• Slide "TOTAL CHILD'S TEACHERS ARE INCREDIBLE!
    KNOWLEDGEABLE IN THEIR FIELD BUT ALSO
    INCREDIBLY COMPASSIONATE AND NURTURING."
  • Staff Bios

    • Laura Carr
      School Director

      Laura Carr

      School Director

      Laura has a BA in Education (Pk-3rd grade) from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a license in Administration, Supervision, and teaching subjects. She has 12 years of experience in teaching preschool and kindergarten and has been in a leadership position as the School Director and Operations Manager of a Reggio Inspired Early Childhood Center for over 15 years. She has been married for 26 years to her wonderful husband and has two grown children, Kevin (24yrs old) and Haleigh (21 years old). She lives in Lakeview East in the Boystown neighborhood and loves living near the lake and all of the theaters and restaurants!
      She had the opportunity to visit Reggio Emilia, Italy to see firsthand how a teacher’s work is grounded in advocacy. She believes 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.
      She wants 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.

    • Nora Gonzales
      Teacher

      Nora Gonzales

      Teacher

      Room 23 – Full Day 2’S
      Nora has an Associate’s degree in Child Development from Harry S. Truman College, and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood practice from National Louis University. Nora joined Total Child in January 2017. Nora has worked with infants, toddlers and preschoolers for nine years, and has eight years of previous experience as a nanny. Nora has a strong background working with diverse families and children. In 2012, she was invited to participate in a Webcast “Connecting with Families” in Washington DC for the Office of Head Start. In addition, Nora is a bilingual teacher and has participated in several events translating for Spanish speaking families in the community. Nora believes that, “children are born to learn and explore the world through play, and by developing strong relationships with caregivers and peers.”

    • Karlyn Rawlinson
      Teacher

      Karlyn Rawlinson

      Teacher

      Room 22 – Full Day 3’s
      Karlyn earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Columbia College and has an early childhood teacher’s license. Karlyn has experience working with children in various Chicago Public Schools, and visited Reggio Emilia, Italy to explore their beautiful, soulful, innovative approach to education. In 2014, she began studying the Project Approach with Judy Harris Helm through the Kohl Children’s Museum. This year, she will serve as a mentor teacher to other childcare providers for the museum’s “Introduction to Project Approach- Building a Foundation” program. Karlyn joined the Total Child staff in January 2013.

    • Heather Harris
      Teacher

      Heather Harris

      Teacher

      Room 22 – Full Day 3’s
      Heather has worked as an assistant teacher in elementary and middle school special-ed classrooms for 6 years before coming to Chicago and working as a teacher in preschools. Heather earned her BA in Anthropology from Eastern University and a CDA from Rasmussen College. Heather joined Total Child in August 2019. Heather says, “I teach because a child’s curiosity is contagious, their imagination is limitless, and their love is genuine.”

    • Jessica de l'Annee de Betrancourt
      Teacher/Administrative Coordinator

      Jessica de l'Annee de Betrancourt

      Teacher/Administrative Coordinator

      Room 25 – Morning 4’s
      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. Jessica joined the Total Child staff in October 2013. 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.”

    • Jenny Noojibail
      Assistant Teacher

      Jenny Noojibail

      Assistant Teacher

      Room 25 – Morning 4’s
      Jenny joined Total Child in the fall of 2018. Prior to coming here, she was a Junior Kindergarten teacher for four years at the Barbereux School in Evanston. 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 and Early Childhood teaching certificate as well as a Reading Certification.
      Jenny is the mother of three children ages 14, 10 and 9. 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.

    • Isabel Cieplinski
      Teacher/Assistant Director

      Isabel Cieplinski

      Teacher/Assistant Director

      Room 26 – Full Day 4’s
      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 has been at Total Child since 2002! We all love Isabel’s positive energy and willingness to do what is best for the children-even if it’s hard for her! Isabel loves children’s imaginations and listening to their stories.

    • Barbara Becker-Gold
      Teacher

      Barbara Becker-Gold

      Teacher

      Room 26 – Full Day 4’s
      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 this year. She has been 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 has been teaching at Total Child since 2015.

    • Emily Anderson
      Support Staff / Developmental Therapist

      Emily Anderson

      Support Staff / Developmental Therapist

      My name is Emily Anderson and I am excited to work to support young children and their families at Total Child. I have 25 years of experience working in various roles in the Early Childhood field.

      I received a Human Service-Bachelor’s degree from Kendall College/ National Louis University and a Master’s degree in Child Development from Erikson Institute. I also currently hold my Developmental Therapy and Evaluator credential with Illinois Early Intervention. I am passionate about supporting parents and children using a family-centered and holistic approach. My goal is to enhance children’s learning, sensory, and executive functioning skills and to promote the social and emotional development of young children.

    The Way We Learn

    Our classroom is set up with the intention of the learning environment acting as the “third teacher.” Domains of learning are always evident: science and knowledge of the physical world, literacy, art and symbolic representation, logic and mathematical thinking, building and dramatic play, etc. It is the “third teacher” acting as a provocateur that leads the children to investigate, explore, problem solve, theorize, and develop their own learning using their unique learning style. We all become researchers.

     

    One of our favorite activities is making play-dough. The kiddos love getting their hands in the mix…literally!! They are involved in each step from pouring the ingredients to kneading the dough to choosing the scent. The best part of making the play-dough from scratch is that each time it is a new learning experience. Sometimes we add too much water and have soupy dough while other times it may be dry and crumbly. Making play-dough is a great way to explore new vocabulary words, work on problem solving skills, follow a multi-step direction, as well as making predictions and taking turns. The best part is getting messy!!!

    An ongoing project that we do throughout the whole school year is our “Class Journal.” At the end of each day, one child (on a rotating schedule) draws a picture and dictates a sentence about one activity we did at school that day. These pictures hang up on our wall for the duration of the week, and then they are added to our Class Journal binder, where students can look back through the pages. This serves as a concrete, child-created visual aid to discuss the concept of time- what did we do today? What happened yesterday? What did we do the day before? We always “ooh and ahh” over each child’s completed journal page which helps build self-esteem for the artist. The children love looking back through the pages to find the ones they drew or remember different activities we’ve done!