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Early Childhood

Preschool - Senior Kindergarten

At Catherine Cook, we believe that children construct their own learning with expert guidance from knowledgeable, well-prepared teachers. Our classrooms are nurturing and joyful educational communities where children explore and express their ideas and curiosity, learning collaboratively with adults. Because learning happens in the context of relationships, we intentionally cultivate connections with students, parents and caregivers, colleagues, and the wider community. During play, children consolidate new vocabulary, gain essential social skills, and practice new academic skills - play is an essential part of each day. The Early Childhood curriculum builds critical thinking, social-emotional, and cultural competence skills along with literacy, art, mathematics, music, science, movement, and social studies. Projects integrate content across the curricula for meaningful and authentic learning. Children grasp the purpose and become invested in discovery, mastering the skills to accomplish their projects.

Children and teachers work together to design projects and objects using technology as a tool for learning and communication. But technology is not a substitute for genuine human interaction! Technology supports our social-emotional skills, self-regulation, and cognitive goals. These devices and tools allow students to reach beyond the walls of the school to greet and learn about their peers in other schools around the world, and to meet the needs of the wide spectrum of learners in each classroom.


 

Lisa Kampwirth
Head of Early Childhood

Most recently, Ms. Kampwirth held the position as Head of Preschool and Early Childhood at North Park Elementary School. While at North Park, she collaborated to redesign the classrooms, established a new early childhood festival, and started a support group for parents. In all early childhood settings, she uses storytelling to support social-emotional learning, as well as humor and joy. 

Ms. Kampwirth has taught in early childhood for more than 25 years, including nine years at Baker Demonstration School as a preschool and junior kindergarten teacher, and Early Childhood Camp Director. She places great emphasis on designing and implementing curriculum to meet the different interests, backgrounds, and needs of the children and their families. While at Baker, she led many green initiatives for the school, including using more recycled materials in the classrooms, adding natural materials on the playground, and building a school composter. She knows that children learn best in warm, loving relationships that support hands-on, experiential learning. She is passionate about progressive education and its ability to support confident, curious children to become lifelong learners.

In addition to teaching preschoolers, Ms. Kampwirth has mentored early childhood educators. At the Ounce of Prevention Fund, she taught teachers to use story dictation and dramatization in their classrooms to support early literacy in historically under-resourced neighborhoods, with an emphasis on positive exposure to the arts. She has presented nationwide at schools and conferences on "Multiple Forms of Intelligence," "A Classroom for all: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practices for the Early Years," "Greening Your Classroom One Month at a Time," and "Service Learning for Early Childhood.

Ms. Kampwirth is a graduate of the Erikson Institute with a master's degree in Early Childhood Education and Development. She is SEED trained and is an active member of various early childhood associations.