I say "excitable" but what I really mean is passionate. I have an extreme enthusiasm for all things early childhood. I believe in the power of play, getting dirty, climbing trees, star gazing, pretending, and the idea that learning is magical. I strive to make better citizens through encouragement, love, and teaching equality. I specialize in creating content which hits all early learning standards yet engaging, memorable, outside of the box, and most of all FUN!
After several years teaching in progressive education, I now find myself transferring these skills at the Chicago Children's Museum. As a program manager and lead educator I make spaces and create programs which are developmentally appropriate and simulating to our littlest learners. As a photographer I document these experiences and use it to educate others on the wonders of the relationship between learning and play.
In 2015, while teaching Pre-K, I was approached by a documentary film crew working on a piece about early childhood education. For 8 weeks the Yellow Room was filmed everyday for the feature length documentary No Small Matter. When principal photography wrapped I was approached by the film’s producers to be the host of the film's advocacy project. I am currently the writer, director, and on screen talent for a series of video blogs tackling early childhood ed issues ranging from teaching equality in a hyper-partisan environment to how to make your own fluffy foamy slime.
I offer workshops on:
Creating authentic observations in classroom settings
Using American Sign Language with preschoolers
Designing sophisticated spaces for children on a budget
Using Visual Thinking Strategies with preschoolers to enhance language development and cognitive skills
Developing progressive play space curriculums.
I've been published in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Child Care Exchange on the topic of Children's Rights and in Chicago Parent. I've created curriculum for Art of Ed on the topics of rethinking spaces and fostering progressive early learning environments. I am currently on a speaking tour with No Small Matter. You can hear all about my adventures at Chicago Children's Museum and No Small Matter on Kids Stuff Podcast, HiMama, and Soul Survivor Radio. Recently I've collaborated with attn: on the importance of preschool teachers. In my rare moments of free time I work as a volunteer magician for Open Heart Magic where I attempt to perform magic for children at Chicago area hospitals.
I currently live in Chicago, although I travel frequently with a small stuffed mouse. We would love to visit you. For information on speaking and workshops contact me for details at giannini.rachel [at] gmail [dot] com.