I have taught Kindergarten for the most part since 1995, before class-size reduction in California. After marrying and while starting a family, I taught music to students in grades Kindergarten through four. I also taught physical education for one year to students in grades Kindergarten through five. It was during this year that I began experiencing a passion for teaching health and nutrition and began developing at home with my family the practices and principles I was teaching to the children in school. Since then, I have witnessed the benefits of early exposure to healthy alternatives in my own children. This evidence was a motivating factor in developing Cooking With Kinders. Following the life-changing onset of motherhood and with the single subject assignments under my belt, I returned to the Kindergarten classroom in 2006 with an ambitious mission. I was motivated to develop ways to teach curriculum standards while also incorporating hands-on thematic cooking lessons, physical exercise and music into the schedule. Now, my previous experiences and passions have finally come together through the development of Cooking With Kinders. This manual teaches others how to deliver curriculum standards while also harnessing young people with the tools necessary to make healthy choices in their lives. I believe that this book and CD must get into the hands of teachers and parents everywhere because in addition to providing alternative methods of teaching and delivering content standards, it deals directly with the nutrition crisis in our nation. This is a problem that currently has no solution. Exposure to alternatives and empowerment of our young people through education is where our focus needs to lie, and creative teachers and loving parents are the people with the power and responsibility to influence the future.
I am passionate about the cross-curricular method of teaching. I think that in addition to academics, children need to be given life-skills and should be taught character virtues in school and at home alongside basic academics. I also believe that I have the ability and responsibility to model behavior for children that will positively impact their lives. The Cooking With Kinders curriculum demonstrates how cross-curricular teaching can be accomplished and standards can be met through the medium of cooking healthy food. Kindergarten (and even earlier) is the time to start when children are ready to learn. Kindergarten students absorb their surroundings by engaging in meaningful play. And even though curriculum content standards increase every year, there always seems to be room for teaching creatively within the schedule. This flexibility has allowed me to incorporate into the school day my personal interests. I can make a difference in the lives of children, and that helps make my life meaningful. By having an early presence in their day-to-day lives, I can protect and motivate children by emphasizing character development, good habits and nutrition as well as goal-setting practices. This is what you do too, fellow teachers. Cooking With Kinders is my method that may be appropriate for you too.
Cooking with Kinders and Little Echoes is a self-published curriculum that is gaining local popularity and credibility amongst colleagues and parents in my area. I have full support from parents who love the music of Little Echoes for their children. My school district, Campbell Union, supported a pilot of the program and recommends the curriculum. Whole Foods Market fully funds the program in my classroom and supports the curriculum by providing product for cooking lessons and trained cooks and nutrition-advisors for classroom demonstrations.
I have a bachelor degree in Liberal Studies with a focus on Creative Writing and a Spanish minor from San Jose State University. I also earned my Cross-curricular Language and Academic Developement Teaching Credential in 1995 from SJSU.
My background is in theater arts and song-writing. I have performed for 15 years in popular music cover bands, at wedding receptions and coffee houses throughout California, and have written many songs for all ages. My other passions include nutrition, exercise and parenting.