Hi, I'm Miss Tara!

I speak English. I can understand a little Italian and French.

I speak English. I can understand a little Italian and French.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello. I am currently 3/4 into achieving a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education, from Brooklyn College. I hold both a BFA and MFA in Fine Art/Printmaking. I have taught art to children of all ages over many years through community based organizations. I grew-up in NYC and attended The Rudolf Steiner School. My philosophies embrace those of Waldorf, Reggio Emilia and Montessori. I am committed to teaching the whole child through providing comfort, safety and experiences that feed the mind and develop the senses. 

What's your philosophy on what it means to be a great teacher? A great teacher is someone who instills a passionate desire and curiosity for learning in a student. A great teacher is able to observe, see  and foster a persons individual learning capabilities and needs. A great teacher is loving, compassionate, patient, knowledgeable, unbiased, collaborative, inspired and excited to be a teacher!

What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a teacher? A love of learning and excitement for sharing knowledge and experience should be in your core, if you want to become a teacher. It is important that you honestly know your own strengths and weaknesses and be capable of open reflection of experience and observation. Being a teacher is not a 9-5 job, but a full-time commitment to a life of giving, involvement and evolution. If you are capable of these attributes then I would say, you are off to a good start as a teacher.

In your opinion, what is the role of the live teacher in a world where it is becoming increasingly easy to get access to information through the internet and online courses? I have a friend who homeschooled her son for four years, until he was ready for middle school. Almost everything she did with him was hands on learning through providing him with as many intellectual, physical and spiritual experiences possible. He has grown into a very well-rounded, curious and smart young man. There were times when her extraordinary education and worldly knowledge could not provided him with what he needed to learn in certain subjects. The internet and on-line teaching opened up a collaboration for her and her son, to work this other educators from around the world. Nothing will every replace hands-on learning and human contact, however  the internet can be used as an amazing tool.

How can we, as teachers of children, work to build a society where people are respectful towards each other and the environment? I have had the opportunity to do extensive reading and research on the UN Rights of the Child Treaty, The Swedish education model and the Finnish education model. I also attended the International Play Association/USA Conference at Rutger's University in 2016. Briefly, some ways our education system differs and could benefit from these models is: promoting the rights and community responsibilities children have in their education and as vital parts as good citizens of the world community, promoting equality between people and nature, giving teachers greater respect and responsibility, and involving families and local communities more in teaching children. 

Who was your favorite teacher and why? Mr. Bill Fordham was my 1st-3rd grade teacher. His image will forever be etched in my mind. His eyes were always bright, his smile was the biggest in the entire world, and his laughter was so sincere. Mr. Fordham spent a lot of personal time with me, he made me feel cared for, loved and respected. I remember him kneeling beside my desk and talking to me about my work, and drawing with me. He was a great storyteller whether creating fictional stories, sharing his adventures or teaching history, literature or science. He was playful, honest and serious if need be. He was so loved and respected by our class, that 30+ years later half of our original class continues to maintain contact with him. 

Share a teaching memory that had a profound impact on you.  I will pick a recent experience which amazed me in terms of the amount of information children absorbed and retain at the age of 4. In early fall I read my class the book "Fletcher and the Falling Leaves". It tells the story of a fox that is worried about the leaves falling from his favorite tree and in trying to save the tree ties it's leaves back on. I read the book once. 3 weeks later our dwarf maple in the yard lost all it's leaves. One child spearheaded an effort with his classmates to save the little tree! Every day the children tied leaves onto the tree. This led into a wonderful tangible learning moment to talk about science, seasons, weather, different kinds of trees and leaves. It was fantastic! 

What is your philosophy on and approach to behavioral management? This is a difficult question. Parents from all walks of life have varying expectations when it comes their own child's behavior and behavior management. I am open minded. I believe a certain decorum in a learning environment is necessary. I have found the best way to manage behavioral problems, is to calmly sit and talk to a child or children, listen and make suggestions. Children need to feel safe to express their feelings. They also need to understand the feelings of their peers and others. Communicating through words, expressions and actions are important, when they can. I will never single out a child. Lot's of hugs always help.

Do you have experience working with children with special needs? If so, please specify. I have been trained to identify special needs.

Are there any projects you’ve done (related or unrelated to teaching) that you’d like to share? I have many projects and curriculum idea's. I can provide lesson plans and research papers on request.

Credentials: BFA Maine College of Art, Portland ME, MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills MI, Handwriting without Tears, NYC