Director / Lead Teacher - Toddler Program
I have been an educator in the field of early childhood since 2009 where I taught preschool aged children at our former child development program, Willow Street Schoolhouse. In 2012, I received my master's degree in Early Childhood Education in Portland, Oregon where I studied the value of inquiry based learning, emergent curriculum, and the Reggio Emilia approach. I returned to teaching at Willow Street upon completing graduate school, and in 2015 teamed up with Diana and Ian to open our doors at Pine Crest where I currently serve as both the Director and Lead Teacher of the younger classroom. Working alongside preschoolers inspires me to gain insight and understanding into how children learn through the sincere relationships that naturally form with each other so early on in life. I believe that children deserve the opportunity to learn through play, be respected and honored for their individuality, as well as be a part of an open minded and creative community that embraces the emergent curriculum approach to early childhood education. I also greatly value the inspiration that nature provides, both for children and their teachers alike, and very much appreciate the role it plays in our daily experience at Pine Crest.
Lead Teacher - Preschool/PreK Program
I began my journey as an educator as a private music instructor for youth, and did this for almost 10yrs. I found working with young people in this creative capacity deeply rewarding, but over time I desired to have a larger role in the foundational elements of young people. I wanted to deal more directly with their Social and Emotional development. I wanted to be more proactive in their health, happiness and fulfillment. So, I went back to school for Early Childhood Education.
Initially I worked in San Francisco at the bilingual CCSF Mission Campus Child Lab Preschool, and then started the PreK program at our sister school Willow Street.
Now, as the lead teacher of the preschool aged children at Pine Crest, I am fortunate enough to adapt and apply the PreK Emergent curriculum I started at Willow Street.
As an educator I am inspired by the inherent unpredictable nature, and insatiable thirst for knowledge that young children present. I love that everyday my primary responsibility is to use empathy, compassion, creativity, and experimentation in order to facilitate positive growth, development, and skills acquisition. In so many ways, by challengingly myself to continue to see the world as children do, I am always learning in tandem with them, and for that I am grateful- and without question a better person because of it.
Everyday, as a preschool teacher, I can honestly say I desire to learn. Working in Early Childhood Education has given me, on a daily basis, the chance to address the emerging challenges and developmental issues that children struggle with prior to them becoming permanent fixtures in their reality. I can focus on giving them the tools and skills to establish a healthy foundation and framework that they can then use for the rest of their lives.
Everyday I arrive at school and I say to myself—
What can I do to honor children's passion for experimentation and learning?
How can I create a dynamic, loving, nurturing, safe-space for them to play with their integrated senses and to express themselves without criticism?
What is the most respectful way to support struggle, promote the use of trial and error, allow them to take risks, define their own limitations, and expand their own understanding of themselves and the world they are intrinsically apart of?
How can I build a more intimate and personal relationship with each and every child?
I feel so fortunate to have been raised here in the Bay Area, for enumerable reasons, but especially because of its diverse, vibrant, and dynamic population. I grew up in Richmond CA, in a modest home, with a progressive, powerful single mother and my amazing older brother.
I still call Berkeley my home.
Teacher - Preschool/PreK Program
I haven't always worked with preschoolers, but I am so happy to finally be doing what I feel I was meant to do.
Before changing careers I was a Sign Language Interpreter for many years and in many different settings—Educational, Medical, Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation programs.
I ran a Family Childcare program in my home for several years, before going back to school to study Early Childhood Education at Diablo Valley College. I also have a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from UC Berkeley.
These days I am loving teaching at Pine Crest within its Emergent Curriculum philosophy.
I love and appreciate so many things about working with young children— witnessing how their minds work; watching them make connections and figure out how everything works, everything from making a block structure, to painting a picture, to making and sustaining a friendship.
I am inspired by watching them create their own child-sized worlds together and then play cooperatively within them. I truly love spending time in nature with them and sharing in the excitement they feel when they find an insect or realize they can climb a steep hill on their own. I see the teacher's role as a provider of invitations, provocations, materials, and opportunities to learn through play.
In my spare time I love to hike, do art, and spend time with my family which consists of a husband and two twenty-something grown(ish) children, and a dog.
Teacher - Preschool/PreK Program
I started working with young children when I was 13 in Utah ( I am 51 now) and I have been fascinated by their ways of learning ever since. Every day is filled with exploration, curiosity and a fresh way of looking at things for the kids and for me!
I have a background in Montessori, Reggio and emergent curriculum. But I believe that each child learns differently. My goal is to find the best styles to further their growth in the way that works best for them.
I am an avid gardener and have spent the last 7 years incorporating that into my teaching style. Watching young kids figure out the seasons and cycles of growth, where food comes from and that the death of a flower means the growth of new flowers makes me appreciate our earth in a new light.
I am continually grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from young children.
Teacher - Toddler & Preschool/PreK Program
I began my career in early childhood education nearly 12 years ago, soon after moving to the US from Japan. Initially I got into the field because of my appreciation for children's growth, in addition to my own desire to practice English. Although I began my journey in ECE primarily as Teacher Support, I have over the years found it increasingly more and more meaningful to work directly with the children. At this point in my career I would say that I appreciate equally the Teacher Support role and the role of direct support of the children. Both roles, to me, are important elements in a healthy and harmonious classroom.
I am grateful to play a role in supporting children's play, curiosity, social, emotional, physical and creative needs.
Whether I'm sitting quietly with a child to ease them into the morning, laughing with them, or assisting them in their creative projects, I find great fulfillment in working alongside them everyday.
Teacher - Toddler Program
My passion for working with young children began back in 2006 when my sister Isabella was born. Being the oldest granddaughter in my family requires that I focus on being a role model to my sister and my cousins, and it makes me extremely happy to be that for them. In 2016, I began taking ECE courses at SFSU where I realized that whatever my career was going to be, children had to be involved. I started working as a Teacher’s Assistant at Felton Institute in San Francisco where I was mentored and exposed to working with children birth to six, including those with special needs. I was there for 2 years and loved it, I learned a lot. I enjoyed observing children through play and witnessing their growth and development overtime. As an educator, every day children amaze me with their curiosity, eagerness to learn, and how affectionate they can be with each other.
This past May 2018 I graduated from San Francisco State University with my bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and a minor in special education. Over the years that I have been in the classroom, I have learned that language development plays a huge role in a child’s first years of life. I plan to earn my masters degree to become a speech language pathologist. I want to help children overcome any speech related delays they may have so that they can be very successful now and in their future.
My role as an educator is to provide a safe, nurturing, and fun learning environment to your children. I am thrilled to be part of the Pine Crest community and to be able to support your children in all aspects.