Spring Hollow's Amazing Teachers
"The Reggio teacher is unique because she offers herself to the process of co-construction of knowledge, she releases the traditional roles of a teacher and opens doors to new possibilities. She starts with the use of the child’s own theories, promotes disequilibrium, and helps the child to think about their thinking to facilitate new learning." -Seong Bock Hong, 1998
The Reggio teacher allows:
- The children to ask their own questions, and generate their own hypotheses and to test them.
- The children to explore and generate many possibilities both affirming and contradictory. She welcomes contradictions as a venue for exploring, discussing and debating.
The Reggio teacher provides:
- Opportunity to use symbolic languages to represent thoughts and hypothesis.
- Opportunity for the children to communicate their ideas to others.
The Reggio teacher offers:
- The children, through the process of revisiting the opportunity to reorganize concepts, ideas, thoughts and theories to construct new meaning.
- Keen observation, documentation, and a partner in the learning process.
Excerpt from www.reggiokids.com
Laura has lived in Middle Tennessee all of her life, graduating from Lipscomb University in 2000 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies. Her preschool experience began in a small parent cooperative program in Green Hills, where she was a teacher to four and five-year-old children. Following that, she pursued her interest in the research intervention field, working at Vanderbilt University for 11 years as a project coordinator for a social-emotional intervention program, implemented in Metro Nashville elementary schools. Throughout that time, she often missed working in early childhood education, and as of August 2016, is thrilled to be returning to the field by joining the joyful learning community at Spring Hollow!
Laura lives in Fairview with her husband, Trey, and daughter, Eleanor. She enjoys baking and reading, and spends much of her free time on projects around their property.
Spring Hollow is a special place to my family and I, and it feels great to return as a teacher! I began as a teacher at Spring Hollow in 2011, then as director for the next five years. Since 2016 I have been at home with my son, but have loved staying involved with the school by serving on the Board and as a substitute in the classroom.
My husband and I moved to Nashville from Michigan. We live in Thompson's Station with our 3 year old son, Calvin, and feisty bulldog, Wesley. I love being outside, sewing, biking and spending time with family and friends.
My background is in Early Childhood Education, with a focus on emergent curriculum and especially the Reggio-Emilia approach. I believe children are joyful learners, capable problem solvers, and that we can learn so much from and with them! I have always been drawn to this respectful approach to teaching, in which children are seen and celebrated for who they are as a person.
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Susan enjoys reading, music, animals, and being with her family. She especially enjoys learning and exploring alongside children.
Susan's family began with Spring Hollow in 2004 when they returned to their native Tennessee after a few years in Connecticut. Her husband Dave began working with Vanderbilt Medical Center as a scientific researcher, and Susan began looking for preschools for their daughter Julia, who was two years old at the time. She was thrilled to find Spring Hollow: a multi-age school that would nurture Julia's innate curiosity, encourage outdoor play, provide a safe place for independence, and model empathy.
Susan thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities she had to be a parent volunteer and to document the children's journeys here. She encourages all parents to share this experience with their child. Her family has made life-long friends within the Spring Hollow community.
Julia is now 11 and attending Page Middle School. She still looks through her Spring Hollow journey book occasionally. We are excited to have Susan back at Spring Hollow as a teacher!
Malaina graduated with an English degree from Lipscomb University. Knowing she wanted to travel and considering a career in education, she set off to Nagano, Japan to give teaching a try. She began teaching children and adults in small group settings, and 3 years later, she returned to Nashville to get her M.Ed. at Belmont in early childhood education. She then went back to Japan to spend the next 10 years working in an all girls’ junior and senior high school and working part time at a Japanese university.
While living in Japan, she got married and had 3 children. Her two boys went to a Japanese preschool. Though it wasn’t a Reggio-Emilia preschool, many of the practices were similar to methods she's seen at Spring Hollow. There was a huge emphasis placed on the social and emotional development of the children. The teachers treated the children with genuine respect, and allowed them to figure out for themselves how to get along and negotiate with their peers. A sense of community was fostered between the parents, teachers, and students through monthly meetings after school and Saturday clean-up sessions. She couldn’t imagine finding a place she’d like as much in Tennessee, but after hearing about the program and observing at Spring Hollow, she signed her daughter up right away. Her daughter attended for two years, and though she’s now in elementary school, she still talks often of Spring Hollow.
It’s a joy for Malaina to be back in the classroom occasionally at Spring Hollow to work with children at the start of their educational journeys and to facilitate their understanding of some of the most foundational social, cognitive and emotional concepts.
In her free time, Malaina likes to cook, run and travel.
Kim Yost grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Bloomsburg University in 1996. Upon graduation, she took a position as the director of a play based model preschool in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. She then took a leave of absence to raise her two daughters, Caitlyn (now 18) and Emily (now 15), where she focused on the most current evidenced based pedagogies to help her own daughters grow and develop.
When her children entered school, Kim returned to work at an alternative education facility for emotionally challenged youth. This educational environment afforded her the opportunity to differentiate her lessons to meet the many diverse needs of her students. In 2010, Kim and her family relocated to Tennessee due to a job promotion for her husband Toby. After settling her family, Kim continued her teaching career in Marshall County and Williamson county schools. In 2014, she became the lead teacher at the Academy of Heritage Commons.
While Kim's past teaching experiences have varied greatly with regard to the age groups she has taught, her true passion is preschool age children. Their natural curiosity and inquisitive nature allows her to constantly learn and grow along with her students.
In her free time Kim enjoys reading, boating, traveling and spending time with her family.