Director & Parent Educator
I have been teaching for over 20 years and believe that Cooperative Preschool is the best model to meet the educational needs of families and our children. When parents, caregivers and children come together in our community, the kids come first and we can freely let our children explore their environment, imagination, abilities and interpersonal relationships. Our job is to let the child be the guide as they play in a stimulating environment with the goal of helping them develop the critical skills of problem solving, self sufficiency and appropriate social interactions to become emotionally secure children.
I graduated from the Evergreen State College with a BA and a Masters in Teaching. I received a Washington State Teaching Certificate and am a certified Montessori Instructor. I have been with NCCP for 4 years. Prior to that I taught and directed in Montessori schools for 10 years and spent 5 years as the Program Director at a Therapeutic Learning Center for abused and neglected children where I taught children and parents. As the Director, Teacher and Parent Educator at NCCP and as a parent of three boys, I am continually learning, evolving and striving to practice in a fashion that reflects what best works for me, my family and my community. I encourage those who work with me to do the same. Some of my favorite writers in the field of early childhood education include Jane Nelsen’s work on Positive Discipline, Fred Donaldson’s ideas on Original Play, Bev Bos, Alfie Kohn, Dr. John Gottman, and Daniel Siegel.
The most important part of the Montessori philosophy I have brought to NCCP is an abiding appreciation for the unique nature of each child and their need for a rich environment full of materials supporting many interests. At NCCP we help children learn on their own. Our classroom is child centered, allowing them to lead instead of a teacher leading the children though a group curriculum with little regard for individual needs. Each child’s own intrinsic inner motivation and observations is their guide. We provide the environment and facilitate, but it is up to the child to discover which helps lead to a strong self-esteem.
Working with abused and neglected children and their parents, I came to see parenting as a continuum that reflects our upbringing, culture and willingness to change. No one is or will ever become a perfect parent. We all make mistakes and may dislike how we handle certain parenting challenges. What lies at the core for all parents, is that we want what is best for our children. The art of good parenting is to face our mistakes and strive to evolve our skills to better meet both the needs of our children and ourselves.
As we come together at North City Cooperative Preschool, we all bring our experiences, culture and temperament. I am driven by the notion that together we all give to our rich community, we welcome each other’s diversity and provide a special place where children and families can work and learn together. As our motto says, “We are what we contribute. We receive what we give.”
Assistant Director & Parent Educator
Lesley received her teaching degree and certificate 18 years ago when she graduated from Boise State University with a major in Music Education. Since then she has worked as a Music Specialist in several public and private elementary schools. Most recently, she found that working with preschool aged children is her true passion. For the past six years, Lesley has been the music teacher at a private school in Seattle. She is also a director at Northwest Girlchoir teaching the youngest choir group.
When Lesley’s first child was an infant she began teaching an early childhood music curriculum in her home. She enjoyed this unique opportunity to work with parents and young children. During her children’s early education, Lesley found cooperative preschools and finds this experience invaluable. The Co-Op experience strengthened her relationships with her daughters and resulted in friendships that
last to this day.
Lesley looks forward to the opportunity to learn, grow, and share her skills and experiences with North City families.