In high school I took early bird gym so I could get to a childcare program and work the 3-6 pm shift. While I was working I had the opportunity to plan the afternoon activities. I soon realized that my plans meant nothing to the children if they were not invested in them. When I decided to let go and take their lead we (the children and I) became enthralled with what we were doing. Every evening I would look back and reflect on what happened. It was amazing to see how much learning was taking place. I was hooked! I dropped the weekly themes that were occurring in the morning and collaborated with the children.
About a year later I heard of the Reggio Approach to education, an approach that originated in Italy after WWII that was just beginning to be introduced to the U.S.. I went to multiple conventions and workshops on the approach and found as much reading material as I could. This was what I was doing, it validated what I knew was right for children; they are capable! Relationships and social skills are vital! As I was entering college I dove into this approach and was very lucky to have instructors who supported me.
While going to college for my Type 04 Teaching Degree (0-3 rd grade) I played intercollegiate basketball and volleyball. I loved every minute of it. At the end of my second year in college the opportunity to receive my Illinois Director Credential came my way. I was hesitant at first, but I do not regret one second of those last two busy years of college. I was taking classes to become a teacher as well as a leader in the Early Childhood field. I graduated in 2005 with a Type 04 Teaching Degree and an Illinois Director Credential Level II and started teaching right away.
After six years teaching early childhood I took the next step in my career and became a Director. I had the best of both worlds; teaching and directing. I learned a lot about myself and how far you can go when you have one goal in mind; the children. No matter what the situation was, every decision was based on the best interest of the children and no one could disagree. The program blossomed with the support of the teachers, staff, and community.
In the spring of 2013 my family and I moved to Geneva at the same time we found out we were expecting our second daughter! It was difficult to find a program similar to the variety of options we had in the city. It is was not the safety or care they would receive that I was concerned about. I wanted our children to be thinkers, not doers. I wanted our children to think outside the box, not be afraid to make a mistake, be persistent, resourceful, experience nature, and collaborate with others. My husband suggested I start my own program, which I did in the summer of 2015 with the goal to expand the program out of our home when the time and space was right.
Well, here we are. Mill Creek Early Childhood Program begins demo is in December with our hope to be open by the summer/fall. My goal to bring our one-of-a-kind Reggio inspired program to the children and families in the area is happening! I cannot wait for you to step foot into our building and see for yourself what sets us apart from other programs! You can follow our development on Facebook and I look forward to meeting you and your family!
Certifications: Type 04 Early Childhood Teaching Certificate Illinois Director Credential, Level II CPR & First Aid Certified Food Sanitation Manager 20+ years of experience