Little Explorers Early Learning Academy knows that it takes a special kind of person to provide the care and education that young children need and deserve. We take the time and effort to ensure that our team understands, believes in, and encompasses the ideals on which the Little Explorers philosophy, mission, and vision are based. We hold ourselves and each other to the highest standards in order to ensure that your child has only the best daycare and preschool experience possible.
Meet Our Team:
Meet Ms. Katie - Founder and Director
Ms. Katie is our Lead Teacher and Program Director. She has earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from NJCU, as well as a BA in Media Communications with a Theatre Arts Minor from Penn State University. She is certified as a NJ Teacher of Preschool through Grade 3, Elementary Teacher in Grades K-5, and Teacher of Students with Disabilities. Ms. Katie also is CPR, First Aid, and AED Certified. She has taught and managed early education programs as both a Teacher and Program Specialist for many years, working in private, public, charter, and corporate-owned schools and centers. Throughout these experiences, she has learned to excel in the areas of maintaining a clean and safe classroom, maintaining standards set by NAEYC, following State regulations and guidelines, and engaging children in developmentally appropriate and fun activities across all domains of early learning.
Meet Ms. Gina - Assistant Director and Program Supervisor
Ms. Gina has worked with children since high school, when she worked at Suburban Hills Preschool with children ranging from 2-and-a-half through 6 years of age. She also has been a nanny for a family beginning when the children were ages 2 and 3 until they were 9 and 10 years of age. One of these children was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, giving Ms. Gina the opportunity to be trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). She worked with other families as an ABA Therapist part-time while attending The College of Saint Elizabeth for Marketing, with a Public Relations Concentration and a Minor in Psychology. On weekends, Gina volunteers as a Sunday School Teacher with fourth grade children. In her free time Gina enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially her beautiful children Luna and Dante.
Meet Ms. Andrea
Ms. Andrea has been working with children for the past 20 years. She has worked with and enjoys working with children of all ages. She worked with preschool as well as aftercare children in elementary schools. She has also worked as a camp counselor for elementary school aged children. While working at a local child care center, Ms. Andrea received countless hours of professional development in the areas of High Scope, Cultural Awareness, Phonics, Health and Wellness, and Ages and Stages of Development, just to name a few. Ms. Andrea is currently going to school to obtain her bachelors in early childhood education. She has also taken a CDA course to further her knowledge of working with children.
Meet Ms. Stephanie
Ms. Stephanie has always had a passion for teaching and caring for young children. She started out with babysitting jobs as a teenager. She later became an infant /toddler teacher and has been teaching for 5 years and counting at corporate and privately owned learning centers. She also volunteers at her church nursery. Ms. Stephanie has her CDA for infants and toddlers. She is CPR and first aid certified. She has recently became mother to a beautiful baby girl named Evelyn. In her spare time Ms. Stephanie enjoys spending time with family and friends, painting, knitting, and bike riding.
Meet Ms. Danielle
Ms. Danielle joined our team during our first Autumn in our licensed facility, when she was first re-entering the workforce after having a beautiful baby girl in January 2017. Her sweet little toddler currently attends Little Explorers. Ms. Danielle is in the process of completing her Child Development Associate (CDA) Early Childhood Teaching Credential. Danielle has worked in a corporate child care facility as well as spent countless time babysitting Ms. Danielle is the oldest of six sisters whom she helped raise, and is now raising a beautiful little girl of her own. She spends a great-deal of time with her many nieces and nephews as well. Ms. Danielle’s career goal is to open her own center in the future.
Meet Mr. Ugoo
Mr. Ugoo has been working with our Waddlers and Toddlers since Fall 2017. In addition to working with our wonderful children and families, Mr. Ugoo is currently studying online with the University of Phoenix, after leaving Rutgers to have the flexibility of schedule to work with children full-time. Mr. Ugoo’s passion and love for his work is evident the second you see him in the classroom. He feels he has a calling to help guide the future generation in becoming well-rounded kind-hearted individuals. Majoring in Healthcare Administration and Pre-Med, Mr. Ugoo would like to pair his love of science and his love of children by becoming a pediatrician. Mr. Ugoo’s childcare experience includes volunteering with the Children’s Ministry at his church every Sunday for more than five years - working with infants through preschool age children. He also has worked with the YMCA Aftercare Program at a local elementary school, right here in Livingston. Mr. Ugoo has teaching experience with college-age students as well, helping his peers with Biology and Chemistry at the university tutor center. His career goal is to become a pediatrician and work with children in the healthcare field.
