Ideas Ignited Foundation

What is Ideas Ignited?

Ideas Ignited is a foundation that empowers educators to create young innovators and problem solvers. Our professional development for K-5 teachers offers training and materials for engaging, hands-on activities that support existing curriculum, standards and learners at all levels.

In today’s classroom, teachers are loaded down with responsibilities. Too often, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to put creative ideas into practice. During an Ideas Ignited professional development session, we work with teachers to develop lesson plans that foster engagement, imagination and problem solving. Each activity is aligned with district curriculum and mapped to learning standards. The activities are tested with teachers and kids to ensure student engagement is high, and prepping and planning time is minimal.




Our professional development workshops give teachers a chance to step away from day-to-day demands and unleash their creativity.



We help teachers create hands-on lesson plans that encourage students to be active participants in their learning.



We provide all classroom materials needed for each lesson, so teachers can spend fewer hours planning and prepping.



Our lesson plans are designed to maximize learning for students at different levels and with a variety of learning styles.



We create hands-on classroom activities that offer the right mix of challenge, engagement and personalization to inspire every student.



Teachers receive the training tools and year-round coaching they need to ensure our program has a lasting impact.




We find teachers and schools who are incorporating creativity in their classrooms and still meeting standards.



We give grants to these remarkable teachers so they can continue to infuse creativity in learning in an even bigger way.



Part of the grant money goes towards a half-day professional development session where our grant recipients inspire and give ideas to a new batch of teachers.


Why we do this

At the heart of the Ideas Ignited philosophy is a core truth that we hear time and again from teachers: Involving the whole child motivates children, which maximizes learning. Teachers know that engaged children are not only happier and better behaved, but – most importantly – they learn more.

That’s why hands-on, cross-curricular learning is at the heart of our approach to professional development and lesson planning. Each activity provides teachers with the plans and materials to inspire stimulation across subject domains and engage all parts of the elementary age child.

Example Activities
Crossing The Canyon

Crossing The Canyon

View Project


Maria Colacurcio

Maria Colacurcio

Co-founder and Executive Director
Movement. I do something physically active every morning. It might be a run, a hike, stretching or anything that gets me up and moving. I do this for the creativity surge as much as the health benefit. When my body is moving, my mind wanders and flows. This movement also helps me think less conventionally.

Opportunity. Providing children and adults with opportunities to learn contributes so much to their productivity and success. The smallest lesson can lead to the most amazing journey. It’s the culmination of learning journeys that correlate to lifelong happiness.

Colored Pencils. Quality materials have always infused my work with a sense of craftsmanship. Whether sketching a diagram for a technology client or drawing with my 5 children, quality materials have always made me feel more connected to the task.

Maria can be found building bridges as Sr. Public Affairs Manager for Starbucks Coffee Co. You may also find her wandering around museums, or outside running (maybe with coffee in hand).

Tisha Leslie

Tisha Leslie

Co-Founder and Director of Research
Curiosity. This is the tool I use the very most in my professional career as a brand and marketing executive. Curiosity leads me to ask probing questions about people and their experiences. Their answers inspire me to fulfill my purpose of making life meaningful and memorable.

Empowerment. I was raised by two public school educators and believe teachers need our support now more than ever. The changes in education are exciting and necessary. Those changes also require us to act on the solutions – not just talk about them.

Beans. My son was in Kindergarten. The teacher read a book about beans and wanted them to write about beans. A bowl of beans sat in the middle of the circle of six-year-olds yet, ironically, the kids weren’t invited to pass around the bowl of and sink their hands into the beans. If we really want them to learn, kids need to be invited to interact with and explore the world around them.

Tisha is often found paddle boarding her way around the northwest and knows that one day she’ll have a home with a rooftop deck.

Erin Perea

Erin Perea

Product Development and Board Member
Inspiration. Creativity strikes me when I see something that moves me emotionally or when all of my senses are activated and involved in what I’m doing. After 9 years in a 5th grade classroom, I know first-hand that it’s not just kids who need inspiration to be creative — teachers need sources of creative inspiration as well in order to pass those experiences along to children.

Exploration. Kids need love, support, compassion and the space and time to explore the world around them without limits and too many rules. The world around them includes the classroom. In order to learn, they need an environment that encourages safe risks so they can fail, make mistakes and learn from them.

Popcorn. I’m constantly reminded how we are modeling behaviors for children even when we don’t realize we are. For instance, I have an insane love affair with popcorn. Six months into the school year, my kindergartners now consider themselves popcorn lovers. It’s such a great reminder how we can inspire kids to learn or get excited about any subject by showing them how much we enjoy it as well.

Our very first Creativity Lab was founded in the “Emerald City”