Maestra Megan - Founding Preschool Teacher
I have been working with children for as long as I can remember. My mother loves to tell stories about how I wanted to help take care of the younger children in my preschool and about how I was selected to tutor my peers in elementary school. This love of working with young children grew into creating my own babysitting business to working at summer camps for many years to studying Education in school.
I studied at San Francisco State University majoring in Child Development and Ethnic Studies with a minor in Race and Resistance Studies. When I chose to study Childhood Development and Education, I was disappointed by many education programs and the lack of innovation, care, and understanding of the complexity that is raising our youth while honoring their experience. During this time I worked for many years at the preschool on campus while being trained in the philosophy of Reggio Emilia. I took a break to direct the Women's Center and teach High School Photography, but I always kept coming back to my love of teaching young children.
Becoming a mother impacted my understanding of being an educator in a profound way illuminating the intricacies of understanding children and families. My teaching experience became directly influenced. by what I thought was best for my children. My passion for quality education for young children and my varied experiences has brought me here to the forest. I genuinely believe we are are creating an offering in which all children can flourish.
Maestro Julio- Assistant Director & Founding Teacher
My name is Julio Bernal. Escuelita del Bosque is a special position for me since I grew up in East Oakland and was educated through the Oakland Unified School District. I recently graduated from San José State University with a degree in Childhood and Adolescent Development. My prior experiences include working as the Full-Immersion Spanish Teacher at World Kids Academy in Oakland, Lead Supervisor and 4th Grade Teacher at Higher Ground in Oakland, and Teacher Assistant at Chabot College’s Children Center in Hayward.
I was born in México and spent the first 10 years of my life there, where I completed elementary school. From a young age I liked school, although sometimes I lacked the motivation to study or engage in some of the classes. I now realize that it was due to the fact that everyone learns in different ways and uses different methods to produce academic results. I was lucky to have teachers who knew how to reach students like me and motivated me to find the joy in learning. These learning experiences have followed me into adult life, and now I find myself in the position to facilitate these types of learning opportunities for the students at Escuelita del Bosque following the school’s principles and goals.
Maestra Rosa - Founding Preschool Teacher
My name is Rosa Carranza Gomez. I was born and raised in El Salvador, and I have lived in the United States for 22 years. I am a mother of three wonderful children and a grandmother of a 5 years old boy. I love and respect nature, and all the living things because I care about all human kind. I also love outdoor activities, especially camping, hiking, biking, playing fútbol (soccer), soft ball and dancing. I am very international with food and music, but my favorite food is pupusas a Salvadoran, dish and my second favorite is Indian food.
In 1995, I moved to Burlingame where I worked as a full time nanny for more than ten years. In 2004, I went back to school for English as Second Language classes and for Child Development classes as well. In 2013 my dream came true, I obtained my Associate of Arts degree in Child Development from San Francisco City College. From 2008 - 2013, I worked as a substitute teacher in the Bay Area while I was attending school. Then, for the 2013 - 2014 school year, I worked as a permanent full time teacher for the Sunnydale Heard Start Program. I am now enjoying my second year teaching in the preschool program at Escuelita del Bosque.
I love everything I do, and I am proud and committed to the causes I believe in. I respect people for who they are, not for what they have. I believe that children deserve a loving and understanding environment, and people who can guide them with love and care.
Maestra Elena - Founding Preschool Teacher
Hi my name is Elena Topete I was born in Mexico in a town in the state of Jalisco in the Sierra Madre Occidental. English is my second language, I wanted to be a preschool teacher from a very young age. My studies have been at community colleges in Oakland and Berkeley. I have two Associates Degrees, Early Child Development and Liberal Art and a dream continue studying at the University level.
I worked at Alameda Montessori schools, first as an assistant, and then took a Montessori certified training to become a MMI teacher. I had the opportunity to work with a teacher team of preschool, kindergarten and art teachers. Working at Montessori schools was an experience that was very interesting as how children learn by observing in a very independent way with the materials that children practice every day.
My second preschool teacher training was focused on the philosophy of Emilio Reggio at the private "Duck Nest" school, at this school I had the opportunity to do my practice as a teacher.
Years later I focused as an art teacher. I worked part time at the MOCHA Museum and at Le Conte Elementary School in Berkeley in the after-school program. My last job at Lotus Bloom with children from 3 - 5 was a special program for immigrant families in the Fruitvale area. This was a wonderful experience working with my community and others. I offered all my knowledge and my love to those children and families.
Being in the forest with Escuelita del Bosque is being connected to everything with nature. It is impressive to see how children develop, explore, play and learn with the natural sciences and all the creatures that are found in nature. To be a teacher of the forest is to be in paradise, with a wonderful team focused on the philosophy of nature.