With thirteen full-time teachers, a Director, two part time administrative staff members, a lunch technician and parent helpers, Bigelow offers an excellent child/teacher ratio that meets NAEYC guidelines and often exceeds the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).
Melinda holds an undergraduate degree in marketing from Nichols College, a master’s degree in finance from Boston College and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Lesley University. After an earlier career in business, she comes to us from the Belmont Cooperative Nursery School where she was a Teacher/Director for 5 years. Prior to Belmont Cooperative, she was a teacher for five years at the Winchester Cooperative Nursery School. Melinda is Director II certified. Melinda has three children and lives in Winchester.
What attracted me to Bigelow was the high educational standards, the sense of community and the rich diversity of families. I believe that a cooperative care model with parents and teachers having a stake in their children's education is the ideal learning environment. I have been impressed by the quality of staff at Bigelow and their genuine respect for each other. I believe that Bigelow's flexible schedule sets it apart from other schools and its warmth is second to none.
Dawn has been in the field of early childhood education since 1995. She has a vast range of experience including Family Child Care Provider, Early Childhood Coordinator, Food Program Coordinator and Center Director. Dawn comes to us from Broadway Babies Child Care Center where she was the Center Director. Dawn also holds a part time position as the Family Skill Building Program Director at a facility in Woburn where she facilitates parenting classes and conducts supervised visits between parents and children. Dawn is Director II qualified. She has two children, one grandchild and lives in Medford.
What attracted me to Bigelow was the family involvement, strong sense of community among Bigelow families and the enthusiasm of the staff. I believe that it is so important for children to see us all working together as a team. Here at Bigelow children see that day in and day out with the presence of parents as part of their daily routine.
Jenny has been the Bookkeeper at Bigelow since January 2007. Before going back to school for accounting, Jenny worked in the fields of early education and care, after-school programming, and youth services. She holds a Master's in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from Bunker Hill Community College. She enjoys helping Melinda keep Bigelow running smoothly and working in such a positive, child-centered environment.
Little Rainbow Teachers
Jodi brings a wealth of knowledge to Bigelow about the education and care of infants. She has worked in the field of early childhood for twenty years and has been an infant/toddler teacher for the past sixteen. She graduated from Salem State College with her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is infant and toddler certified by the MA Department of Early Education and Care.
Infants are the most fascinating little puzzles. I love working with them because of their different personalities, temperaments and needs. Every day brings new challenges. Working at Bigelow has been a very positive change in my life! Partnering with families has brought me great satisfaction as a teacher.
Michelle comes to us from Small Adventures Preschool in Amherst, NH where she worked as an Associate Teacher. Michelle’s passion lies with infants and toddlers and she brings her infant and toddler experience during her college practicums to Bigelow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Social Sciences with a focus in Early Childhood from the University of Rhode Island. She is infant and toddler certified by the MA Department of Early Education and Care.
I love watching children grow and develop. I appreciate the community aspect at Bigelow and how involved the parents are in their children’s education. Their little minds are so fascinating when it comes to trying to figure out what, where, and how. I enjoy creating experiences to enrich their growth.
Rainbow 1 Teachers
Petra has over 14 years of experience in working with young children, toddlers as well as preschoolers. She grew up in Trinidad but has lived in the US for more than 20 years. She has two sons. Among other places, Petra worked with the Clinton Family and Homes for the Homeless child care program in New York for 7 years and taught toddlers and preschoolers in a Somerville child care center for 6 years. Petra has a warm and cheerful disposition and works with our young toddlers.
I like working with children. I like interacting with the kids, learning what they like and what they don't like. They each have a unique personality.
Ray has been at Bigelow since 2007. Ray is preschool teacher certified and has completed certifications for Power Play and Rainbow Dance. Prior to Bigelow, he had been teaching at an early childhood center in Jamaica Plain for 4 years. He continues to be a Facilitator of Power Play Groups as well as Rainbow Dance, both therapeutic programs for children. Before that, he worked at Jumpstart for Young Children for 4 years, where, as a Corps Member he worked one-on-one with a child at a Center, participated in creating a literacy-based curriculum, and facilitated a team of corps members. Ray is working towards his BA in education.
Rainbow 2 Teachers
Karen has been teaching at Bigelow since September 1989. She is a graduate of the Elizabeth Peabody House Teacher Training Program. She earned her Lead Teacher qualification at Wheelock College. Karen has vast experience with children of all ages and their families. She is thoughtful and nurturing, loves singing and dancing, dress up and role play, and provides amazing consistency for the children in her care. Karen has a grown daughter and recently was thrilled to announce her first grandchild.
