Erin’s interest in teaching and helping children grow goes back further than she can remember. She has been teaching for over twenty years, with the majority of her time focused on preschool. For the last thirteen years Erin has been teaching in the Reggio style, and her passion for this approach to teaching motivated her to create her own preschool over eight years ago. Erin feels that the flow of education in the form of “play” speaks to her own style of learning, and has seen this echoed in the educational and emotional growth of children in the classroom.
Continuing education has always been a focus for Erin through her entire teaching career, including studying Early Childhood Education at Western Oregon University. She currently takes continuing education courses in Child Development offered by Opal School, Mentor Graphics, Helen Gorden center and other local Reggio based classes. Other groups that she enjoys learning from include Multnomah County Childcare Resource and Referral, Mount Hood Community College and Portland Community College and The Swindell’s Center focusing on supporting children with special needs in an inclusive classroom setting.
Healthy eating and staying active are very important to Erin. Her hobbies include gardening, kayaking, Barre3 and hiking, camping, home canning, fermenting and preserving, and volunteering for local groups.
Ashley has been taking care of young children independently from the age of 12. Her interests have always centered around art, the use of creativity and child development. Ashley has been teaching on and off for the last ten years, but most especially for the two years that she worked at Childroots Center for Young Children. At this center, she acquired experience teaching under a Reggio Emilia inspired and RIE philosophy. Her role as a primary-care preschool teacher offered her the opportunity to be a co-learner in a cohort style classroom and teach a specialized art class every afternoon. In addition to being a co-teacher at OCP Ashley is also our art and yoga specialist.
Ashley’s educational goal is to get her Masters in Art Therapy and to specialize in young children, ideally in an educational setting. Ashley would like to explore a focus on children with higher sensory needs while using art.
Ashley’s interests primarily revolve around art. She is a watercolor painter, and enjoys multimedia creations. Her hobbies include writing, sketching, cooking/baking and nature walks.
Heidi, Our Music Specialist
Heidi joins us weekly, and is able to sing with the whole school at least twice a month. She has become a very special part of our teaching staff because she motivates the children to express their emotions and ideas in songs!
Heidi loves to help us move our bodies in large ways as we dance and sing, building large motor control and getting our wiggles out. She encourages us to be creative with our hands and fingers, helping us build our fine motor control in fun new ways, as we create parts of the song with our hands.
As our music specialist, Heidi brings many new enriching materials to help us explore music on a deeper level. Sometimes we use scarves, big drums, rhythm sticks, boom sticks, or bells.
Heidi’s work with children began many years ago. She has been a nanny, social worker and teacher for over twenty years. Heidi has taught music in the public and charter schools here in Portland, as well as Music Together classes. She fell in love with the Music Together program when her son was very young and they attended classes together. Heidi is not only an amazing music teacher and musician, she’s also a wonderful mama and wife.
Darin has been part of the school from day one. He is a key member of our teaching staff who acts as daily support for teachers and children when needed. As an extra helping hand, Darin is always available when our school is taking on larger projects. He enjoys time with the children, as well as documenting projects through pictures and the daily journal. He is our substitute teacher, handyman, creator of structures and objects in our indoor and outdoor environments, and loves taking a hands-on approach to the development and evolution of our school.
Darin graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Fine Arts, focusing on computer graphics. He thrived on his experience so much he stayed for another year and earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts (B.F.A.). Darin has always had a keen eye for design and enjoys technical and structural problem solving. He is a self-taught woodworker, electrician, repairman, and loves taking on MacGyver-level projects. Creating something new and original is a challenge he thrives on.
Darin loves spending time with family, keeping up with technology, projects for the school, skiing, hiking, rock climbing, geocaching, kayaking reading sci-fi and writing electronic music.