I received my degree in Childhood Education with a minor in Psychology at Chico State University in 1988 and have been continuously involved with children and families ever since. I have worked as a head teacher at a local, high quality preschool for 8 years, mentored student teachers from Cabrillo, taught workshops at state and local teachers’ conferences, facilitated support/play groups for parents of toddlers here in Santa Cruz, have taught at 3 different parent participation preschools, and instructed Positive Discipline parenting classes, workshops, and trainings.
A guiding influence has been the parenting program, Positive Discipline, based on very solid, healthy psychological practices and on the latest brain research. I love this approach so much because it promotes love and respect of children as developing humans equally balanced with the love and respect of the parent who needs to set appropriate boundaries so they are not over extending themselves or being too permissive. I am a Certified Positive Discipline Educator and Trainer in this international program. I have also been influence by and promote the works of Patty Wipfler and her Hand In Hand parenting organization based on the Parenting by Connection philosophy. I have studied and been influence by the practices of Non-Violent Communication founded by Marshall Rosenberg.
My most significant and uniquely educational experience in this field to date has been becoming a parent to my son and daughter. They are my greatest teachers bringing me lessons on patience, humility, clear boundaries, and love. I became a single parent in 2004 and know the ups and downs and unique challenges of this path.
I enjoy all the fun, educational curriculum that go with the preschool years but truly I believe these years are about getting away from the solitary play of the toddler years and into social play. The preschool years are all about how to make friends, how to fight and forgive, how to speak up for your needs without hitting and how to listen to another’s perspective. We work on simple things like how to take turns sharing a toy, how to invite rather than exclude other children, and how to manage our bodies as we sit side by side at circle. These take several years to master. For parents, the preschool years are about letting go of the baby years and letting your children step into more independence and gaining skills such as dressing, toileting, cleaning up and saying good-bye to you. We work on encouragement and communications skills, being firm and confident when needed, and compassionate and compromising when needed.
I have a passion for personal growth. I see the work of parenting as an avenue to continue the work of becoming your best self because our children deserve the best of us. For parents, I hope to offer inspiration for their journey of self-growth, not as someone who knows it all but as an equal, learning by their side.