I have a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. I have many years of teaching experience, including the privilege of being a mentor teacher.
I was once told, “The sweet spot is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” My greatest joy and passion is teaching! I feel that I have found my “sweet spot” at Virginia Chance School with the three-year-olds, and this will be my eighth teaching year at VCS.
The progressive education tradition, along with its values, is one that I embrace wholeheartedly. As an early childhood educator, I believe that children should be helped to become lifelong learners and moral people who learn from each other in a caring classroom environment. Our school-wide Compassion Thematic Units are springboards for practicing empathy.
Three-year-olds who are learning about an endangered animal, for example, begin to realize the specific needs of that animal and the importance of habitat. I remember a three-year-old questioning our history of capturing panda bears in China and transferring them to zoos in America. She asked, “Why did they take them out of their homes?” I try to take my cues from the students in my classroom, developing curriculum based on my current children’s passions, and thus nourishing their curiosity, creativity, compassion, and those wonderful, never-ending questions.
I love it that, daily, our three-and-four-year-old students use Virginia Chance School’s beautiful outdoor settings for unstructured play, finding natural materials that spark wonder and create discussions. Hiking in the woods brings challenges as children assess risk, decide on the best path, and help each other over unstable ground. A good day is a muddy boots day!
We chose Virginia Chance School for our own son when he was two. Although we moved in and out of Louisville several times during his early school years, we always returned to VCS, and our son graduated from VCS as a fifth-grader. I am also involved in the AnyOneCanRead (™) Literacy Project, an exciting new technology and methodology for teaching reading. Every Saturday, I volunteer with my husband at the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs racetrack, with the families of equine workers. I am an active member of my church, I have been in the same book group for 20 years, my personal library of children’s literature is ever-growing, and I love to read, work out, bake, and travel.