Spotlight on Presenters Jennifer Adams, Natasha Rhodes, and Jennie Ogden
Image of the Infant-Toddler- The Reggio Emilia Approach in the Earliest Years
Explore how educators can apply the Reggio principles specifically to an infant-toddler classroom. Participants will learn about infant brain architecture and the vital role that teachers have in the creation of these lifelong neural connections. Teachers will learn about practical applications, the theory of loose parts, lesson planning, and classroom environment design principles.
Jennifer Adams, M.Ed., CAS School Psychology: Founding Director
We often say that The Little School is the insides of Jennifer’s brain dumped out into the world. Indeed, TLS owes its forward thinking (and forever evolving) mission to this woman with a strong vision and profound belief in every child’s one-of-a-kind capabilities. Jennifer was born into a family of educators; her father was a superintendent in the public schools and her mother was a head of The Summit School, an independent school in Winston-Salem serving Pre-K through ninth grade. These early years living and attending Summit heavily influenced her pedagogic approach for a unique child centered education; one where creative thinking and problem solving reigned king. Indeed, her earliest jobs were spent as a camp counselor, a preschool teacher, and a middle school teacher for children with learning and emotional disabilities.
Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University. Jennifer headed to the other side of the country to The University of Delaware, where she completed her Masters in Education with a concentration in children with disabilities, as well as a Specialist Level degree in School Psychology. She returned to North Carolina and began working as a School Psychologist in the Alamance-Burlington School System. She set out to find the perfect school for her children- one where EVERY child is invited to play. A school where children were encouraged to explore, to think for themselves, to get muddy, and to be uniquely themselves. It simply did not exist. Never content to sit still or settle, Jennifer decided to build that school in 2006, and we are grateful she did.
Natasha Rhodes: Pedagogista
Natasha was born and raised in Durham, NC. Tasha began her journey as an Early Childhood Educator in 2002, working with children from infancy to 6 years of age. She earned her AAS in Early Childhood Education in 2018. Natasha has a strong belief in the power of relationships, successfully advocating a continuity of care model for our school. Natasha and her wife, Kristy share the mothering and joy of raising their daughter, Kaitlyn, and 2-year-old (Yorkie-poo) Brandy. Natasha has a couple of hobbies that she enjoys wildly, such as couponing (such an addiction!), baking, cooking, spending time with her family and friends, being a “classroom parent” at her daughter’s school, and listening to country music! Tasha joined TLS in 2013.
Jennie Ogden: School Director
Since she was a small child, Jennie knew she wanted to be a teacher. Initially drawn to deaf education, Jennie was compelled to make high-quality education accessible to all, despite any learning differences. After earning her degree in Elementary Education, Jennie worked as a kindergarten teacher in Durham Public Schools. She came to a place in her career where her pedagogic dreams were not matching with her reality. In search of a new way of teaching, she found TLS in 2010 and quickly discovered the joy she was searching for. In her nine years at TLS Jennie has worked with nearly every age, in every building, and even taught at our Duke campus. Along with being a TLS teacher and mentor, she has also served in the role of TLS parent to her two children, Jaci-Ann and Gregory. In her spare time (ha!) she is a member of Hillsborough Elementary School’s PTA, and has a side business baking cupcakes with her Mom. She can make her hair into a reindeer, is a walking Pinterest board, and perhaps most importantly, makes a mean buffalo chicken dip. A deeply reflective leader, Jennie is the first to tell you that she learns as much from her misses as she does from her wins. She is also meticulously organized, dedicated to early years education, wildly creative and so in love with our schools and our community.