To sum up how I, Stormie, feel about all the great folks I've met through my website, I'll speak in the words of C. S. Lewis who said:
I am a teacher of 3 and 4 year olds at Living Word Christian Academy, in West
Donna Allen: I have a private preschool in West Virginia called "A-is-for-Apple." I've been working with preschoolers since 1979 when my daughter turned two, and I love every minute of it. I like to take about 14 three year olds or 16 4 year olds at a time, with one other teacher. I wouldn't trade my job for anything in the world.
Susi Alvarez: Hi! I'm a teacher with Head Start in Phoenix Arizona. I've been teaching young children for over 10 years, and I love what I do! I'm also a conference presenter, I give presentations on a variety of subjects relating to ECE. Currently, I have been accepted to present at the Region IV Head Start Conference in Reno NV in January of 2000, and at The National Center for Family Literacy conference in Orlando FL, also in January of 2000! I have presented locally before, but this is my first time going "national" -- I'm excited and a bit nervous! It's going to be great, I know it! Well, that's me professionally. As to my personal life, I'm a single Mom of three wonderful children. We have lots of fun together, like most families. Thanks for letting me share myself with you. I'm honored to be a part of this "Kindred Spirits" page!
Amber: I live in Arkansas and am 22 years old. I'm currently employed at one of the biggest preschools in our area. We have a daycare and a nightcare program. I mostly work with school- age children. I am still in college and hope to pursue a career in some form of therapy (physical, occupational, or music). For some reason I seem to bond best with children with autism and autistic tendencies. I work with a number of children with ADD and ADHD. I believe that working with children requires a special gift and I thank God for that gift. I currently teach Sunday School at my church that I have attended all my life. I teach the Upper Elementary class and love it. I'm not married yet but I believe God has a special person for me somewhere.
Amie, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: I am 26 and have been in childcare for 7 years. We just opened a new center in July and I was promoted asst director as well as the pre-k teacher. I love childen and my job. I wouldn't change anything I do for the world. I was just married last year and we have no children of our own. My dream is to adopt someday and make a child's life the most wonderful thing! I try to do that now, I treat the kids like they are my own, and I spend many long hours doing things for my room and kids.
Laurie Aravich: I live with my husband and daughter in Manasquan, New Jersey (down on the "Jersey Shore"). I am teaching a 2 year old class this year after six years of working as an administrator. I was a director of a very small company based center (birth-5yrs) and then an assistant director at a much larger private school (birth-5th grade) which is also the school where I teach now. After having my daughter (Izabella) 18 months ago, I decided to return to teaching. The schedule is much better, so I have more time for my family. (We are expecting our second child this spring.) I have a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood and that is my love. I have been in this field for over 12 years and have taught various ages from 13 months to 4 yr olds. I have a fondness for toddlers as everything is so amazing and exciting to them, and they have so much energy (which has it good and bad sides, of course :-)
Elysia M. Aufmuth: I'm Child Care Director at The Velocity Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana. I've worked with children in a variety of settings including summer camps, homes, emotionally/behaviorally disturbed programs, high schools, and now a community, non-profit center. Since I began working with the Velocity Foundation in October 2000, I'm particularly proud of the growth we've made from "babysitting" to educating our young children. I'm always looking to create connections with other child care agencies in the New Orleans area, and I encourage others to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy B, Wild Things Childcare, Minnesota: I've been a licensed family child care provider 10 years, am a mentor, and set up training for my county association. I care deeply about special needs children and wish to see them in long-term child care settings that are nurturing and enable them to have friendships and a sense of worth and belonging. I also work on an anti-bias project to bring resources directly to child care providers so that they may have books, music, and creative experiences with children that exposes them to other cultures and abilities, and affirm their own home culture and abilities. It is based on everyday experiences and is not holiday/travel oriented. I'm also an environmentalist -- I don't even use plastic bags, and the babies in my care wear cloth diapers. I love to sew and create simple fabric toys & puzzles; making cloth dolls of every color and character (personality) is extremely fun and rewarding to me. I've been married 30 yrs to the same guy and have 3 grown kids.
Becky Barlow: I live in Hallsville, Texas, with my husband of 12 years, James. We have two beautiful girls, ages 3 and 8. My family loves spending time at Winter Park, in Colorado, just playing in the snow. In fact, we enjoy our many vacations touring America's national parks, and our goal is to visit them all, even if it takes a lifetime. America has so much to offer! James and I were high school sweethearts, dating 8 years before getting married. I have an Associate Degree in Fashion Merchandising from Kilgore Junior College. However, I later decided to go on to Harding Christian University in Searcy, Arkansas, majoring in Early Childhood Development. My mother owns a local preschool where I now work.
Sheryl Bauer: I am a MN licensed teacher in grades 1-6, but have worked with various ages and abilities from early childhood to high school seniors. I taught one year of preschool at a MN university child care center also. We have moved to Wisconsin where I am looking forward to teaching preschool again.
