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. She has a masters in education and has taught at the Co-op for over 10 years. Molly is the Co-op’s beloved head teacher and teachers the 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5(Pre-K) classes. She is thrilled to work with children and their parents during this exciting time of development. Molly’s experience of working with children has 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.
Alex Drissell: Baby and Toddler Teacher
Alex Drissell is overjoyed to return to co-op with ukulele in hand as the toddler teacher and teacher for the new baby class! She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Kansas and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. After nearly a decade of working in early childhood education, she most recently taught music at Chautauqua Elementary before the birth of her son, Wren, in December 2020. In addition to her academic and teaching experience, Alex has over 20 years of work and training in music, theatre, and dance in professional, academic and community settings. Her teaching approach is to foster a sense of wonder for children and parents alike through play, music, and storytelling.
Tami is a former Co-op mom, board president, and was even a Co-op student way back when. Most recently, she has been teaching preschool at Chautauqua’s ECEAP program and is happy to be here at Co-op working with our youngest community members and their parents. In her former career in human resources, Tami focused on training and adult education, and for 10 years she worked as a massage therapist and infant massage instructor. She has a bachelors of arts in Theatre from the University of Washington. Tami is the mom of two VMCP grads, an actor and comedian, an activist, and an avid volunteer, currently serving on The DOVE Project board of directors.
Kara Hill: Toddler Parent Educator
Kara is a certified teacher, licensed mental health counselor, and parent coach. Her love for teaching sprouted out of a High School internship program where she had the opportunity to work in a nearby elementary school. Since then, she has worked with youth and families in the public school system, in-patient psychiatric care, non-profit elementary schools in West Africa, outdoor programs, community mental healthcare, and in private practice. She has Bachelor’s degrees in Developmental Psychology and Education from CWU, and a Masters in Psychology from Seattle University. Kara also brings her training in Positive Discipline (Sound Discipline) and the intuitive process of Children Focusing (Focus Centrum Zeeland) to her teaching. She has taught parenting workshops both locally and to international audiences. One of Kara’s special interests is working with parents who know they want to parent differently than what they experienced themselves growing up. She helps parents identify their strengths, understand intergenerational patterns, and build authentic, meaningful relationships with their kids.
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