“Nothing without Joy!”
Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
After completing my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Western Michigan University, I moved to Chicago to teach in Chicago Public Schools. I spent two years teaching in a first grade classroom and decided that my heart was in the care and education of preschool age children. I then spent the next few years teaching in a Head Start Program in Rogers Park where I was introduced to the ideas and principles from the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. During my time in Head Start, I decided that I wanted to learn more about child development, families, and culture so I enrolled for the master’s program at the Erikson Institute. During my time at Erikson, I was able to gain experience in the wider world of early childhood care and education by working as an intern at a birth to 3rd grade professional development project, volunteering at the Women’s Treatment Center, and working with adult graduate students. After completing my master’s degree in child development, I spent 2 years teaching at a Reggio-Inspired preschool in Winnetka. I became the director of Creative Scholars in 2015 and am thrilled to bring my passion for play, community, and child development to the program.
I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I have dedicated my life and passions to early childhood because I believe in the importance of supporting our youngest citizens as they are the citizens who will be making change and leading us in the future. To me, there is nothing more important than the education of children in keeping a society strong and compassionate and the early childhood years are those with some of the most wonder, joy, and potential.
Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play is truly the brain’s best way of learning. As celebrated cognitive theorist, Piaget says, “play is the work of the child”. It is through a child’s play that they are able to make sense of the wider world around them and their role in that world. When a toddler spends hours filling baskets with objects just to repeatedly dump them out they are learning about cause and effect and about his effect on objects. When a 4 year old is engaged in building an intricate block structure she is learning about physics and geometry and are gaining confidence in herself as a maker and innovator. A 3 year old who is playing veterinarian is increasing his understanding of social cues and building is oral language. A child at play is a child whose brain is changing, whose body is strengthening, whose intellect and curiosity is developing, and whose heart is soaring!
My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
I think I’ve always been an educator and leader at my core. As a child I loved to participate in dramatic play and was always the teacher or the mother, the one making my younger brother follow my lead. I also spent countless hours outdoors as the other neighborhood children and I ran from yard to yard and beach to beach.
What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
I am a complete book worm and when I’m not at work I enjoy reading everything from young adult novels to biographies and memoirs to professional development books. I love musicals and go to as many Broadway in Chicago shows as possible with my favorites being Wicked and Hamilton. I am a hiker and hike the Indiana Dunes often, the mountains in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest when I can, the trails in Michigan when I visit my family; I am revived by nature and try to spend as much time as I can walking outside.