Hi, I'm Kristen!
Tell us about yourself. I have been facilitating learning through play with more than 1,000 children for over 15 years. My experience ranges from 1:1 coaching, museum programs, camps, co-ops, curriculum design and enrichment programs with children, teenagers, adults and parents. In 2012 I founded Crayon Power, providing alternative learning experiences to help kids and families learn through exploration in environments that develop both independence and social skills. My goal is to strengthen your children’s problem-solving skills and encourage their emotional intelligence through visual art, music, writing, and just ‘good old fashioned goofin around’ to inspire personal connection and intimacy.
What's your philosophy on what it means to be a great teacher? I'd much rather explain my philosophy on what it means to be a GUIDE and be a teacher-friend. I am exposing individuals (age 0 to death) to a life-style known as Natural Play Therapy... that means I'm not just relaying information to children, parents, staff and volunteers... I'm living it out in real time. That requires being willing to be vulnerable and modeling making mistakes with integrity and grace. I practice the constant desire to explore, observe, show interests and expand my love for learning in a way that is desirable to others. I believe in giving people space to join me in their own time and seek out opportunities to be able to listen.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? Ms. Hamer. She saw through my smoke screen, figured out I couldn't actually read, came up with a creative solution to boost my confidence and get me to recognize words differently. You can read the entire story here: http://www.crayonpower.com/origin-of-crayon-power.
What is your philosophy and approach to behavioral management? The Oxford Dictionary definition of behavior is "the way in which a person, organism, or group responds to a specific set of conditions". In our modern education system, the term has come to refer to children's 'less desirable' responses and can at times pigeonhole children learning impulse control in ways that do not promote self-esteem or social growth. I believe that all behavior is a form of communication that should be explored and respected. We give our participants lots of space to explore their emotions and sensations while maintaining clear boundaries of how we (as a group) want our environment to feel. My primary goal is to model kindness above all else.
Do you have experience working with children with special needs? My experience working with children with special needs spans back to when I was fourteen (I'm now in my 30's). More importantly I identify as 'differently abled' and 'neuro diverse'. My life experience and first-hand accounts of various therapies has proven to be helpful in aiding my Crayon Power members in their own education and life choices. Many of the children I've coached have diagnosis' of ADHD, Autism, Sensory Integration Disorder and Anxiety. More often then not the kiddos that employ me express that I have impacted their lives for the positive.
Credentials. I am a certified teacher and provider of Natural Play Therapy (NPT) and a board certified Special Needs Life Quality Coach through TERI Campus of Life. I hold an MA in Art Management, with a minor in Museum Education, an Certificate of Science in Multi-modal Learning and Communication through Teachers College, and a BA in Fine Art Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology (National Technical Institute for the Deaf). Additionally, I am a provider of The Listening Program and inTime through Advanced Brain Technologies. I have received training in several play-based autism therapies such as Floortime/DIR, RDI, and The Son-rise Program. I have also completed course curriculum for Handwriting Without Tears, Get Set For School, HANDEL, RAMAPO for Children Camp Coordinator Training and Anat Benial Method. I am certified in CPR through the American Heart Association. I hold membership with Energy Medicine Professionals Association, Healing Touch Association, and AERO