Spring Hollow's Pedagogista

Dr. Kate Ratliff
founder

Dr. Katherine "Kate" Ratliff is the Founder of Spring Hollow Early Learning Center, which opened its doors to the community in 1997.

 

Kate first committed her life to the field of early childhood education at age 11, when she opened an art school in the backyard of her Davidson, North Carolina home. She set up easels for children of need in the community and held art classes after school. Her love for education only grew stronger as she got older.

 

Kate has lived and traveled all over the world and brings pieces of each experience into the world that is Spring Hollow. Kate spent 4 years in Lahore, Pakistan, in her teens. While a senior in high school, she discovered from her father's Pakistani professor colleagues that Peabody Teachers College in Nashville, TN, had the best international reputation in those years as the premier college for teachers. This recommendation fueled her desire to attend Peabody and began the fulfillment of her vision as a teacher. 

 

Fostering friendships and the arts form the basis of Kate's education philosophy. In 1981, she began an early childhood school in Bangkok that continues on as Bangkok Early Learning Center. In 1989, she received her doctorate in Early Childhood Education from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. She completed her disseration on the value of the Green Circle Program proving that the program had positive effects on the child's social and emotional growth. 

 

Kate stumbled upon the Reggio Emilia Approach through her granddaughter's attendance at a Reggio Emilia inspired school in St. Louis and began her journey attending workshops stateside and in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in preparation to begin another school in Franklin, TN. Spring Hollow Community Learning Center was born in 1997.

 

Through her Reggio Emilia journey, Kate discovered that the Early Learning Center in Bangkok she helped found years ago also evolved into being inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. Kate finds this to be a validation of her own life long education philosophy on fostering friendships and the arts. 

 

Today, Kate serves on the Board of Directors for Spring Hollow, is an education consultant to Spring Hollow, facilitates workshops for teachers and parents, presents at early childhood conferences, and creates beautiful clay and beaded jewelry.