Educators

Curious Minds Learning Center has educators who are carefully chosen for their passion and commitment to early childhood education. We see ourselves as researchers, facilitators and collaborators, guiding our young explorers to form, refine, and rework their current theories of the world around them.

All educators have obtained a college degree, hold at least 12 ECE units, are First Aid/CPR certified and work in a co-teaching team.

We offer internal professional development several times a year, including an intensive orientation at the beginning of each school year.

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Pam Harris, DIRECTOR:

A third generation Californian, my passion for the early childhood education field did not hit until I had my own daughters in the 1980′s. My prior career in the horticulture field inspired my love of nature, knowledge of plants, and nurturing young sprouts. After obtaining my B.A. in Child Development at SFSU and working for 22 years on the peninsula (Menlo Park, Palo Alto), I had the wonderful opportunity to move to Marin county to oversee the operation of Stretch the Imagination, and now Curious Minds Learning Center. My interest in the Reggio Emilia philosophy began in the early 1990′s, and after attending two separate weeks of study in Italy and many conferences and workshops across the United States, I am even more passionate about the rights of children and families and enjoy being a source of support as children begin their first school experience away from the arms of their family. I enjoy mentoring educators and feel fortunate to find quality teachers to help guide our students in their explorations.

In my spare time I enjoy riding my Vespa, traveling, horseback riding, and exploring the medium of watercolor.

CMLC pic
Jacki Akins, WILLOW educator:

I live in Petaluma with my husband and small fluffy dog, Jake. I graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Child and Adolescent Development, with a concentration on the Young Child and Family. I also hold a site supervisor permit through the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I have worked with young children for over six years and I found that every day has new surprises.
Through my years working with young children, I find that they come into the world where every detail is new and exciting. As educators, we introduce this world and can support their interests and thoughts by becoming a student with them. We bring the children’s interests alive in the classroom, while allowing them to experiment with each other or by themselves. I thrive on creating a developmentally appropriate environment/curriculum that focuses on the whole development of a child. I want the children to feel safe, confident and capable to explore the world around them. I’m very excited to meet all the new little faces and work with the families at CMLC.
In my spare time, I enjoy art, reading, yoga, nature, dancing, photography, camping and spending time with my friends and family.

Dawn
Dawn Robinson, WILLOW educator:

I live in Marin County, with my family, near the redwood trees of beautiful Mount Tamalpias. I often think of this lovely place as being like the Shire, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories. My years of study in early childhood education have included teaching (and learning!) in Marin schools, with kids of all ages, as well as study and training in Reggio Emillia, in Montessori, and in Waldorf teaching philosophies. My life-long passion for literature and language led me to study at Dominican University of San Rafael, and, after getting a B.A. in English Lit. with a writing emphasis, I went on to study in their Single Subject English teaching credential for two years. Preschool folk continued to embody so much of the creative spark and joy of learning, though; even as I went on to teach older kids, and to get an MFA in Creative Writing, I continued teaching preschool, for the fun of it. My joy in teaching in the preschool classroom lies in finding out how a child sees the world, and in working with the group to create a community of kids who have fun, who innovate, who reach out to their world in compassionate, brave ways. I am so happy to be joining the Curious Minds team of educators!

Jen Reynolds
Jennifer Reynolds, OAK and Toddler Exploration educator:
I live in Fairfax with my husband, John, our creative, 9 year old daughter, Piper, and our sweet cat, Wilma. We feel so lucky to be surrounded by nature and believe that we must do all we can to care for our environment. There are many things that I get a kick out of, such as quilting, baking desserts, solving puzzles of all kinds and taking hikes. I think that the library is an amazing invention, that all things space-related are astounding and that insects and animals are jaw-droppingly fascinating. And I adore books too, especially children’s books.

I have returned to the field of early childhood education after almost 20 years, in which time I received my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, became an MFT and joined the Marin Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants team. For many years I helped teachers and parents gather around very young children who needed support and understanding and I worked with preschool centers to improve their quality of care. I also have a background in drama and children’s theater. I am delighted to be teaching here at CMLC.

Holly

Holly Berends, OAK and Aftercare teacher:
I was originally born in Seattle, Washington but didn’t stay for long! I spent my formative years in Japan and England before moving to Marin for the rest of middle school and high school. I then attended Richmond International University in London, where I studied International Relations and psychology. During this time I was also able to volunteer in Kenya and Vietnam as a teacher for orphaned and disabled children.

This past summer I moved back to Marin after living in South Korea for two years teaching English, and got married! Working as a teacher at an Elementary School confirmed my passion for working with children and I am so thrilled to now be sharing that passion with Curious Minds. I love to watch curious young minds work and help foster their sense of imagination and wonder.
In my free time I enjoy experimenting with cooking, I practice yoga, and try to get outside as much as possible!

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