In October 1983, Beginnings originated as a playgroup of five toddlers held in the East Village apartment of the Founding Director, Sheila Wolper. The following year, the program moved to its present location on the first two floors of 130 East 16th Street. In 1999, the staff began to take a closer look at studying the innovative preschool programs in the cities of Reggio Emilia and Pistoia, Italy. Their philosophy emphasizes children's competency and ability to construct their own knowledge through in-depth investigation and research. We continue to be inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach today. In 2005, Jane Racoosin, who began teaching at Beginnings in 1992, became Director. That year, Beginnings also took ownership of the entire 130 East 16th Street building. In 2007, we added our collection of found and recycled materials to create our Materials Center on the top floor. Throughout its evolution, Beginnings has been committed to maintaining the sense of warmth and attention to children that characterized the program from its inception.