Our team of teachers are passionate working artists and dedicated early childhood educators!


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Kelly Wiley

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.

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.
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Maggie Stirk

 
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Alicia Faris

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.

 
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Jaden Kramer-Melnick

Jaden has always cherished working with children. He has a multitude of experiences manifested from working as a counselor as well as an assistant director at many outdoor oriented summer camps. Furthermore, he has obtained an an Elementary Education BA degree, which motivated him to work in a variety of schools. Jaden recently moved to The Bay from Vermont after graduating from the University of Vermont. He is a huge advocate for outdoor education and hands-on learning, which brought him to Golden Gate Children's Arts and Environmental Explorations. Jaden enjoys encouraging a love for education through kinesthetic learning and positive reinforcement.