The Gardner School of Naperville is significantly more than a traditional childcare center or early childhood daycare. As a private, academically focused Naperville preschool that specializes in early childhood education, we cater to those families who want the best for their child. We provide full and part-time child care year-round and a research-based educational curriculum for children six weeks old through private Kindergarten.
In addition, we also offer a full suite of enrichment classes and our summer camp, Camp Gardner. All of our lead teachers have four-year degrees in early childhood education, elementary education, or a closely related field. The stimulating, creative, and educationally engineered school has been designed to meet the needs of our most important client... the children. Attention to detail, both inside and outside the classroom, is what makes TGS a very special place and preschool in Naperville.
How long have you been with TGS?
Since January 2013
Roles Served with TGS?
I started with The Gardner School of Naperville when we opened our doors in 2013. I've had the pleasure of being the Lead Teacher in our Enchantment classroom, Lead Teacher in our Pre-Kindergarten Classroom and starting our Private Kindergarten program as the Kindergarten Teacher. I've served in leadership roles including Director of Curriculum, Enrichment Coordinator, and Assistant Director. It's exciting to now be in the Director role of this wonderful school serving our children and families.
What is your education background?
I attended Western Illinois University and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a type 03 K-9 Teaching Certificate with endorsements in Language Arts and Social Science.
What made you decided to have a career in education?
Since I was eight years old I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. It started after my little sister was born. I would set my younger brother and sister up in chairs and give them “assignments” to do and teach them “lessons” that I had prepared for them (they were less than thrilled, to say the least). As I grew older I became more involved in various programs that allowed me to gain teaching experience. I was involved in everything from coaching to tutoring to teaching swim lessons to volunteering at summer camps. Once I was a senior in high school I became a part of the TAP Program which allowed high school students to be aides in elementary school classroom. That experience was what truly sealed the deal for me and helped me make the decision to further my education and obtain a degree in education.
What do you love most about working with infants through the age of 5?
The thing I love the most about being a part of TGS is having the opportunity to experience the “firsts” with so many students. There is nothing in this world like being there when a child hits that developmental milestone and exhibits one of their “firsts.” Some of my favorite “firsts” include the first time a child recognizes their name, seeing a child take their first steps, hearing a child speak their first word, knowing when a child has had their first potty success, listening to a child when they first learn how to read and being there to help coach a child through losing their first tooth. The feeling you get when witnessing a child meet these developmental milestones is truly indescribable and is a major reason why I love my job so much!
What is your favorite part of the day at TGS?
My favorite part of the day at TGS is the end of the day when the children are walking out for the night with their parents in hand. I love being able to speak with each and every student and hear that exciting story or experience that happened at school that day. Some students choose to show art projects that they made that day or share a new fact they had learned while others just leave with a big smile on their face. Either way they walk out of this building buzzing with new experiences they had, new knowledge they learned and new goals they have set for themselves.
What do you love most about TGS?
Something I love most about TGS is our sense of community and that we are truly a TGS Naperville family. It is wonderful having such open communication with our families, it allows for the parents and us to be each other’s support systems. Having this type of open communication allows for parents that are embarking on their child’s education journey to have that added support and to know that we are here to help them along their child’s educational journey.
What is your fondest memory of TGS thus far?
My fondest memory of TGS thus far has been the year we first started our Private Kindergarten Program. We were the first school in Illinois to launch our Kindergarten Program, so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. When the year first began we only had a few students enrolled but by the end of the year we had doubled in class size! It was such an amazing opportunity and having a smaller class size allowed us to explore and discover new things that were beyond our curriculum, it allowed our imaginations to be our guide. We had the flexibility and freedom that allowed children to explore new interests that they had never known before. It turned out to be such an incredible year that I will certainly never forget. All of the parents and I still remain in contact with and get together at birthday parties and at the TGS Kindergarten Alumni events!
What does the term “Where Learning Begins” mean to you?
To me, the term “Where Learning Begins” means that we are the start of your child’s educational journey that will continue on into their adulthood. We are the very first educators that will help mold these young minds and support them in meeting those imperative developmental milestones. We are the mentors that will first show them how to use their imaginations and help to instill that sense of discovery, exploration and overall guide that student to develop that love of learning.
How important is early childhood education?
Early childhood education is imperative for the growth and wellbeing of children. It is the foundation for which all other education is built upon. It gives them the opportunity to develop socialization skills as well as sets them up for academic achievements. It brings educators, children and parents together and establishes a close-knit group that are bound for academic success.
Do you have children who go to TGS or have gone to TGS?
Not yet, but hopefully someday!
What would you tell new parents who are apprehensive about leaving their infant in the care of someone else for the first time?
I would tell those parents that their children are in good hands. We are very selective on who we hire as teachers at our school. We hire the best of the best to ensure that each and every teacher is here to nurture, love and educate every student that enters our building.
How long have you been with TGS?
Since September 2014
Roles Served with TGS?
I started as the Enrichment Coordinator at The Gardner School of Oakbrook. It was an honor to have started the Enrichment Program and see it successfully develop. I'm excited to be at The Gardner School of Naperville as the Assistant Director and serve our families in this community.
What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College in Chicago, with a major in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Women’s Literature.
What made you decide to have a career in education?
I knew at an early age that I wanted to be involved in education. I was fortunate to have such great teachers who inspired me to grow and learn. There's no better feeling than having the opportunity to touch a child’s life. It is priceless and very meaningful.
What makes you laugh about kids?
What makes me laugh about kids is that they say what's on their minds, with no hesitations or worries. It’s fun to hear the things children say.
What do you love most about TGS?
I love establishing meaningful relationships with children, families, and my coworkers. Together, we're all involved in the TGS community. It is the basis of TGS success.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by kindness, hard work, a passion for life, and the possibilities of what could be. I've always loved the Robert Louis Stevenson quote, “The world is full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
What is your passion or passions?
My passion is education. I am motived to give the best I can for our students. I love learning and growing in the education field. Early Childhood Education brings the pivotal years for children, and I am dedicated to making those years a rich and happy learning experience.
What does the term ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you?
Learning begins at birth. Children work very hard at interpreting their new world. We are here to teach them and for them to enjoy their world.