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Paula S. Gopin

I received my B.S. from Boston University with a major in Elementary Education and Special Education.   At Wheelock College, I was able to study for an M.S. in the new field of infant and toddler behavior, and the idea of Creative Playtime was “hatched."  My Ed.D. from Boston University in human development offered me the opportunity to focus on family systems and the parenting role.

In the hours after Creative Playtime, I often teach early childhood courses and teacher training at area colleges, namely Mt. Ida College and Wheelock College.  I would like to think that I can enliven developmental theories and educational practices by drawing upon examples, anecdotes, and illustrations from time spent with the toddlers, twos and threes (no names, of course!)  My recent travels (Japan, Vietnam) always include a visit to programs for young children so I can continue to learn about children in different cultural settings.

I feel very fortunate that my work is also my passion. Since 1986 I have had the incredible honor of meeting the most wonderful families and delightful children.  Every September presents a new opportunity to learn from the children and see the world through the magical lens of a toddler’s view.  It is so fascinating to observe the unique temperament of each child; to help cultivate new interests and abilities; and to assist the young child in developing effective problem solving strategies. My fondest moments are when I meet alumni families and see how our children from past years are growing and developing.

Creative Playtime is enhanced by the professionalism, talents, and endearing personalities of a terrific team of teachers who have been “hand-picked” for the qualities which they bring to the team. It is my pleasure to present them to you.

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Rosalind “Roz” Segaloff

I have a B.S. in Education from Boston University, and have been involved in teaching my entire life, both in public and private schools.  While I have worked with children between the ages of two and thirteen, and found that each age has its special qualities, I most enjoy working with the youngest children.  I have been at Creative Playtime since 1993 as the Assistant Director and art specialist.

The artwork of young children demonstrates their individuality, creativity, and intelligence.  It is a pleasure and honor to help foster the love of learning and creative abilities of these very bright and highly enjoyable young people. When I enthusiastically introduce a project, whether it be individually or in a group, the children seem to reflect the same kind of excitement.  Occasionally I add a little finishing touch to the project while maintaining the integrity of their creation. For example, framing their art might add a little “pizzazz.” It is interesting to discover the many artistic styles of two and three year olds.  We could have a minimalist, an impressionist, or an abstract artist in our midst.

Getting to know the children by playing on the floor at their level is a learning experience for me. Toddlers exhibit playfulness, honesty, and a desire to please that is like no other age group.

Since we have such a great ratio of staff to children, there are opportunities to observe their interactions with materials and their peers. We can learn about each child’s sense of self and sense of others from observation.  Most of all, I believe that children this age deserve strong doses of love, structure, and flexibility to facilitate their path to a successful future.

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Riselle “Rissy” Hirsh

I graduated from Wheelock College with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education.  This is my seventh year at Creative Playtime. It is wonderful being a part of a professional team that really enjoys working with children as well as each other. I love working with the two and three year olds. They are all “delicious.”  I  believe what children experience at these ages plays a vital role in their future development.  I believe in:

  • Treating every child as an individual

  • Focusing on children’s strengths

  • Never comparing one child to another

  • Building self-esteem

  • Giving children many opportunities to succeed.  I feel it is key to reward success with praise, and to praise children for their efforts even when they may not succeed.

  • Giving children choices rather than demands

  • Offering gentle and even playful persuasion instead of a harsh approach

  • Modeling patience with children so they will learn patience with others

  • Teaching the phrases “it’s O.K.” or “it’s no big deal” if a child spills or breaks something accidentally

  • Teaching children about being a good friend and about sharing and caring for the feelings of others.

I spend a lot of time reading books to the children.  Children can discover a wealth of knowledge from stories.  We have an amazing library at Creative Playtime.  I learn so much about each child and the children learn so much about each other from informal discussions that spontaneously arise from the stories we read.  Besides, what could be better than snuggling during story time?

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Susan “Suzi” Fuld

I began college knowing what I knew through my entire childhood and adolescence: I wanted to be a teacher.  My favorite pretend game as a child was ALWAYS school, and because I was the oldest child, I was always the teacher!  After I received a B.S. in both Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Syracuse University I was ready to get into the “trenches”.  After teaching kindergarten in New York City for three years, I took a one year leave-of-absence to get a Master of Education degree at Tufts.  And just like Charlie on the MBTA, I never returned.

Here in Massachusetts I have taught a wide span of ages from toddlers to thirteen year-olds.(OK, teaching 7th grade was not my finest moment, although there are many similarities between toddlers and adolescents. But, trust me, toddlers are MUCH more fun!)  I would say that my favorite ages are 2-5 year olds.  It is such a joy to see the world through their eyes.  They are responsive, enthusiastic, and explorative learners.
In addition to teaching, I have also worked in educational publishing, creating curriculum, writing materials, selling curricula, and training teachers.  I have also been involved in special needs advocacy.
Working at Creative Playtime has afforded me the opportunity to “have it all.” I have the day-to-day contact with the children, their parents, and wonderful colleagues.  But I also get to develop, play, and implement curriculum!  I love creating something from nothing- taking an idea, a goal, or an educational concept and building a meaningful, hands-on, open-ended, and developmentally appropriate curriculum for two -and three –year olds.  It’s challenging, exhilarating, and fun.  I should also mention that in addition to being the curriculum coordinator I am also the resident Red Sox expert- proof that I really did leave New York behind! 

I became acquainted with Creative Playtime when my second child was one and a friend told me about Paula.  I visited and knew instantly that this was where I wanted my child to be.  She and her younger two siblings are alumni.  My only regret is that Creative Playtime was not around when my eldest child was two!  Now...here I am…many years later.  I have worked in many settings.  But none compare with the loving, nurturing, accepting, and stimulating environment of Creative Playtime. After many years in the field, I can honestly say that I learn something new here everyday.

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Ilana Halko

I started my Creative Playtime journey in 2001 as an assistant, while attending college in Boston. After receiving my B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Boston University, I began working in Early Intervention for Boston Children's Hospital, in the Greater Boston Area. I decided to learn more about children with and without special needs and received my M. Ed. in Special Education from UMASS.  I returned to teaching, as a public preschool teacher in Belmont, MA. After my daughter was born, I opted for a more flexible schedule and began working with college students working towards their MA Early Childhood license. I now have two children ages 5 and 7 and continue to work with students working toward their license to teach in MA.

Although I enjoy my work with college students, my true love is working with young children.  After having two of my own, I now understand life on both sides of the table. I love watching the children mature and develop as members of our lovely classroom community.  I look forward to the hugs, songs, and daily projects that happen at Creative Playtime.  It is our job to facilitate learning, social growth and provide opportunities for children to grow as individuals. After working in a variety of early childhood settings, the small, family like atmosphere of Creative Playtime is like no where else. I sent my own children here, and now feel lucky to work in such a warm, caring environment with loving families and children.                 

Working at Creative Playtime gives me an opportunity to combine my love of children, arts and crafts and technology. I am able to put my love of pinterest, facebook and all things internet to good use. We are able to use technology to create end of the year slide shows, dvds, books and so much more.

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