Our team of teachers are passionate working artists and dedicated early childhood educators!
Kelly Wiley, Director
Kelly graduated with a BA in Child Development from Chico State. She has worked with young children in licensed programs since 1983. Throughout the years she has implemented different types of philosophies of theory in early childhood classrooms. She feels that taking different components from many philosophies and understanding where each theorist is coming from helps teachers know which philosophy is the best "match" to implement. Connecting and reflecting with children in their environment comes easily for her and she knows that it is so important to have and make a connection with every in class. She values the bond between children and their caregivers. Her mission continues to be to support children and their relationship with themselves, their environment, and growing curiosity. Our new art space will provide inviting and joyful experiences. Scaffolding children's development and helping teachers model how to embrace differences and implement an unbiased and culturally sensitive curriculum is what she aspires to do on a daily basis.
Kelly was first exposed to Reggio Emilia in 1995 when working at the PG & E Children's Center in San Francisco. It was one of the first centers in the city to start implementing Reggio Emilia inspired classrooms. Funding from the center allowed for her to take part in local and nationwide trainings and roundtable Reggio Meetings. She has remained an active member of NAECY and has continued to attend many workshops and conferences regarding the progress and key components that are valued. In 2001 she opened Golden Gate Music Together. That was when she expanded her knowledge of music and movement for children, and her passion for that piece of children's development grows daily.
A note from Kelly: One thing that I embrace as a parent of 3 children are their "mentors," such as teachers and coaches that they have in their environment (at school and year-round in the USA Swim Team). The attachment that happens as a result of trust and building on their own experiences happens over time and helps them "power through" highs and lows during the process. These mentors are essential for helping them to reflect and to be confident in approaching and taking on new challenges, and to keep moving even though they may feel self-doubt. Mom to Raquel 10, Quinn 13, Sophia 16.....
Teachers / mentors that I have chosen in both of my programs are amazingly gifted and uniquely talented in working with children and tweens. They possess an insightful ability to connect with children.
Jenell Del Cid , Teacher
Jenell is a performance artist, photographer and arts educator with over five years experience working with children(toddler to 8yrs) and artists with developmental disabilities. She graduated in 2009 from the University of Florida with a BA in Art and Technology with an emphasis on installation and participatory media. Jenell is a passionate believer in developing human potential through the arts and facilitating storytelling through play. She believes in a future where exploration through the arts prepares children to solve problems creatively, collaboratively and with deep empathy for their community and environment. When not performing or creating art, Jenell can be found exploring San Francisco taking pictures of flowers and tiny dogs.
Bernadette Quattrone, Teacher
Bernadette has been facilitating art for toddlers and preschoolers since 2005. It is inspiring to watch young children create and explore with confidence and enthusiasm when they are allowed to trust their own instincts and freely express themselves. Bernadette received her Masters in Early Childhood Education from NYU and has been working as a head teacher and director in preschools since 2007. She is a big fan of PLAY and all of the fantastic ideas that are born out of a child's imagination. As an experienced caregiver and teacher she trusts, celebrates and respects the many different learning styles children bring to any classroom or studio.
Maggie Stirk, Teacher
Maggie has been a teacher for over 18 years in London and on the west coast of America, teaching in Elementary schools and Reggio Emilia based learning programs. She gained her BA hons in art and design at Lancaster University, where she also gained her teaching degree. During her time as a teacher, she has been lucky enough to work with galleries such as the National Portrait Gallery, Serpentine gallery and the London print studio as a member of the Creative Arts panel within the UK’s Government's Excellence in Cities programme. Maggie is also a painter and works mainly in watercolours and ink. In the UK, she showed her work in galleries and taught several Adults art classes. She illustrates for a local writer and enjoys collaborating with other artists. She fundamentally believes that children learn by doing, exploring, helping one another, collaborating, and playing. As such, she strives to foster a love of learning through creativity and wonder.
Jessica Azer, Teacher
Jessica is a bilingual artist and dancer, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of
California, Santa Cruz. She adores working with children and has 5 years of experience in the
United States and overseas in Spain and Peru. Jessica is currently attaining her masters in
expressive art therapy at California Institute of Integral Studies. She is eager to combine her
love for art and for psychology in her future work by helping children discover and express
themselves through different creative mediums such as visual art, poetry, music, dance and
drama. Jessica’s curiosity for the world inspires her multi-cultural and Reggio inspired approach
to teaching. Her philosophy is continuously changing as she continues to discover new
countries, art forms, and teaching styles.
Joshua Dumas, Teacher
Joshua is a musician, health coach, sound healer and audio engineer. He received a B.S. in audio production from the The Art Institute of California, San Francisco and certified as a sound healer from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is also an Army veteran and served as a medic in the Army. He works in the Outdoor Explorations and Art Explorations programs and serves as Office Administrator for Golden Gate Children's Art. Joshua has been working with 3D spatial audio to produce his next album and hopes to pursue graduate research applying these concepts to his sound healing work with people on the Autism Spectrum.
Alicia Faris, Teacher
Alicia is an effulgent educator, artist, holistic nutritionist and local and sustainable food advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences from Florida State University and is a graduate of Bauman College with a certificate in holistic nutrition. In 2014, Alicia began dedicating herself to working with Bay Area youth; empowering children to explore at the farmers market and cook nourishing meals through CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program. She served as Nutrition Education Coordinator for Bay Leaf Kitchen, a local non-profit focused on enriching the lives of children through progressive culinary curriculum. Inspired by the Reggio approach, Alicia favors a patient and observant path, inviting the learning process to be made fun, creative and unique. She takes pride in guiding a child’s awakening and expanding consciousness, through mindful explorations of their environments, encouraging deep curiosities, and fostering an innate desire to closely examine nature. A child’s natural reflection provides them a firm foundation for knowledge of self and a greater connection with their world. In the studio, Alicia facilitates learning by play and exploration; highlighting a child’s development via all of their senses. On a sunny day, you will find Alicia merrily frolicking around any number of local farmers markets, growing and cooking nourishing food, exploring in nature, wildcrafting botanicals, and of course, studying nutrition.
Camila Perez was born and raised in San Francisco. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Expressive Arts Therapy at California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a bilingual Spanish Speaker and lover of travel and the arts. She is inspired by working with young children and uses the arts as a tool for encouraging healing, growth, social change, and empowered self-agency within her community.