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Our Story

Reggio Emilia is an innovative form of education, that focuses on student centered learning connecting students to their own curiosities and environments...

I learned this philosophy during my teaching credential program in San Francisco. I also learned that Reggio Emilia includes three teachers, which are the teacher, students and the classroom. The third teacher (classroom) is the core for building a safe space, creating excited passionate teachers, and engaging students. 

Shortly after graduating the program I started my career as an art teacher in low-income public schools for several years. One of the most exciting things for me as a teacher was decorating my classroom. Even though I spending out of my own small pockets, I wanted to show off my fun creative personality and welcome students in each year. Unfortunately I soon realized how much work teachers actually did outside of just teaching and quickly gathered a collage of to-do sticky notes. So I couldn't commit the time or energy to my big design dreams because I had to focus on lesson planing, grading, classroom management, connecting with students, calling parents, attend meetings, and read & write countless emails. But... I was determined! So little by little each year I added or changed something in my classroom to gradually make it comfortable, organized, and fun to be in. And over the years I noticed that even these small changes had an impact on my students and I. We felt more relaxed, more energized, and more engaged during class time. At this point I realized how important the physical classroom environment effects the students and teacher physically and mentally. Especially since so much of our time is spent in classrooms. A school year consists of 175-180 days of school and/or between 900-1,000 hours of classroom instruction total. That's almost half a calendar year, which I think makes school appropriate to call a second home. According to "The Third Teacher" book, "an estimated 25,000 schools throughout America need major repair". 

After reading about this scary number I couldn't stop at just my classroom. Hence the birth of Reggio Emilia Design, which mixes my classroom knowledge and creative style to redesigning classrooms for hard working teachers in low-income schools. 

I'm an artist and designer who creates to redesign classrooms with the Reggio Emilia mindset. My mission is to provide a healthy, calming, and playful space for teachers, students, parents, and creative people to enjoy. For every purchase 20% of the proceeds will go towards funding my large projects of redesigning teachers classrooms in low-income schools. With your help we can give passionate teachers nicer classrooms they deserve and provide comfortable learning environments for our students.


We need to invest in our teachers and inspire the younger generation together. 

- Karen Zinkofsky - 

Owner & Designer of Reggio Emilia Design