Sometimes it's hard to put into words things that come naturally. As for me, I like being a teacher because you get to experience the growth and development that each child accomplishes each day. I feel that children learn best through play and when they are being cared for in a safe and nurturing environment, which I hope to provide each day.
Heather has taught in many capacities over the past several years at Bigelow. She started as an intern in 2010 and became a part-time floating teacher in RB1 in 2011. She has gained a wealth of experience at Bigelow working as a full time substitute in RB3 and teaching Extended Day in RB1 and 2. Now, she is a full-time teacher in RB3. Heather graduated from Wheelock College in 2013 and received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development. She is certified by the MA Department of Early Education and Care for infants, toddlers and preschool.
Teaching provides an opening for continuous learning and development. One of my hopes as an educator is to introduce a love of learning in my students, as I can share my own passion for learning with them. In our society, it is important for students to not only receive a strong education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. I am such a person and will always endeavor to be the best educator that I can be. I love working at Bigelow and enjoy every day here. The families and co-workers make the environment feel so warm and inviting, and I wouldn’t ask for a better place to be! I am so happy to be a full-time teacher at Bigelow and to have such cooperating colleagues. It is my desire to improve the lives of children and families and to be able to make a difference in the children’s lives.
Rainbow 3 Teachers
Becca has been at Bigelow since 2007. After two years in RB1 and three years in RB3, Becca is now spending her time teaching the infants in the Little Rainbow classroom. She is Infant/Toddler and Preschool Lead Teacher certified. Prior to Bigelow, Becca spent five years as a preschool teacher in Cambridge, including two years as a resource teacher for infants through preschool. In addition to her teaching, Becca also serves as the Special Needs Coordinator for Bigelow. Becca holds a BA in Sociology from Keene State College and a Masters in Early Childhood from Lesley University. Becca enjoys creating appropriate curriculum themes for the children, from the rainforest, to artistic and painting styles, to exploring the alphabet. Becca especially loves using sensory play to introduce new materials into the lives of the infants.
It's funny that I'm a teacher because I hated school, but I'm a teacher probably because I had one or two teachers in my life that believed in me, and as a teacher I see the value that all children can--and do--bring to my classroom.
Rainbow 4 Teachers
Anntonnette rejoined Bigelow in the summer of 2008 as the preschool/extended day teacher. She first came to Bigelow in 1991 as an intern. After gaining her teaching certification from the Tri Cap teaching program, she joined the full-time staff in 1992. She briefly retired in 2007, but she missed the children too much and returned 10 months later to her position in the preschool room. Anntonnette is very creative and is known as the "Junk Art Queen." She has a vivid imagination and inspires preschool children to create and experiment with different kinds of material. She is always full of energy, loves reading with children as much as chasing them in the park, and is a great story teller. As one of the senior teachers at Bigelow, Anntonnette is committed to the importance of creating learning opportunities for children of all ages. She has seven grandchildren.
I love being a teacher. When I first came to Bigelow many, many years ago I felt accepted by the children. Whenever I would walk into the classroom they were all over me. I don't know what they saw in me so it made me come back day after day. So after being here for almost twenty years, when I walk into the classroom the children are still running over to me and that makes me love being a teacher. That's my answer and I'm sticking to it.
Full Time Substitutes
Susan has been at Bigelow since 1988! She has taught all ages at various times. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Susan has served as the Program Coordinator. Susan has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in early childhood programs. She has a BA in Early Childhood Education from the Elliot Pearson School at Tufts University. As the longest employed teacher, Susan has a wealth of experience and carries the 'institutional memory' at Bigelow. She is the MVP of our staff and a friend and mentor to all families. She loves everything around and about curriculum and provides an endless source of ideas. Susan has three grown children, as well as four grandchildren. Susan works at Bigelow 4 days a week.
I have been so fortunate to have been a part of the Bigelow community for such a long time. Each year brings new challenges and wonderful experiences. I feel Bigelow families are vested in their children's education and their sense of community but they are also very supportive of the teaching staff. I know I have always felt valued not only as a teacher but as a person. For me this is huge. I use this quote quite often but for me it is true,"If you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life." Children bring joy as well as challenges and I am so happy to be part of their development.
Annie has been at Bigelow since October 2012 when we moved to our new facility. She is in charge of all food preparation. Annie is ServSafe, CPR and First Aid certified. Annie can also frequently be seen assisting in the classroom.
For me, it is the interaction with the children. I love watching them grown and learn. Everyone makes it special for me here.