I have been with Spirit At Play for the last 16 years. Playacting Gritch the Witch one day, Ms. Oxygen the next, and Monster Mama another. I made my home in Missoula years 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 and keep abreast of current early education practices through local conferences and classes.
I have spent the last decade and a half with children who attend Spirit At Play, sometimes ensconced between the four walls, but more often than not, trailing behind them through the parks and trails of our Missoula community in search of adventure together. My philosophy of education includes exploration of our surroundings and respect of each other and the environment. I believe that children are capable of great things if we learn to trust them and allow that exploration. It helps that I am still a child at heart, eager to enter into the world of the children around me, donning whatever character is needed to complete the play at hand.
I love being in the classroom because to me it is a place of magic. Children are eager to learn from someone who is kind and patient and accepting; children are also eager to teach, and have so much to offer! Daily I am amazed at their ability to absorb information and their enthusiasm for life. In all the 20 years here, I can honestly say I have never experienced a dull moment.
…more’s the pity…
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 and promoting critical thinking skills. Mindfulness and respect are also underlying tenets of my classroom. We show appreciation for each other with celebrations. We 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 beyond our classroom walls and try to leave each place better than we found it.
We keep our minds, bodies and spirits healthy with morning exercises, namaste’s to the sun, and thinking outside of the box for solutions. We encourage healthy eating and teach children to reduce waste by reusing and recycling to promote a healthy world.
We are small children, doing powerful things.