Tenth United Methodist Children and Youth Center
Fairview ECP
Family Development Services (Head Start)
Freedom House Academy
Goshen College
Hasten Hebrew Academy Early Childhood Ministry
Hawthorne Center
Head Start, Liberty Union
Head Start, Indianapolis
Head Start of LaPorte County
Imagination Station, Michigan City

Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children
Indiana Conference of Seventh Day Adventists
Indiana Department of Education Principals
Indiana School Mental Health Initiative
Indiana University
Indianapolis Children’s Museum
INPEC and INPAC Conference presentations
IUPUI Center for Young Children
Ivy Tech
Kids-X-Clusive Child Care
Lawrence Township Early Learning Centers
Marian University
Mt. Zion Preschool
Muncie Career Center
Park Tudor
Purdue University Early Care and Education staff
The Early Learning Academy of Chapel Hill Christian School
United Way
University of Indianapolis
Westminster Preschool
Zionsville Community Schools

Quotes from Clients

“St. Mary’s could be a model for us all.”

“I love the ideas I got at St. Mary’s. This program is very impressive.”

“I gained so much knowledge to make my classroom better.”

“I had a wonderful time. Everyone was so welcoming and full of passion. “Thank you! It’s contagious. I’m going back with a new vision.”

“I realized the uniqueness of each child. I will be more flexible in my classroom.”

“I learned how to incorporate nature into my program.”

“100 Languages poem is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and at our school we will listen to and allow our babies the opportunity to express the 100 Languages.”

“I appreciated how the teachers opened up their rooms and materials for us to explore.”

“The documentation can be intense. However, technology is so helpful. I really value the importance of the children’s conversations and reactions.”

“I learned more about how my environment should reflect what the children explore, investigate and question. Documentation bridges the children and visitors together and is proof of what they are learning.”