Age range: 1-2 years
Our Classroom Intentions:
We will nurture the children’s growing sense of themselves and their curiosity about the world around them. We will focus on the thinking and ideas of the children. Emerging interests and questions will guide our project work as the children continue to realize the power of their growing language and communication capabilities. We will foster the loving relationships that are blossoming and model what it means to be part of a strong community of learners. We will be supportive partners with our parents. We will exchange stories, insights, ideas, and skills.
Rachel Jefferson, Lead Teacher
Infant-Toddler Continuum Lead Teacher
While I was growing up, my father’s job had our family moving quite often. We lived in many cities in both the U.S. and Canada. I experienced many different kinds of schools, homes, and social settings and learned to adjust to my surroundings. After high school in St. Louis, MO, I headed to Des Moines, IA and got my degree in education at Drake University. I also met my sweetheart Josh and once I finished school, we were ready for adventures! We knew that we were looking for a new place to call home and we were both drawn to the west coast and all of its natural beauty. After a visit to some friends in Eugene (also excellent travel guides), we moved here 2 months later in June of 2000. I experienced a variety of jobs before I read the ad for a Lead Teacher position at the Co-op Family Center. I had learned about the Reggio Emilia philosophy in college and had always felt drawn to its respectful approach to teaching and learning. I became the School Age Teacher at the Co-op in 2002 and had my first child that next summer. After four years in the School-age classroom, my request was granted to try working in the younger rooms. I now feel that I have found my ‘home’ in so many aspects of my life including my work as a teacher. With the birth of our daughter, we also felt a kind of completeness within our family as well. We love living in Eugene and enjoy soaking up the good music, sports, amazing hikes, and positive energy that this city has to offer!!!
I believe that all children have the right to learn and grow in an environment that is safe, welcoming, respectful, and inspiring; a place where they are encouraged to explore with all of their senses. A place where there are endless chances to create their own ideas and test their theories about the world around them in ways that are meaningful to them.
I believe that children must have opportunities to learn from each other, as well as the time and space to experience things independently. Whenever possible, they should determine the pace and direction of the exploration at hand. We should honor their processes of wonder and discovery through a flexible curriculum that supports the spectrum of learning styles within that particular group of children; a curriculum that focuses on their capabilities, their growing autonomy, and their amazing potential. We need to observe, and then nurture, the physical, intellectual, creative, social, and emotional aspects of each child. We should look at the child as a whole person and as a cherished member of our community.
As teachers, I believe that we must strive to help children build a positive image of both themselves and others. This can happen through daily moments of collaboration, negotiation and connection with their peers, teachers, and family members. Strong and trusting relationships are central to the success of the learning community and also to promoting open communication and a desire to understand each other. We should be partners with the parents and try involving them in our experience as much as possible.
I believe in the importance of close observation, careful documentation, and thoughtful reflection of the learning that is happening every day. When teachers step back and slow down, there is a chance to notice something new. Not just what is going on, but possibly how and why something is happening a certain way. If we consider the thinking behind the actions of the children, we can start to recognize what motivates children to learn. This, in turn, should help guide teachers in how to best support children in communicating their ideas and questions.
I believe that the experience of learning with children is one of infinite joy, challenge, and possibility. It is a treasured opportunity and a huge responsibility. It is a role that influences both the present and future state of our world and I am forever grateful to play an active part in this dynamic process.
Cory Brown, Lead Teacher
Wobbler Continuum Lead Teacher
My story begins here at the Co-op. As a child, I attended this school. I started in the Toddler Room (around 2 years old) and worked my way up through the School-Age Room until I aged out at 11.
[Fun fact 1: My last year at the Co-op was also Rachel Jefferson’s (the Infant-Toddler Continuum Teacher) first year at the Co-op, and she became my teacher for that year!]
I volunteered here and there until 2010 when they hired me at 18.
[Fun Fact 2: My first year as a student teacher was in the infant room with Rachel, again! Also, my sister’s oldest was a child in our class!]
I was a student teacher for about 5 years until I graduated from the University of Oregon (with a Bachelor’s of Science in the Family & Human Services program and a minor in Queer Studies). Once I graduated, a position coincidently opened up at the Co-op, and I applied. I was hired in 2015 and have been loving each year I spend as the Wobbler Room Lead.
[Fun Fact 3: My sister has three children who all went to the Co-op, and I had the opportunity to teach each of them in the Wobbler Room!]
Work stuff aside, I have a lab/pit mix that I’ve had since he was two months old. His name is Zukko (named after a character from Avatar) and he has been a wonderful adventure companion.
I reflect on my education experience while being a student, and the most rewarding experiences were often those where I was having fun. I excelled when my assignments were not so rigid and when memorization of countless facts was not the focus.
My goal is to offer children activities that engage their bodies and muscles; projects that enrich their ways of thinking and provoke abstract thoughts; and experiences that challenge them to overcome internal hurtles.
The world is just waiting to be discovered and it is our job as teachers to provide the opportunities for discovery. I look forward to sharing in the wonder that comes from discovering something new.
I believe that all children deserve to be recognized for their uniqueness and I will work to celebrate differences. I hope to foster a sense of community, where everyone feels trusted and respected.
After attending the Reggio Children conference in Reggio Emilia, Italy (the birth place of the philosophy that our school strives to adapt), I came back with more ideas than my head could handle. Seeing the love for learning that those children have and hearing the amazing stories from teachers and pedagogistas (pedagogical coordinators) was overwhelmingly inspiring.
I hope to continue to provide these new generations of learners with the skills they need to be successful throughout their life’s journey, while still having fun! The world needs more laughter, more love, and more excitement. Hopefully we can instill these qualities, one child at a time.