The field of early education is constantly growing and evolving. It’s our goal to help Wonderschool in-home child care providers develop professionally so they can offer the best care to the children in their programs and achieve their own professional goals.
This is why we incorporate mentorship from experienced child care providers as well as opportunities for professional development to all of our providers. Our mentoring program is an important piece of the Wonderschool Quality and Safety Promise.
The Wonderschool Mentoring program provides individualized, in-person support and coaching on everything from setting up a high quality early learning environment, to understanding child development and working well with parents.
The provider-mentor relationship
Working closely with a mentor is a great way to be sure you’re building an intentional and high-quality environment. By intentional, we mean a physical environment that has been designed for the specific ages of children you’ll have in your care, as well as a daily rhythm that is structured to allow the children in your care to grow, explore, and thrive.
Mentors work hands-on with Wonderschool providers throughout the process of setting up and launching your program, and provide ongoing support once your program is in operation. Your mentor will help you identify an individualized professional development plan that will help build on the knowledge, skills, and experiences you already have, and will connect you with other Wonderschool program directors with whom you can share and learn.
Your mentor will also help you set annual goals, for yourself or your program, and provide resources and support in achieving those goals. Our goal is for your program’s continued growth and development, helping you develop and hone your own skills as an early childhood educator, and support for all children and families to have a great early learning experience while in your care. We can’t wait to start working with you!
Meet our Mentors
Leigh works directly with our providers in the Bay Area to help them set up high-quality in-home learning environments, and is also the Mentor Lead for Wonderschool which means she helps guide the mentoring process in all of our markets. After attending San Francisco State University, Leigh began a career in healthcare management but found herself inspired by the teachers of young children that she knew. Eventually, she decided to change direction and follow her desire to work with children. Although she has experience working with all ages, she found herself especially drawn to working in groups of young children, which lead her to begin her career in Early Childhood Education.
Finally, in 2005 she realized her dream of having her own school after the birth of her daughter and has been operating her program (Leigh’s House) ever since. Her favorite thing about what she does is developing relationships with the children that she teaches and their families. She believes that small class size and the development of a strong community allow her and her team to really know each child as an individual and to provide a solid and supportive foundation in the early years. Over time, Leigh’s program became a fixture in her community and she wanted to connect more with other programs in the area, which is what led her to her role as a Wonderschool mentor.
Neta Raz Studnitski
Neta is the mentor for Southern California programs. Neta has her B.A. in Early Childhood Education, and also holds a Site Supervisor Child Development Permit, is a certified California Mentor Teacher, and a certified Outdoor Classroom Specialist. Neta has over 18 years of experience as a teacher and a site supervisor for ages 0-6, school age, and adults. Her areas of expertise include designing educational environments, dealing with challenging behaviors, positive communication with families, curriculum design, curriculum and environment modifications and accommodations for children with special needs, and more.
Juliana (or Juli for short) is the mentor for our New York market and has over 15 years of experience as a leader in the field of early childhood education. Juli is excited to share what she’s learned with Wonderschool partners. In 2014, she co-founded Honeybirds Playschool, an in-home preschool program located in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
Juliana serves as the school administrator; managing enrollment, marketing, operations, and accounting for Honeybirds. She has experience working with different cultures, varying ages, and special needs children. Juliana also brings a deeper understanding of the children’s needs while preparing them for what is ahead. Juli loves to play and be silly with the children. She studied psychology and African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies at Hunter College. Juliana enjoys spending time at the local ceramics studio, gardening, and reading for her book club when she isn’t playing pretend with preschoolers.
See how Wonderschool providers receive support and mentorship in the following video featuring Open Minds Early School:
Opportunities to constantly learn and grow in ECE
We offer local, in-person training to help our providers learn and grow as caregivers and educators as well as monthly webinars on a variety of relevant topics for early care and education professionals. We’ve offered everything from mindfulness training, to mandated reporter refresher training, literacy workshops, STEM trainings, a series on challenging behavior, tax preparation 101 for child care business owners, school readiness, and more! Events like these are free for our providers and their staff members. We also invite other community members to attend for a small fee.
Once our providers open their programs, we provide an annual stipend towards the professional development activity of their choice.
As we grow, we’ll continue to connect educators to local, regional, and national level conferences and professional growth-related opportunities.
Oversight and support from our Head of Early Care and Education, Mia Pritts
All of our providers receive support from Mia, our Head of Early Care and Education. Mia started her career as a preschool teacher and has since taken on leadership positions in the field of early childhood education:
- Mia was one of the first employees at Children’s Creative Learning Centers (CCLC), the organization that Google, Clif Bar, Pixar, Electronic Arts, and other major companies partnered with to start on-campus child care programs.
- She spent over five years building CCLC’s programs. She oversaw centers that served 700+ children aged six weeks to twelve years and had 200+ staff. Mia grew curricula in each center to include emergent components. She trained and mentored teachers and directors, increased parent and client satisfaction rates, assessed processes and implemented new programs.
- Mia also served as a part time Executive Director of Californians for Quality Early Learning (CQEL), a non-profit child care association serving 1,500 members throughout the state of California.
- Most recently before joining Wonderschool, Mia served as the Program Implementation Director at Early Learning Ventures, a Colorado-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to quality, affordable child care. The organization focuses its efforts on improving the quality of early child care programs offered at the nation’s center- and home-based child care facilities.
- Mia received a BS in Family and Community Services and ECE from Michigan State University and an MA in Educational Psychology and Educational Assessment from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Mia is available as an early care and education resource at any time, for both Wonderschool providers AND parents, whether you need help with an aspect of your program, support for an individual child, parent, or teacher, and anything in between.
Interested in starting your own Wonderschool program?
Wonderschool has helped over 140 educators and child care providers start and grow their own programs. Learn more about starting your own child care here or preschool here or contact us today at [email protected] to get started.