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What we love most about our work are the people we work with. We’re very proud of our natural play community here at Natural Pod and to celebrate some of the people in our community, we’ve started a short series we’re calling our Natural Play Community People Profiles. Short interviews with some of the great people leading the work of using natural play to inspire creativity, learning and compassion in our early learning, kindergarten, preschool and daycare communities.

Our featured Natural Play Community People Profile of the week is: Amanda Fellner

What inspired you to be an educator?

I’ve always seemed to connect with young children and even as a young child I knew I wanted to work in some fashion with kids. While working on my masters, I took a job as an infant teacher in a lab school. I completely fell in love with my work and the environment I was in. It was here that I learned to be a critical educator, to make deliberate choices in the classroom, and to value the many competencies that are often overlooked in young children.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

The most rewarding aspects of my work often center around the graduate students and other teachers that I teach. The day I have conveyed to another teacher the wonder of working with infants is a day of great accomplishment. My goal is for them to see the intricacies of working with children so young and to understand that it is more than just “babysitting”. I also really value the relationships I get to develop with families. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of someone’s family from the very beginning and to share in the start of a child’s life.

What best describes the unique aspects of the program that you offer?

Our programs strives to treat each child as a competent, capable individual starting from day one. We encourage free play and exploration, getting messy, and enjoying being little. Our curriculum emerges from the needs and interests of the children, shifting and changing as the children do. Overall, we want to create a loving, warm environment that mimics the home as much as possible.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change in your learning environment?

If I had a magic wand, I’d have a large outdoor space attached to my school where the kids could engage in gardening and sensory experiences on a daily basis. While we have opportunities to do this indoors, it would be nice to have a dedicated space for running, jumping, climbing, and so much more that was a private space.