Lead teacher – Nido Room
I began my early childhood education career at New GreenbrierPreschool in 2004. During my time at NGPI was mentored by innovative teachers whose lessons I still carry with me today. That school’s closure led me to Greenbrier Community School where I have been teaching in the NIDO classroom for 6 years.
I absolutely love the working environment; the family feeling of the school and being inspired creatively by my fellow co-workers. My current classroom assistants are Emma Harvey, (who just joined our classroom this year and was instantly loved by the students), Jeanie Zopp, and Michele Brooks.Jeanie, Michele and I have worked together for over 12 years. This has not only allowed us to create a good working relationship, but one of friendship as well.
I live just outside of Lewisburg with my husband John (who I have been married to for 26 years) and two cats and a turtle. Our two grown children are continuing our family's Mountaineer tradition and are both students at West VirginiaUniversity. So, while my “nest” at home is empty, I am blessed to be able to come to the full NIDO Nest every day.
Our classroom is a Reggio-Inspired Classroom, meaningI take inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach which believes children are capable learners and that they bring their own knowledge and ideas with them to the classroom. I view my role as a collaborator, observer and facilitator, using the students’ interests to help guide the curriculum. Our classroom environment is known as the “Third Teacher” meaning we must set it up to be engaging, stimulating, home-like and comforting. Students must be able to learn through the experiences of touching, moving, listening, observing and creating. We look at each student as an individual and meet them where they are, recognizing that each child develops at their own pace.
One of the biggest goals of the year is to build strong classroom community. We do this through collaborative artwork and play, learning to name feelings and emotions, and building empathy.We begin our year in our “nest” allowing our students to become comfortable and confident. As the year progresses and our students are ready, we will begin to do activities with other classes, which helps to build relationships outside of the classroom. When we get a student, we get the whole family.Some of the best days of our year are when we plan activities that bring the students’ families into our classroom.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
Play is an essential part of early learning. The students are learning to share, negotiate, cooperate and communicate.It gives children the opportunity to explore, observe, take risks, be creative, and learn about themselves. As an educator, my role is to incorporate age-appropriate learning activities into hands-on play. We look at the interests of the students and where they are developmentally, and we craft provocations to scaffold on what they already know. The main goal of our classroom is to get the students excited about learning and to help them fall in love with school. Once they are excited about coming and feel comfortable, that is when the real learning begins.
“The child is the curriculum.” – Sally HaugheyToby Garlitz