Steve from Willett CDC has worked as a Master Teacher with our agency since 2001. He has a degree in Psychology and a developmental psychology emphasis from UC Santa Cruz. Top that off with a multiple subject teaching credential from University of San Diego. His background includes over 30 years of experience in child development and working as a preschool teacher in elementary education. He is originally from Santa Barbara where he attended a NAEYC conference and first discovered our organization. He was excited by our company culture and has been with us for over 16 years. Steve has since completed 25 internal training and professional development classes as well as health and safety trainings. He currently works with School Age children in our before and after school programs. He has subbed at nearly every CDC in the Davis area and spent 4-5 years at Cesar Chavez CDC prior to coming to Willett. Before he came to us, he worked at a lab school on the campus of UC Davis.
In our after school program, Steve loves working with the School Age children on physics projects and watching them learn how science works. Some of his Science Club favorites were building volcanoes with paper mache, baking soda and vinegar. They experimented with other items like lemon juice and baking powder that were discovered to be a great alternative to baking soda and vinegar. Another fun physics activity he enjoyed was helping children build race tracks and bridges with newspaper and tape. The children helped come up with all sorts of things to add to it on their own, like strings and paint to make it unique. Steve also led the Sports Club and was fascinated by the children’s abilities to come up with variations of capture the flag.
During camp, Steve loves teaching the different weekly themes. His favorite was Survivor week, in which children learned valuable life skills in various scenarios. The children learned about building shelter and finding essentials like water and food. On one of the camp field trips this year, he went with the children to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and liked watching the children explore all the different displays. Since going on that type of field trips is not something he often does, he really looks forward to it. Steve got his camp nickname “Tigger” from the famous Winnie the Pooh cartoon character, Tigger. He believes his personality is very similar to the well-loved cartoon character.
In his many years of teaching, one of Steve’s most memorable moments and challenges was working with a child who had some emotional issues. He worked to help this child 1×1 and felt how rewarding it was to see the child’s emotional development and progress.
Our philosophy is why Steve has stayed with us for so long. He loves the people he works with, our values, teaching methods and the freedom to bring new ideas to the table.
Michelle Mould from Collins CDC has worked as a teacher with our agency since 2012. She is a graduate in Elementary Education of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo with a B.A. She also has a multiple subject teaching credential and is a great match for our organization because her own personal teaching philosophy lines up with our Reggio Emilia philosophy.
Michelle is currently working with Kindergarteners and first graders at her center. She loves researching new ideas and trying new projects to see how the children react. She has a special interest in science, since she has a minor in Biology. During a learning series on math and science she was taught discovery and inquiry teaching, which lead her interest in program planning around STEM projects for the children. She loves when the children ask questions about their environment and she is able to work out problems with them.
During Club time at the center, she has incorporated many STEM projects. They called this their Messy, Wacky Science Club. This includes a marble roller coaster project, foam dough experiment and popsicle stick building. For the roller coaster project she gave them the piping and duct tape, but the kids had to figure out how they wanted to build it. Some tapped it to table or the walls and others tried to make loops work. For the foam project, she put out the cornstarch, color and shaving cream materials. It was up to the children to figure out what measurements made the form work properly. They used trial and error until they had had the right consistence to make the foam mold.
Some of Michelle’s other favorite projects are art from Spring and Summer Camp. She put the children’s imaginations to the test with a project of painting with only water! On a beautiful Spring Camp day, the children used the school playground as their canvas to paint with water. They were given large paint brushes, paint rollers, foam rollers and tooth brushes. Without the boundary of space or making a mess with real paint they drew with water. They enjoyed the art until it evaporated. One of her favorites was a big flower. She also loved creating art projects made out of fruit and vegetables. The children used a cutting board, safe plastic knives, toothpicks, and fruits and vegetables for this project. Examples of what they made include a dolphin, flowers and a house.
At CDC, Michelle believes she is given the time to focus on building skills with children they may not get during school when they are learning academics. She helps support her children with life and social skills, safety, personal care and taking turns. She finds her work really rewarding when she teaches the children how to deal with conflict, take responsibility and can watch their interactions progress over the time they spend in our programs. Michelle will teach them how to handle conflict in a calm and respectful way. She has them practice speaking to each other and if feelings get hurt, she works on how the children can learn to work it out.
Michelle has also enjoyed working with children who need a little attention. She has worked one-on-one with a child with blindness doing Braille homework. In order to make it easier for this child and another child with blindness they welcomed into the program this year, they have started labeling items in the center with Braille. She is also working on upcoming projects with the children around other senses to
ensure all the children can participate. This includes projects around noises, smells and she hopes to incorporated music in the future.