Molly WilsMolly_profilepic_2015on: Head Teacher

Molly is a great example of what early education is all about. Being a Co-op Preschool alum, she is excited to come full circle and contribute to the same nurturing community that she enjoyed as a child. With a degree in social sciences and a concentration in early childhood development, pursuing her Masters in education was a natural progression. She is thrilled to work with children and their parents during this exciting time of development. Her past experience of working with children reinforced her belief in the importance of the relationship between teachers, parents and their children. Children are drawn to her warm, happy and energetic personality. Molly is as excited to teach her little students as she is to learn from them and she can’t wait for the year to start!

Jessica Tilden: Toddler Teacher

Jessica is so excited to be teaching the Toddler Class for a second year! She has a Masters of Arts in Special Education from Belmont University and four years of teaching experience in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. She took a break from teaching when her son was born – but is enjoying being back into the classroom! Jessica’s family has been actively involved at VMCP for the past three years, and she has served on the board, as well. Her family moved to Vashon Island when her son was just a year old, and they are so grateful for the connections and community they’ve found at VMCP. She looks forward to helping other families make those connections, getting silly and messy with the kiddos, and making Co-op a bright spot in your week.

Elaine Webster: Toddler Parent EducatorTeacherElaine_Felix_2015

I have been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, child mental health specialist and parent educator since 1990 working in community mental health and private practice.

I have worked with parents from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience.
I continue to be humbled by the way parents support and learn from each other, especially when their own experience of being parented was either very different or far from ideal.

I am trained and experienced as a Reflective Parenting facilitator which is a model based on groundbreaking research in child development and the study of the neurobiology of the developing mind. The research showed that the single best way to positively impact the parent-child relationship is to increase a parent’s capacity to reflect on their relationship with their child that is, to think about the meaning that underlies behavior. This approach helps parents through all their child’s developmental stages, into the teen years! It provides practical tools as well as support and helpful information.

Currently, my family and I live between Seattle and Vashon having purchased some property on Vashon 3 years ago. I am impressed with the island community and culture and I am honored to become part of the Co-op Preschool.

Melanie Salonen: 3/4 & 4/5 Parent Educator

Melanie has enjoyed the honor and privilege of working as a parenting educator for almost fifteen years, including working with South Seattle Community College’s Cooperative Preschool program, being an advocate with the Readiness to Learn Program for middle school ages, and private consultation. She has also been a classroom teacher with children ages just-walking to ten, allowing her to understand and appreciate the importance of collaboration between families and schools. Melanie brings extensive training in many of the most respected schools of thought regarding parenting and brain development, including The Incredible Years, Second Step, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, the work of Daniel Siegel, and Responsive Classroom training. In addition to her undergraduate work in Child/Human Development and Family Support Certification, she is also a PCI Certified Parent Coach®

Teaching Overview

All the teachers at our Preschool are governed by the (NAEYC) National Association of the Education of Young Children’s core values:

  • Appreciating childhood as a unique valuable stage of the human life cycle (and valuing the quality of children’s lives in the present, not just as preparation for the future).
  • Basing our work with children on knowledge of child development (and learning)
  • Appreciating and supporting the close ties between the child and family
  • Recognizing that children are best understood in the context of family, culture, and society
  • Respecting the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual (child, family member and colleague)
  • Helping children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust, respect and positive regard. (Feeney & Kipnis 1992,3)

They also follow NAEYC’s guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice which are:

  • Creating a caring community of learners
  • Teaching to enhance development and learning
  • Constructing appropriate curriculum
  • Assessing children’s learning and development
  • Establishing reciprocal relationships with families