Lani Becker: I am 54 years old and have been teaching for almost 25 years! I now live in Thailand, but when I was in the states, most of my teaching was done in the primary level. However, about 10 years ago I began to feel I was in a rut. I still enjoyed it, but it seemed to be the same thing each year... SO I began to 'regress,' so to speak. I moved backwards until I found kindergarten! About the same time, I decided that since I was making changes in my life, why not really change things? I was a "military brat," and most of my childhood was spent overseas...so I began thinking about returning to some of the places. So the task began. Making a long story short, I returned to Thailand after having been away for 30 years! I spent my first two years teaching in a lovely city called Chiangmai, in the northern part of the country. I then decided to stretch my American Patriotism and teach at a British School in the south of the country near Pattaya, Thailand. That's where I am now...and the patriotism has been spread rather thinly, so I'm returning once again to Chiangmai. I find that teaching in a culture full of cultures is the most amazing, eye opening, exciting, fantastic form of teaching known to man (or woman). I've had to take everything I have learned in my years in the classroom and tear it apart, twist it around, add it to gestures and dances and songs, and then do it all again...slowly. And the most wonderful thing about this...I am more in love with teaching than ever before. I can make my own brown paper bags... I can use mime to get the point across... and I have searched many a market place just looking for a "brad!" The one thing I am most thankful for through all of this is my son, who just smiles and shakes his head and sends me packages of stickers, jello, kool-aid and candy canes. I would love to hear from others. E-mail: email@example.com
Becky: I am a preschool teacher at a Christian preschool in Nichols, New York. I have 39 children this year, ages 3-5. I have one class Mon-Wed-Fri mornings, and another in the afternoons. I have a class of Pre K children on Tues & Thurs. I've been with the preschool for 14 years, first as a mom, then I was on the board, now I'm the Head Teacher. I had an associates degree already and went back to school in 1990 to change my degree to Early Childhood. It was sure different going back to college as an adult!! But I loved it.
Caroline BeGole-SA: I live in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. I have training in Early Childhood Education. I work at home doing childcare. I take care of five children, including my daughter who is three years old. I decided to stay home when I was on maternity leave. I love working at home and watching my daughter grow and flourish and just be a part of her world.
Beth Bennett: I teach 3 1/2 & 4 yr. olds at Open Arms Lutheran Child Development Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Our school has infants through first grade in a beautiful new building that we have already outgrown, but the plan is to build on an addition. Space for infant care is almost non-existant in Fairbanks. Our waiting list has 52 babies on it! My husband and I have lived in Alaska for 24 years, and our oldest daughter, who works for the Boy Scouts, is 23 and has two young children, both of whom attend Open Arms. My grandson is 3 1/2 and is in my class. Our granddaughter is 7 months old, in the infant room, which is a wonderful place! Our youngest daughter is 17, and works at Open Arms also. Our two boys are builders like my husband.
Beverly: I am from the Philippines and am 23 years old. I graduated from the University of the Philippines with a bachelor's degree in Elementary education and my area of concentration is Special education. I'm currently teaching 20 indigent children in the kindergarten level. This is my first year teaching preschoolers.
Amy K. Blaylock: I have been teaching Sunday school for about 4 years now. I loved it so much that I applied at our church to teach in the preschool. I love that even more. I'm 26 and I have one son, named Jake. He is the most wonderful gift I have ever received! He is the inspiration for almost everything I teach. I try most of my "school stuff" out on him first. I have been married for 6 1/2 years and love being a wife and mother. I live in Tennessee and have lived in the same town all my life. This is where my roots are, and I'm sure I'll be here for the rest of my life.
Bonnie: I'm an at-home-mom of three kids: Lauryn, 10 yrs old in Oct and just started 5th grade, James, 4 yrs old at the end of Sept, and Kelli, 8-1/2 mos. We are currently living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I found this website in search of inexpensive and creative ideas to help my son learn things like he would in preschool (since we can't afford it right now) to help prepare him for kindergarten. I guess you could say I'm "homeschooling" him. He doesn't learn the same way as his big sister so it's like starting from scratch! I really appreciate the work put into this site. It inspires me to want to be a preschool teacher, it sounds like a lot of fun!
Jinny Brooks: I work in Maine as an Ed Tech III, which is an assitant to the classroom teacher. I work in a special education composite room which is for those that require more assistance and are generally unable to be mainstreamed for the academics. The children are K-6 and the greatest joy in my life, other than my own children who are ages 21 and 23. My daughter, 21, is currently a senior at Westfield State College in Massachusetts, majoring in Special Education. My son is 23 and has just competed in the Special Olympics World Games in North Carolina. I hope anyone who has questions about anything will feel free to ask me and I will try to help. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheryl C: I'm from Portland, Oregon. I teach in a weekday morning children's program in my church. I am a 3yr old teacher as well as the program's assistant director. I have 3 children ages 5, 8, and 11 and I was a stay-at-home mom until my youngest was in preschool. I loved her school so much that I started teaching there myself, and that's where I am today! Being home with my own children is very important to me, so my teaching job works well with my mothering job. I see my children off in the morning and am home before they get off the school bus. I teach 3 mornings a week (though I end up staying there until around 2:00!). On my "off" days, I am often at my own children's school, being a teacher's assistant. I love the children that I teach, and I respect each of them as individuals. They all know that God made them all unique and special, and that they are loved. While I am their teacher, they often teach ME a lot!
