Hi, I'm Lisa!

lisa

Tell us a little bit about yourself. My first experience working with young children was as a babysitter and nanny, then as a camp counselor.  Soon I found myself working in a small playgroup in Brooklyn.  While working there I was given a copy of Maria Montessori's biography, shortly after reading it applied and was accepted to Montessori Northwest in Portland, OR where I completed my AMI primary training.  This was a highlight of my life and I have been joyfully guiding children in beautifully prepared Montessori environments for the past 4 years. I also have a Bachelors Degree in Art from Hunter College and a Master's Degree in Education from Loyola University.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a teacher? You must be patient.  This is hard work. You must love the children unconditionally.  Even when you have bad days, and more importantly when they have bad days.  You must respect and observe the children.  They are capable of more than they are often given credit for.  Prepare to be tired after each day and go to sleep thinking of all the children in your class.  Always be prepared for whatever may be thrown at you...there will be a lot.  But all the love and hugs and drawings you will get will make up for any of the hard times 10 fold!  Read all you can about child development and early childhood education.  Talk to and get advice from other teachers.  Have a good sense of humor and don't be afraid to laugh. 

How can we, as teachers of children, work to build a society where people are respectful towards each other and the environment? We must model respect toward one another and the environment.  The children will do what we do.  It is not enough to tell them what to do. We must show them and involve them in what we do.  We compost with the children.  We recycle with the children. We sing with the children.  We say thank you to the children.  We read books with the children that show people of color and women succeeding and being celebrated.  We tell the children true stories of peace and perseverance.  We celebrate earth day everyday.  We celebrate black history everyday. We celebrate women's history everyday.  We don't tolerate.  We embrace and we love.

What is your philosophy on and approach to behavioral management? Behavior is the language of the child.  For long range behavioral management.  I observe to try and see the root as to why the child is ""misbehaving"" so that I am best able to help them.
In the moment, for small ""misbehaviors"" I use positive phrasing such as saying ""please, walk"" instead of ""don't run.""  This is respectful and also gives the child a direction for the desired behavior.  For something more serious I would take the child aside, get down to their level and speak to them in a low voice.  I would ask questions to determine what is causing the misbehavior and discuss consequence and follow through with explanation of a  desired behavior."

Do you have experience working with children with special needs? If so, please specify. Yes, I have worked with children with learning disabilities involving speech delays, developmental delays and sensory deprivation.  I have also worked with children who have been living in poverty, have experienced a death in the family.  I have also worked with children who have experienced physical and sexual abuse and have been the victims of neglect. 

Are there any projects you’ve done (related or unrelated to teaching) that you’d like to share? I founded a community dance in Brooklyn, NY called Brooklyn Contra.  I teach and am a student at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina where I have taken classes in knitting, spinning, quilting, ceramics, paper arts, book making, dancing and cooking.  

Credentials: Connecticut Teaching License, Bacherlor's of Art, Master's in Education, AMI Primary Certification, Positive Discipline Certification, Music Together Certification