Our Team

Our Squad

Exceptional qualities

Our team of educators are chosen from among the best and brightest R.ECE and ECA accredited practitioners.  They share the same qualities that we strive to encourage in our students. They are sensitive, imaginative, curious, great listeners, supportive, open-minded and creative problem-solvers. They don’t give children the answers but rather guide them to find the answers themselves.

Happy Baby Playing With Toy Blocks
Mother and Her Son in Nature
Children Playing With Animal Toys
Little Boy Playing With Magnifier in Atelier Kids Childcare Centre

The role of our educators

Our practitioners plan starting points for the children to explore and provide open-ended resources for their journey of exploration. They listen, observe and facilitate your child’s learning. They are there to help the children move from simple to complex ideas and to slow down the process so that the little moments can be captured. Children are allowed to make mistakes and are encouraged to try different solutions to problems.

We believe relationships and consistency are important. That is why we have set up most of our classrooms in a Multi-Age Grouping arrangement, which removes the stress of multiple transitions experienced when children move too frequently between programs.

Our educators are lifelong learners

Ongoing learning is fundamental to providing quality childcare. We nurture this quality by building in design time weekly to collaborate with peers and to write up observations. We also give our educators the time for formal professional development—just like our children, we too need to keep learning.

Joshua and His Ball

Imagine you’re in the backyard with your son. He loses his ball under the deck. What do you do? As adults, we often rush to solve his problem.

The Reggio-inspired way

OBSERVATION: Our Educator stands back and observes, recognizing this as a teachable moment. Rather than solving Joshua’s problem, she deliberately allows him time and space to solve his own problem.  She takes a few photos, makes some notes and asks open ended questions to help guide Joshua to a solution.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: Left to his own devices, Joshua tries to retrieve his ball first by reaching under the deck with his arm. It is too short. Then he uses a stick to try to reach his ball. Again it is too short. Next, he decides to engage his friends and together they devise a way to retrieve the ball with a wire.

DOCUMENTATION & ONGOING LEARNING: Joshua’s teacher documents this learning by displaying the photographs in the classroom at eye level so Joshua and his friends can be reminded of the challenge and their success. This is consistent with the pedagogy supported by the Ministry of Education’s “How Does Learning Happen?”.

Boy Catching ball

Our Leadership

Bernadette Testani - Head of School

Bernadette Testani - Head of School

Bernadette Testani is an innovator, and entrepreneur who calls Bloor West Village her home. It’s here that she and her husband, raise their family and, ten years ago, founded Green Apple Kids & Windermere Kids, two award winning daycares providing quality care and education to Bloor West.

In directing her passion and experience to opening Atelier Kids Early Learning & Care, she’s pioneering the development of the first Reggio-inspired early learning centre in the west end — an approach that’s been remarkably successful worldwide since the 1950’s.    

“You can’t have growth without change,” says Ms. Testani. “This has been the guiding philosophy of my life and has served me well as I’ve navigated my career. I’ve not taken a conventional path to being one of Canada’s experts in early childhood learning, but I believe this is what has made me successful.”

Ms. Testani spent several decades working in executive recruitment, building a career placing some of Canada’s leading executives in their corporate roles, before she recognized the need for professional, service-centred childcare in Bloor West.

It was a big leap but now, having made a success of that, she’s embracing her new challenge. “Atelier Kids is for parents who believe that children need to be viewed as capable, confident and curious, in order to be fully engaged as young learners,” she says. “Reggio is really a 2.0 way of looking at how we nurture and stoke young minds and imaginations, helping them become life-long learners. I’m confident that our parents are ready for this type of growth and change, too.”


Joan C. Bowman - Atelierista

Joan C. Bowman - Atelierista

Joan C. Bowman is a Toronto-based Graphic Designer whose interest in art and design began when, as a child, she would transcribe her storybooks onto the pages of grid paper she would find at her father’s drafting table.

Her love of painting, drawing, and the exploration of art techniques earned her a scholarship to Eastern Michigan University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Art. This intense art and design program focused on mastering problem-solving philosophies, the theoretical approach to art and design and its practical applications, as developed and taught by the faculty and esteemed alumnae of the historically recognized Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Joan graduated University with academic honours and was quickly introduced to the frenetic world of television production.  She stayed in the industry for 15 years, 2 cities, and 3 title changes garnering 3 Emmy Awards and 15 nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

A shift from television allowed Joan to work in the field of interior design as an Art and Accessories Buyer and while raising two young children, developed SquidMonkey Fine Art & Design School for Children to help build an informed foundation and keen awareness of fine art; to first understand and appreciate the works and artist motivations throughout history prior to their act of hands-on creation of projects.

Joan is currently the owner of her own boutique design firm, jcBowmanDESIGN where she develops marketing and design solutions for small business and corporate clients and pursues her passion of seeing life’s “little moments of beauty” through her greeting card line, honeylamb: a designer line of correspondence.

Joan was introduced to a Reggio-inspired education when her youngest child started JK and she’s been intrigued and captivated by the philosophy ever since.  Joan is extremely excited to work with Atelier Kids as the Atelierista and looks forward to meeting you and your child as we work together to explore the path of learning and discovery together.