Candy: I teach preschool in the down stairs of my own home (Candy's Preschool Land). I teach two sessions and have a total of 15 students. I received my degree from Southern Utah University in Family and Consumer Science Education. I taught at a high school for one year. Being with my children is very important to me so I decided to put off my high school teaching years until my children get older. I've always wanted to have my own preschool and thought I would start one so my children could benefit. This is my first year ('99) and I'm enjoying it a whole bunch. I am always open to new ideas.
Nicole Carson: I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with my wonderful husband, and I have been a Pre-K teacher at Sacred Heart School in Pinellas Park, going on six years. I'm loving every minute of it! I'm originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I taught 8th grade language arts at St. Helen Catholic School in Beavercreek. That was a wonderful experience for me, but I have found my niche with the little ones. I love what I do, and so I'm very happy to get to share my ideas and utilize those of other great teachers on Stormie's super site!
Chris: I own and direct a head start and child care program (for 23 years) in Oklahoma. I have a MBS degree in Psychology and an early childhood certificate. I previously was a high school guidance counselor and substituted for kindergarten-1st grade. When I have time, I teach classes for Oklahoma Training for Child Care Careers. I've been married 33 years and have two sons, and one grandson. My hobbies are writing poetry, reading, music, and web design. I really enjoy learning from others and sharing ideas. Feel free to e-mail me at: email@example.com
Christina: I'm a SAHM to 3 wonderful boys ages, 5, 4 (11 mo apart) and an 8 month old. My older children are attending Pre-K and I work with them at home as well. I feel that "reading" to my children is most important. Most schools sell scholastic books starting as low as 95 cents, a good deal even for those with little time, patience, or funds! At every parent teacher conference, the teachers commend me for working with my children at home. They say it really shows!
JoAnna Clark: I recently completed my Master's in Education at Fordham University in NYC while teaching Pre-Kindergarten in Yonkers. I never expected to enjoy teaching at this grade level so much, but I was truly inspired by the children, their love of life and learning! I have now relocated to the Central New York area, where I grew up, and am now teaching Universal Pre-Kindergarten in an inclusive program. I teach two half-day sessions, with twenty students in each.
Michelle Cearley: I wanted to start a home business so I could be a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys. So, after a year of reasearch and my awesome husband's support, I started Tiny Tots Academy. I love what I do, and being my own boss. I'm also a scrapbooking FANATIC, which really helps me in coming up with ideas and being creative.
Donna Coffey: I'm 46 years old and have been married for 32 years. I live in Kentucky and have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren. I worked in a sewing factory for almost 30 years, then they moved the factories to New Mexico and Honduras. I went back to school and got my teaching and director's diploma. But I'm not interested in being a director, only teaching. I have written 1 child's book and 6 children's songs. I have also written 40 gospel songs, the last one called "GOD'S CHILDREN."
Alisse Coil: I have taught kindergarten and 1st grade but I am really loving preschool. This is my third year teaching in the basement of my home. I am the mother of 5 children and live in Duchesne, Utah.
Colleen: I am a preschool teacher at Kindercare in Phoenix, Arizona. I just received my certification of completion for early childhood education. I am currently working on my CDA and associates degree. My director has recently asked me to be the NAEYC coordinator. (I am originally from Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in Dolton, Illinois.)
Ginger Craig: I am 26 years old and have been teaching preschool for just 5 months. I live in New York. I have a Bachelor of Science in Special Education, and a Master of Social Work. Previously I substitute taught elementary school special education, interned in foster care, and worked as a therapist in children's mental health. After receiving my MSW, I thought I'd go back to teaching so I could learn more about children before I attempted to work with them clinically (eventually I might like to do play and art therapy). I didnt expect to teach preschool, but when I inquired about this job, it just felt right. I teach 2 half-day classes, one being a special education class of twelve beautiful children with various mild disabilities. I am the one learning most -- from the children -- they remind me how beautiful the world can be. I am energized by their enthusiasm, and amazed by their insights. This job has also taught me that my patience is not quite what I thought it was, and that it really does take a tremendous amount of patience and strength to teach such young children. I'm also learning that when you believe in what you do, it's impossible not to take your job home, which can be daunting sometimes, but when you get to take home apples, artwork, glitter in your hair, paint on your jeans, memories of smiles, hugs, laughter, innocently brilliant comments, and small but big accomplishments, it is totally worth it!
Betty Crenshaw: I am 25 years old, married, mother of one, and a 1999 graduate of New Orleans School of Urban Missions (a Bible college), and a pre-k teacher at Kids Korner in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I have worked at Kids Korner almost four years, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I just started working with the pre-k class this past September. They are definitely my favorite age group!
Janette Cromell: I live in Munsing, Michigan where I own a childcare center. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you know who created the darling graphic at the top of this page, please e-mail me. I found it on a public access graphics site whose owner, I found out later, has been blacklisted for plagiarism of other graphic sites. So I don't want to credit the wrong person.