The Panta Rei Cooperative has been working in the sector of childhood education in Reggio Emilia since September 1999, running contracted educational services with the Municipality of Reggio Emilia.
The Cooperative’s six founding members, teachers and workshop workers have all attended qualification courses as part of the N.O.W. project (New Opportunities for Women), which are funded by the European Union, promoted by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and run by Reggio Children. The aim of these courses was to provide further qualifications to women graduates, providing theoretical tools and operational opportunities that would increase their employment possibilities in various types of educational services. These courses also aimed to provide support to participants who planned on setting up a self-employed business, aimed at childhood education, in the non-profit sector.
On 12 July 1999, part of the group formed a Social Cooperative by the name of Panta Rei.
The decision to give the company the legal status of a social cooperative came from the values which “cooperation” embodies, very strong and heartfelt values in the region of Reggio Emilia and Emilia, where participation and solidarity have very deep, ancient roots. The decision to found a social cooperative also involved the idea of a business that brings together several people who pool their ideas, projects and professional skills to run a social business.
The same teacher/entrepreneur business expresses a solid link between pedagogical and managerial aspects, repositioning the very meaning of collectiveness and collaboration.
Against this background, the Choreia nursery school was set up on 1 September 1999 as part of an innovative trial project involving three subjects: the Municipality of Reggio Emilia which entrusted an experimental new educational service to Reggio Children who, in turn, handled the training and incubation of the new Panta Rei Social Cooperative.
Today, the cooperative is made up of 80 members, 7 of whom form the Board of Directors:
Franca Mallica, President;
Simona Zuliani, Vice President;
and the Board Members: Francesca Giorgioni, Francesca Bianchi, Barbara Pini, Laura Giberti and Giorgia Fantini.
Panta Rei also has 41 employees in various professional roles as part of the management of its services.
Alongside the Choreia nursery school, the Cooperative now also runs four other educational services: the Otello Sarzi nursery, run under an ATI with the Totem Cooperative; the Faber nursery school; the Giulia Maramotti nursery and the most recently opened one in September 2010, the Eni o6 company nursery school in San Donato Milanese, run under an ATI with Reggio Children.
Starting from the 2007-2008 school year, it also began managing support services for afternoon activities at certain municipal nurseries and pre-schools (Arcobaleno, Panda, Anna Frank and Nilde Iotti) where its staff looks after the cleaning and hygiene of the rooms and supports the afternoon educational activities during the after-school service.
In 2015, the cooperative obtained Quality Management System Certification according to standard ISO 9001:2008. It is an investment when considering all the activities in terms of added value for better efficiency, greater process traceability and more careful monitoring, especially with a view to improving management based on ongoing objective assessment. This certification recognises the merit of the pedagogical project and, more as a whole, of the educational system interpreted and developed by Panta Rei.
The power to innovate and experiment has been a hallmark of Panta Rei’s past experience and has helped spread educational and cultural qualities on very early childhood, not just in Reggio Emilia but also around the country and internationally in a close, ongoing dialogue with Reggio Children and with its various partner companies.
The aim is to uphold its commitment to innovation while focusing on research, relationships and the well-being of the community, targeting excellence for various present and future experiences.
Experience and consultancy
educational services start-up
various new educational services have been opened, with Panta Rei working as the supervisor or as the consultant supporting the other supervisors throughout all the phases required to launch the new service, from the more managerial, organisational and legal aspects to the pedagogical and educational side.
designing the environment
training, sharing experiences on educational spaces, furnishings and materials from an interdisciplinary perspective where pedagogical and educational knowledge meets expertise in architecture and interior and exterior design with a variety of materials.
for new or previously opened facilities, either to find educational staff or kitchen workers and auxiliary personnel.
from “incubation” to supporting the launch of new businesses, in particular, cooperatives that wish to work in education.
Childhood services management
In its management of educational services, Panta Rei has trialled and consolidated its experience in educational continuity from nursery to pre-school within the same facility and with the same staff for many of its services.
Based on the experience of ateliers and atelier workers, established in schools across the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, the Panta Rei cooperative has used this initiative ever since it started, including for its own services, where the atelier and the mini-atelier are not just a physical space but also a value and interpretation of education aimed at research and creativity, interpreting and testing dialogues and experiences over time with different professionals and expertise.
atelier worker, with artistic training (arts, design, graphics, architecture, etc)
English mother-tongue speakers with artistic or educational training also from everyday life
chef, as an “atelier worker” of flavours, whose experience meets the children’s experience
Dance atelier worker, from Il corpo che narra… trasformazioni to research that has been able to renew itself every day at the nursery and the school and as an opportunity for training new movement atelier workers in collaboration with Reggio Children
after-school ateliers for children aged 0-6 and 6-11, organising continuous afternoon experiences, including for primary school children, to find a better balance with families’ private and working lives
communication research linked to aspects of education and teaching and to children’s research: apps, e-books and books, with a view to social networks.
Sharing experiences, workshops and training for staff on issues linked to teaching and education or to daily life and planning and, in particular, training for educational staff, kitchen staff, co-workers and atelier workers.
From its own experience, Panta Rei believes that only through discussion, teamwork and, therefore, cooperation and by meeting various professionals can we enrich the quality of educational services, focusing in particular on children, families and the staff involved. Quality as the widespread well-being of a community and as the right to quality and to continuously updated experiences through shared research.
Over the years, this network of experiences has involved people who have worked and are working for Panta Rei, which has provided human and professional experiences encouraging their creation and development, but also, of course, all the children and their families who have built this story together and continue to give it new meaning every day to help it grow.