A dynamic forum focused on the experience of childhood and the process of learning

Inspiration Coming to Life by Sandy Burwell and Tamara Weiss Rhodes

20 Nov 2021 7:56 AM | Reggio Inspired Network of MN (Administrator)

For many years, the possibility of having a materials gathering space has been a dream of many people in our Network. This dream is inspired by the Remida center in Reggio Emilia, Italy in which the city collects, curates and makes materials available to its citizens for creative endeavors. We want to create such a space in the Greater Twin Cities area.

We now have some definite positive movement toward this goal. Heidi Wolf, Lisa Small, Sandra Burwell, Deborah Schein and Nancy Nakaoka have formed an ad hoc committee to spearhead, explore and pursue the dream and all it involves.

There is a unique space in the heart of the Longfellow neighborhood called Belle’s ToolBox where Tamara Weiss Rhodes, a member of the Resource Committee, has been a long-time, regular visitor. This site of joyful learning inspires us, and we see an opportunity for collaboration. Belle’s ToolBox offers a free and welcoming family and caregiver opportunity to join children as they explore a wide variety of engaging, hands-on materials. Areas of exploration are well-stocked and organized to promote children’s autonomy and independence as they do their work, transforming them into eager and focused scientists, book makers, engineers, artists and musicians. There is an outdoor space that offers a winding pathway through native plants, a rain garden and even a special investigation area for budding geologists. The indoor space serves about 10-12 comfortably. They currently require masks indoors as COVID protocol.


Belle’s ToolBox founder, Lucy Elliott, pours her extraordinary heart into creating a space that connects multigenerational and multicultural populations through the experience of exchanging ideas. She designs all of it through the lens of environmental responsibility, sustainability and stewardship.

The committee met with Lucy at the ToolBox and she is excited to work with us. We set some short term goals. Many small and large tasks are needed to make this dream possible. We are using two documentation tools to make our process visible. One is a web of possibilities that we have generated so far:


An online collaborative platform called Miro will also help us document our work and make it visible, so anyone can become involved and be kept up-to-date. Those interested in being actively involved with this work can reach out to Heidi by email: hwolf@bsmschool.org.

To learn more about Belle’s ToolBox, here’s the link: http://www.belles-toolbox.org

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Reggio-Inspired Network of Minnesota is a 501(c)3 non-profit located at 525 Pelham Blvd. N., Saint Paul, MN 55104 

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