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.
Emily has worked with children since 1996 as an assistant and after school leader at The French-American International School. She became an assistant and then a teacher working with children birth to age 5 with special needs and their families, earning her teaching certificate in 2000.
Before staying home with her children, Sam and Cecelia, she worked at a small preschool, and was inspired by the Reggio approach to creating a thoughtful and child-led community. She believes adults have as much to learn from children, as children from adults, and very much enjoys the process of wonder and discovery all can learn from each other.
While caring full-time for Sam and Cecelia, Emily continued to volunteer with organizations supporting children, both at the Children’s Relief Nursery in St. John’s, and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, advocating for children in the state foster care system.
Emily enjoys spending time with her family reading silly stories, hiking, and walking and playing with their dog, Hugo. Emily and her family especially enjoy farm stays, where they can commune with the trees, streams, donkeys, and goats.
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.
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.