Biography:

My name is Judy and I teach the Chickadee students! Growing up in Montana instilled in me a deep love of mountains, fresh air, clean water, and open spaces. I made my home in Missoula decades ago and plan to stay as long as there are mountains to climb and trails to explore. I received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Montana but discovered —after working with young children — that early education is a niche that fulfills me.

Personal: Married to Bicycle Bob, childless mother who has raised over 400 children!

Activities: Biking, gardening, beekeeping, running up and down hills, rudimentary sketching, rearranging furniture, vintage shopping and Rummikub.

Fan of all things green: trees, kale, salad, beans and sustainability.

Preschoolers are impressionable, curious, loving and unpretentious. Working with them stimulates me physically and mentally: They keep me on my toes and grounded in love. I appreciate—and capitalize on—the freedom to venture beyond the four walls of our classroom and discover the beauty of our community. I believe that children learn best through exploration and they are capable of great things if we learn to trust them and allow them to lead. Daily I am amazed at their ability to absorb information and their enthusiasm for life. In the two decades I have taught here, I can honestly say I have never experienced a dull moment.

Teaching Philosophy:

We Chickadees celebrate childhood through play and curiosity. Our classroom is a place of imagination, friendship and exploration. The outdoors is a powerful teacher, creating opportunities to use our senses and wonder about the world around us. Most days you will find us exploring a natural park or wandering a trail throughout Missoula, peering under rocks for worms, stooping low on the sidewalk to observe the ants or pretending to be wolves in the dogwood forest. Inside our classroom you will find natural materials and colors, a reflection of our wonderful world outside.

The foundation of my teaching philosophy is comprised of positive guidance and giving choices, encouraging autonomy, celebrating individuality, promoting critical thinking skills, and, above all, being mindful and respectful in all that we do. We show appreciation for each other with celebrations and cultivate friendship with kindness and sharing. We talk to each other to solve problems. We explain our hurt. We give hugs of concern and care. We share smiles with strangers. We send arrows of love to passing ambulances. We explore the community and try to leave each place better than we found it. We keep our minds, bodies and spirits healthy with morning exercises, thinking outside of the box for solutions, and healthy eating. We practice sustainability with the 5 Rs: refuse, reuse, repair, recycle, and let it rot.

We are small children, doing powerful things.