I have been working with young children and their families for almost 30 years. After having received a lifetime secondary teaching credential from UC Berkeley, California in 1972, and following the birth of my daughter in 1977, it was the love of parenting that drew me to the field of early childhood, a combination in my mind of parenting and teaching that I found to be irresistible. I realized that I had found my calling as a teacher with preschoolers and their parents.
I then went back to school to train at Cabrillo College's Early Childhood Education Department with some inspiring, motivating instructors including Janis Keyser, the author of the text we use here at the co-op, and Julie Olsen Edwards, a founder of the department itself. I also attended San Jose State University to become certificated in Adult Education with a parenting emphasis.
I first worked at Westside PENS Co-op for five years beginning in 1986. I found at that time that I loved working with parents and children together in the same setting. This allowed for the creation of a rich, hands on, age appropriate curriculum for young children as well as a fabulous opportunity for experiential learning for their parents.
After that time in 1992 I helped to create and establish Emeline Childcare Center, an on-site early childhood facility in Santa Cruz for working parents. I was the Director/Teacher at that center and ran it for almost 10 years. I brought to that site some of the wonderful parent involvement and education that I had practiced at the co-op, and parents were once again eager to be involved. The center is still thriving today. In 1999 I began attending JFK University in Campbell. I returned to a co-op setting, (Soquel PENS) in 2002. Now a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since the summer of 2012, I integrate this training into my work at the co-op.
My love of art, music, books, puppetry, dance, creating a beautiful child-friendly environment that invites exploration, a newly developing interest in natural sciences (thanks to my teaching partner Kim), and working directly with parents and children in a classroom setting all offer me much personal satisfaction. I plan to continue my co-op teaching, and to eventually add a part-time private practice in family counseling.
At the co-op I offer seminars about child development, coaching and insight for parents as a means to successful parenting, and other related topics for families. I cherish this opportunity to work with children and parents in the same setting, empowering both children and adults to deepen their self esteem, to discover their gifts and strengths, to express themselves in a safe environment, and to open to a world of possibilities for learning and for developing community.
Married since 1971, I am the mother of a grown daughter who lives locally. I have always loved being a mother, and I value family life and the diversity of culture and value that it brings. As a long time married person I understand the challenges of relationship and the growing twists and turns that it entails.
I am inspired and nourished by the creation of community and revel each year in the community that we are able to create both in each classroom and in the school as a whole. I love the exuberance, vitality, and resourcefulness of young children, and the passionate involvement and energetic dedication of their parents. This job is a gift!
In 2010, Teacher Nancy had the honor of being awarded Community Hero by the Community Assessment Project (CAP) of Santa Cruz County. The Community Assessment Project (CAP) has annually honored community heroes, special individuals whose efforts help move Santa Cruz County toward the achievement of the community goals. These true-life heroes can be found throughout the community and are wonderful examples of making Santa Cruz County a better place to live.
Nancy earned this award under the Education goal: "by the year 2010, more schools will have Pre-Kindergarten programs available for all children."
Quoting CAP in reference to the 3PENS teachers, "with over 150 years of combined teaching experience, these remarkable individuals have helped thousands of local adults cultivate stronger parenting skills, nurtured parents' leadership and community-building expertise, and provided the highest quality preschool experience for young children in order to prepare them for elementary school and beyond.
Their skill and commitment to parent and children has had a lasting effect in our community. 'Words are not adequate to explain how much these teachers mean to the children and parents of PENS, even long after the children have graduated from preschool (and long after the parents have 'graduated' too!)'" We feel blessed to have such amazing educators offering their guidance, experience and knowledge to our parents and children. Thank you Teacher Nancy!!