“Play is the work of childhood.”
Jean Piaget

Cathy Shumaker, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I attended Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Education with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. While attending college I had practicums in preschool, a special needs classroom (with preschool aged children), kindergarten and elementary aged children. After these experiences I decided that I really enjoy working with young children. I obtained a job in Maryland at LaPetite Academy where I was employed for seven years. In those years I predominantly worked as a teacher with children from six weeks to kindergarten. I was promoted to assistant director and held this position until we moved to Chicago in 2001. I stayed home with our children over the next several of years until they were school aged. I then got a job at Creative Scholars when it opened and have been here ever since.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I love working in early childhood because I can see how rapidly children develop and mature. You get to witness skills that weren’t previously attainable becoming second hand to them. I get to see more of the wonder and ah ha moments with young children.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Through play children develop their cognitive, social, emotional, motor and language skills. While children play they learn about the world around them. Playing is an important part of a child’s life. Playing by oneself and with other children is important for healthy development.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
My favorite way to play when I was younger would probably be playing with the neighborhood children. We would play all sorts of running games like tag, red rover, and hide and seek. We would also build forts out of mud, leaves, sticks, snow, you name it we probably used it. Anything to do with playing outside was my favorite thing to do.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
When I am not working I like to spend time with my family baking, cooking, traveling, watching them compete in swimming and water polo meets and visiting family.

“Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.”
Marva Collins

Daniela Guano, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I majored in social work and a minor in psychology at the University Of The Sacred heart located in Puerto Rico. I loved doing my internship in a community center where I worked in three schools from third to sixth graders.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
Every day is a new day to learn. Observing and teaching the children in discovering the world around them and how it works is ever so interesting since every child sees the world so differently.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play is already the process in how the children learn and discover their surroundings. Using this method helps us to make learning fun once again and not something being forced on the child.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
When I was a child, I loved playing tag, hid and seek and telling scary stories with my cousins.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
When I’m not at work, I enjoy going to the library to learn about different cultures, writing short poems and being part of a dance group.

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.”
Mr. Rogers

Charlie Anderson, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I graduated with a Bachelors in K-12 Art Education Cornell College! Throughout my many practicums and semester of student teaching, I spent quite a bit of time with little ones! It always put a smile on my face to see their imagination and boundless creativity come through in their artwork.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I love the energy, creativity and ingenuity that I see! It’s often that I set out to do things one way and then find myself seeing things through their unique and wonderful point of view! It’s so great to help them learn, grow, and be a part of their day.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
I think play is absolutely necessary to the learning process. Especially for the kiddos! When I was student teaching art, it wasn’t a surprise to me that a majority of my students loved art time because it was “play” …little did they know, they learned plenty about all the other subjects just through the hands on experience of mixing, measuring, cutting, coloring, etc.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
As a child, I loved making things! I would always make my own toys out of sticks or little odd bits I found around my house. My favorite animal is a horse, so I made plenty of wood chip horses help together with tape.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
When I am not at CSP, I’m almost always hanging out with my dog and best friend, Fox Mulder! Unsurprisingly, I also enjoy making art whenever I have the chance. I love drawing on my iPad or getting my hands dirty with clay!

“It takes a big heart to shape little minds”

Gabriela Barron, Teacher’s Aide

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I have been working with children for over two years from birth to five years of age. I am currently working on getting a degree in early childhood.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
Working with children is fun and rewarding to me. Children motivate me to be a better person inside and out.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play is one of the main ways in which children learn and develop. Practicing and repeating skills and having fun is one of they key foundations to early childhood education.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
I loved going to the park with family and friends and playing soccer when I was younger.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
When I’m not at CS, I enjoy spending most of my time with my family and taking walks at the park.

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
Muhammad Ali

Ahmed Ashoor, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I obtained my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. I have been in the field for five years working in non profit organizations, private schools and public schools, My roles included being a lead teacher and assistant teacher for pre-kindergarten.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
being able to help nurture their development is the most important stage. At this time they are learning about themselves, their surroundings, likes and dislikes. I enjoy being the teacher that is able to help them develop and grow their way to success.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Through play, children learn to work through their emotions. Even before they can speak, they express their feelings through physical play, storytelling, art, and other activities.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
As a child I would spend majority of the time at the park playing with my siblings and friends. We would play sports such as, basketball, soccer and football. I was competitive that we kept score in every game that we played and made sure to have fun.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
I enjoy playing basketball with friends, listening to music, and enjoying watching movies.

“Children require long, uninterrupted periods of play and exploration”
Jean Piaget

Shari Tatosian, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I attended two universities American InterContinental University where I received BA’s in Business and HealthCare Management, then attended Ashford University where I received a Masters in Organizational Management and Early Childhood Education. My experience stems from being a Nanny for many years which started in the summer of 1974, teaching in a small private school and helping in my church nursery.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I love seeing a child’s face light up when he/she learns a new concept or discovers something new.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play is how a child learns about the world around them. Through play they learn social skills and how to problem solve in different situations.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
As a child growing up I loved to be outside using my imagination. With my friends we played Tarzan climbing trees and jumping into the ferns.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
I like to play World of Warcraft and spending time with my daughters and cats. I also enjoy walking the lakefront tail, hand quilting, crocheting and being a lifelong learner.

“Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms materials, sounds and colours.”
Loris Malaguzzi

Ozairi Flores, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I have an associates in early childhood. Being an early childhood teacher has been very rewarding and challenging. Being an ECE teacher is a passion of mine and I truly enjoy it.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I enjoy working with children because they represent hope and the future to me. Working with children is a great opportunity to be of service to one’s community. Parents enjoy peace of mind knowing that their child is well cared for in their absence.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play allows children to use their creativity while development their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
I really enjoyed playing outside, signing songs and drawing.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
I love spending time with my family, cooking together, working on puzzles, and doing a lot of signing around the house.

“If you love books and learning at an early age, you will love them your whole life. Helping students become life-long learners and problem-solvers is my goal.”
Unknown

Anna Maria Upshaw, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
I have my CDA in Child Development and a Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies. My 13 years of experience began in Los Angeles. When my children became tweens. I missed the discovery and inquiry of the toddler years. Then I went back to preschool and stayed.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I help build foundational knowledge. It’s small things like manners, chores and problem solving. We practice these functions daily as part of life. Implementing these values early helps them understand how the world works.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play is a fun way to learn about everything. We learn how to negotiate with people. What rules of play are in different settings, games and groups. Different processes of creating and dissecting. More than that, essential life skills, like tenacity, executive function and leadership.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
I was the teacher then, too! I’m the oldest of six children. “Follow me! I’m the leader!” We had little adventures daily including tinkering reading drawing baking and gardening.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
I love to hike, do arts and crafts and storytelling. I’m also an avid container gardener!

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from
serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

Mr. Rogers

Raelyn Hoskins, Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
Since I was just 8 years old I realized that I wanted to be a teacher. I went to college at Bradley University and received my bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in English as a Second Language and an approval for Special Education. I have worked with children of all ages, from birth to teenagers. My degree allows me to properly care for children birth through 8 years of age. Through the project approach, I have loved discovering the interests of every child, creating lessons and planning new projects for them to thrive on. I strongly believe that focusing on a child as a whole is important for a child’s overall development. Learning does not start and end at school and for children to thrive, all their basic needs must be met. A child’s past experiences, prior knowledge, economic circumstances and diversity with the community all influence a child’s learning. Therefore, I have strived to value every child’s minds as well as their heart and soul by focusing on their overall development.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
I highly enjoy creating opportunities in the classroom for children to be creative, use their imagination, and develop their cognitive skills through songs, stories, games, art, and much more, through which I have experienced children learning to thrive in their everyday life. It’s an amazing experience to watch children discover the world around them. It’s an amazing experience to watch children discover the world around them. I love to create engaging and hands-on lessons, experiences, and a stimulating environment, incorporating diverse materials and toys, and helping children learn to thrive in new social settings. Watching children learn something new, that they actually enjoy, and get that “Aha!” moment, is the most rewarding experience.

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play plays a vital role in a child’s learning and it happens in every culture as it enhances learning development by allowing opportunities in the classroom to be creative, use their imagination, and develop their cognitive skills. Children use private speech during imaginative play, relying on what they see and hear in their daily lives, acting out different situations, learning social skills, problem solving, and learning the world around them.

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
My favorite way to play when I was younger was doing anything outside or playing make believe, especially pretending to be the teacher with my siblings and friends. I loved to swing, climb trees, play tag or hide and seek. I also loved to be as creative as possible. I loved building random things out of bits of nature I would find outside.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending most of my time outdoors, going camping, hiking, fishing, or just to take a walk. I love spending time with my family, friends, and especially my cats. I also love finding new ways to expand my creativity through nature, painting, or finding random diy projects around the house.

“Give me the wild children with their bare feet and sparkling eyes. The restless, churning climbers. The wild ones using their outside voices, singing all the way home. Give me the wonder-filled glorious mess makers dreaming of mountains and mud, aching to run through a field of stars.”
Nicolette Sowder

Brenda Gutierrez, Assistant Teacher

Education and Experience in Early Childhood Care and Education
My name is Brenda Gutierrez. I was born and raised in Chicago. I am Mexican and fluent in Spanish. I have been working with infants for the past 4 years. I have held different positions from administration to craft coordinator for toddlers. I attended Northeastern Illinois University. I majored in Creative Writing and Latin, Latino American Studies.

I Enjoy Working in Early Childhood Because…
My heart fills with joy as I watch every baby grow and explore the world around us. I find it very important to love and nurture every baby as if they were my own; in truth every baby holds a special place in my heart!

Play’s Role in the Learning Process
Play allows us to learn, the reason is because we are allowed to explore. It is very important that we incorporate play while learning. This makes it exciting, memorable and allows us to be creative. We actually learn more through play, because of the repetition. Along with it being fun too!

My Favorite Way to Play as a Child…
As a child I loved playing with paper, paint, glue anything that allowed me to create. I created worlds of rock people in my yard. That later on in life I brought life to them in short stories.

What do I do When I’m not at CSP?
I love writing and spending time with my family. I’m currently working on a children’s book with my son, Noel who is doing all the illustrations. I am a mother of three boys. When my husband passed away, I decided to take a sabbatical and raise my three boys since they were very young when he passed. Now my oldest son, Noel, attends Colombia College in Chicago, my middle son, Jacob, attends Malcom X College; and Joshua is a senior at Notre Dame College Prep.