{OFFERING The Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.}

Luminaries

Each year, during National Teacher Appreciation Week, we recognize 4 outstanding Goddard School teachers, out of 8,000, for their excellence in early childhood education. Meet the best-of-our-best.

2013 - JUSTINE GAUMOND & MISHA COOLBAUGH

Auburn, MA

In 2013, for the first time, a team of teachers has been recognized for a joint project. Justine Gaumond and Misha Coolbaugh, toddler co-teachers at The Goddard School located in Auburn developed Multicultural Visitors Day to teach the children in their classroom to value, respect and embrace diversity. Family members, special visitors and students from local college groups, including Multicultural Student Organization and Multicultural Peer Educators visit the entire school to share their personal cultures through dance, music, culinary experiences, language, sports and traditional clothing.

2013 - ANNA STIRRAT

Concord Township, OH

Anna Stirrat, pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Concord Township, developed The School Garden, an invitation for play, inquiry, curiosity and community. Stirrat began this project in 2008 by digging a small plot in the school yard to plant sunflowers, one tomato plant and one watermelon plant. Now a year round program, the children prepare the soil, plant the seeds (indoors), transplant to the outdoor garden, nurture and care for the plants and then harvest the crops. The children wash and prepare their crops to be taken home, canned or enjoyed as snack. Some items from the garden were sold to raise funds for military families in the community.

2013 - DAN BERARDI

Exton, PA

Dan Berardi created Talk it Out, a program to create the next generation of effective problem solvers. As is common in a preschool setting, young children become accustomed to “tattling” and seeking teacher intervention at the first sign of a disagreement with friends. Berardi introduced two simple, colored popsicle sticks that varied in color: “The Talking Stick” and “The Listening Stick.” The sticks were used to communicate when the children had a disagreement. After modeling and sharing the rules of the program, the children began to utilize the sticks to problem solve with their peers and the “tattling” slowly came to a halt.  This program empowered the children to think independently, communicate and collaborate with their peers.

2013 - LINDA TAYLOR

Wyomissing, PA

Linda Taylor, a preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Wyomissing, PA implemented the Literacy Awareness program to inspire young children to read as well as parent involvement. Taylor brings stories to life and promotes a love of reading for the children in her classroom. She encourages both parents and co-workers to support this passion for literacy for the children. Taylor reads many books throughout each day to the children, though it is her “Book Themed Days” that really stand out—all activities reflect the theme.

2012 - Beckie Comeau

Auburn, MA

Beckie Comeau developed a Lending Library to help encourage early literacy and accelerate reading at home. Comeau, a pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Auburn, MA, developed the idea after several children asked to borrow books from the school’s “exploration room.” The children were so excited and eager to borrow books and this was a natural progression. After receiving donated books from families and other programs, the Lending Library has become an anticipated weekly event that takes place in six of the school’s nine classrooms. Children are encouraged to choose a book to borrow, they receive a “due date” stamp and then take the book home. Best of all, the Lending Library has helped busy parents and families spend more time together and to share the love of reading.

2012 - Megan Kellie

Oxford, MI

Megan Kellie, a preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Oxford, MI, implemented a Buddy Program between the preschool and kindergarten classes. Her motivation was to help build the children’s confidence and prevent bullying. The project pairs a kindergarten child with a preschool “buddy” and the two classes come together to participate in various activities with their buddies. The kindergarteners read stories to their buddies, and the two classes have made Valentines and art projects for each other. The older children have an opportunity to be positive role models, and the younger children gain confidence from their older peers’ examples.

2012 - Morgan Cooper

Horsham, PA

Morgan Cooper, a pre-toddler teacher for The Goddard School located in Horsham, PA, developed the Growing a Healthy Future program in her First Steps classroom. The goal of this program was to immerse the children in hands-on gardening activities that build upon developing motor skills, independence and fostering a love of nature. Throughout the year, the children engage in several gardening activities and participate by filling garden beds with soil, planting and watering seeds, observing the plants grow, watching insects enjoy the plants, harvesting their crops and finally “cooking” with them in the healthy eating program. The garden beds are altered each season to grow appropriate plants and healthy food. Mini lessons are prepared each week that include gardening and its connection with nature, health, food, science and family life.

2012 - Robin Coatney

Parker, CO

Robin Coatney created the Daisy the Deer program to further a school/home connection as well as parent involvement. A preschool class teacher at The Goddard School located in Parker, CO, Coatney strongly encourages the involvement of the parents in her classroom as well as others by having Daisy the Deer as an ongoing inclusive outside family project. The project was started to welcome families into the classroom and encourage them to partner with The Goddard School to promote the involvement of academics at home. Children in Coatney’s classroom have the opportunity to participate by taking “Daisy” home for the weekend. When “Daisy” returns, the children share stories about her adventures with their family.