Laura earned a BA in Education (Pk-3rd grade) from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. She acquired a license in Administration, Supervision, and teaching subjects. Laura has 12 years of experience in teaching preschool and kindergarten, and served as the School Director and Operations Manager of a Reggio Inspired Early Childhood Center for over 15 years. Laura has been married for 27 years to her wonderful husband and has two grown children, Kevin and Haleigh. She lives in Lakeview East, in the Boystown neighborhood, and loves living near the lake and all of the theaters and restaurants! Laura had the opportunity to visit Reggio Emilia, Italy to see firsthand how a teacher’s work is grounded in advocacy. Laura says, “I believe that what we should strive for in education is to create learning spaces that allow children to be aware of the world and the context that they live in… to be aware that they can make choices… to be aware of how we treat other people with respect and that they have the right to be treated with respect themselves. I want children to feel safe, to be able to ask questions, to feel empowered, to feel competent, to be aware of their abilities and their potential; to be able to learn in an enriching environment and to be able to PLAY.” Laura joined the Total Child staff in June 2020.
Lori earned a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation from Illinois State University. She has also completed 18 hours of coursework in early childhood at Oakton Community College. Lori has worked in the field of early childhood for 9 years, with children ranging from age two up to age six. Lori loves teaching because “each day is a new adventure. Two-year-old’s are amazing because it's an age where children are so curious, exploring their environment and becoming independent.” Lori joined the Total Child staff in August 2021.
Jane earned a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago and an AAS from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. In 2017, Jane transitioned out of her career in graphic design to pursue her true passion for making a positive difference in young children’s lives. She was a full-time nanny before starting her career as an early childhood educator. Jane is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. Jane says, “As an educator, I am dedicated to seeing each child for who they are and building a respectful learning community where children feel secure to explore their world with curious minds and loving hearts.” Jane continues to pursue further learning opportunities, dedicating time to play-activated learning trainings and early childhood coursework. Jane joined the Total Child staff in June 2022.
Jaden earned a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a major in Community Health (with a concentration in Health Education and Pre-Med), and a minor in Spanish. Jaden first began her work with us at Total Child as both an Inclusion Aide and Substitute Teacher before transitioning to her current role as a 3’s teacher. Jaden says, “I am deeply passionate about the fields of Child Development and Special Education and feel that Total Child is the perfect fit for my aspirations as an educator. This school community puts an emphasis on inclusivity, diversity, and equity, while also focusing on supporting your children in all areas of their development.” Jaden is continuing her education journey, as she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education with endorsements in both ESL and Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jaden joined the Total Child staff in 2020.
Isabelle earned a B.S from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Speech and Hearing Sciences, with a concentration in Neuroscience. Isabelle has worked in various roles through the years: teacher assistant, student aid, counselor, and nanny, which allowed her the opportunity to work with children of all ages and abilities. Isabelle says, “My true passion lies with preschoolers, as I have always been fascinated by young children and their ability to view the world in such an exciting and unique light. I hope to create a classroom environment where every child has the opportunity to thrive and flourish, not just academically but within all aspects of their lives.” Isabelle is continuing her education journey, as she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education. Isabelle joined the Total Child staff in the fall of 2021.
Jessica has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Elmhurst College, an endorsement in Early Childhood Education from National Louis University, and a Type 03 teaching license. Jessica has worked with children as a teacher both in the US and abroad, in addition to having experience as an ABA therapist, tutor, and nanny. She loves teaching preschool because, “It’s a new adventure every day! Watching the children make new discoveries about the world around them and themselves, and seeing them grow cognitively, socially, and emotionally is extremely rewarding.” Jessica joined the Total Child staff in October 2013.
Jackie worked as an assistant teacher with infants and toddlers for a year prior to joining us at Total Child. Jackie says, “I think it’s so refreshing to work with kids and be able to see how they navigate the world. I love what I do, I truly believe in being the biggest support system for the kids. I intend to be a role model, someone they can look up to and someone they can feel safe with. I look forward to seeing them all grow, learn, and be their own people.” She is pursuing an Associate of Science in Psychology at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago. Jackie joined the Total Child staff in August 2022.
Isabel has a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Colombia, and has worked with preschool and kindergarten age children for many years. Isabel loves children’s imaginations and listening to their stories. Isabel says, “I love the diversity of Total Child, the amazing relationships we form with the parents, and how our school becomes a community.” Isabel joined the Total Child staff in 2002!
Barbara has a B.A. in English with a minor in psychology from Loyola University. She has taken many early childhood classes and plans to pursue a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Early Childhood Program of the Chicago Waldorf School, working with children from 2-6 years old, and most recently, an Associate Teacher in Room 23 at Total Child Preschool. She is an advocate of play-based education where children are given the space, time, and tools to discover the world. Barbara joined the Total Child staff in 2015.
Jenny has an expansive background in education. Jenny worked as a Junior Kindergarten teacher at the Barbereux School in Evanston for four years. She also taught elementary school in San Antonio, TX for 13 years. Jenny received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Illinois State University and went on to complete a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on Reading Instruction from the University of Texas. Jenny holds an Early Childhood teaching certificate as well as a Reading Certification. Jenny is the mother of three children ages 18, 14 and 13. Her oldest was born with physical and cognitive disabilities and her middle child was adopted at birth. She feels her children and her experiences bring a unique perspective to her teaching. Jenny joined the Total Child staff in the fall of 2018.
Cory earned a B.S. in Statistics from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cory has years of experience working with children and young people in a variety of diverse settings, working as a special education math teacher and serving as a volunteer in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Cory has previous experience in early childhood settings, as well, as both an assistant and lead preschool teacher. We love Cory’s positive attitude and willingness to take on tasks both big and small. Cory joined the Total Child staff in August 2022.
Karlyn earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Columbia College Chicago. Karlyn has worked with children in a variety of roles and capacities throughout the years: student teaching in Chicago Public Schools, as a day camp counselor, and even a youth basketball coach. She is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education, and visited Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2011 to participate in their international study group. In 2014, she began studying the Project Approach with Judy Harris Helm through the Kohl Children's Museum. She also served as a mentor teacher to other Chicagoland childcare providers for the museum's "Introduction to Project Approach- Building a Foundation" program. As an educator, Karlyn believes in the power of environmental design, authentic relationship-building with children and families, nature stewardship, and play-based learning. You can usually find her in her paint splattered smock! Karlyn joined the Total Child staff in January 2013