Meet Ms. Karen - Teacher & Food Preparation Specialist
Ms. Karen brings a very warm, nurturing energy to our building. She joins our team with over ten years experience in early childhood education at a daycare / preschool facility in her hometown, the Community School of Nutley. Ms. Karen’s ten years experience as a teacher in an early learning center, are in addition to her nearly ten years experience as a stay-at-home mom to her two now very successful and educated adult sons. Ms. Karen studied Early Childhood Development at Kean University and also earned her Dental Assistant Associates Degree from UMDNJ. In addition to her education experience, Ms. Karen worked for 15 years as an Assistant in Oral Surgery to put her boys through college, and is now coming back to her first love - early childhood education. Growing up in a traditional NJ Italian family, she is also a fantastic cook, and has brings her own love and flair to our kitchen.
Meet Ms. Bianca
Ms. Bianca was our first Jr. Preschool classroom teacher, and worked diligently to open and maintain the classroom. She moved up with some of the Jr. Preschool students as they transitioned into the Pre-K, and is happy to work in any of our age groups as she has a clear joy working with all age groups. She is a currently in college, studying Early Childhood Education and has over six years of early childhood experience including volunteer work with special needs children, nanny experience for a family with three young children, and center based experience working with little ones from three months and five years old. She is a very driven young woman, who attends school in the mornings, works here from during the school day, and then nannies in the evenings. She is wonderful at keeping children happy, active, and engaged in what they are doing. Ms. Bianca’s consistency and ability to maintain a calm demeanor in any situation make her an asset to the Little Explorers Team.
Meet Ms. Malaysia
Ms. Malaysia has always had a passion for working with children and working with people overall. Being the second of seven children herself, Ms. Malaysia has been around babies and young children her entire life. Now she gets to enjoy a new perspective as a mother of her own sweet baby boy that we are lucky enough to have as a part of our Little Explorers family along with his mommy! Ms. Malaysia has earned her Associates of Applied Science in Accounting which provides her with analytical and organizational skills that are very beneficial in running a classroom smoothly. Ms. Malaysia's work with the Camden Boys and Girls Club gave her invaluable experience working with children and encouraging them to learn through play and explore their creativity, while also creating a learning environment with predictable routines and structure. Outside of work, Ms. Malaysia is an avid cellist and musician, as well as a professionally trained ballroom dance. All of our children are naturally drawn to Ms. Malaysia’s warm heart and kind spirit.
Meet Ms. Renee
Ms. Renee joined Little Explorers with over 30 years of early childhood experience. She has two adult children of her own, and began her work as a preschool teacher at the center her son attended when he was just three years old. She earned and has consistently renewed and maintained her CDA Early Childhood Teaching Certification since the 1980s and has attended countless trainings through her work as a member of the NJEA, while working in both Head Start preschool and public school programs. Ms. Renee is always willing and able to bring her special care and love to each and every classroom. An avid reader, Ms. Renee loves reading with the children. She also loves getting down on the floor and playing with kids in order to build strong interpersonal relationships and encourage social and emotional development. When not here sharing her generous spirit with our Little Explorers children, families, and staff, Ms. Renee works with adolescent girls living in a group home environment in the evenings and on weekends.
Meet Ms. Diamond
Ms Diamond’s passion for working with children developed early, as she began working with young children when she was just an adolescent herself. Growing up in a home in which her mother ran a heme-based Family Daycare Center, Ms. Diamond had the opportunity to assist in an early learning environment from the young age of ten years old. Ms. Diamond continued to pursue her early childhood career as she grew. As a teenager, she started a baby-sitter’s club with her friends. Through West Orange High School’s state approved Career and Technical Education Early Childhood program, Ms. Diamond learned how to plan and implement lessons appropriate for each early childhood developmental stage from birth through age six. She delivered these lessons to children at the Preschool at West Orange High School under the supervision of certified teaching staff. Ms. Diamond has since worked at a local licensed child care center, as well as in local elementary schools through the YMCA aftercare program. Ms.Diamond has had extensive training through the red cross, the YMCA, and her college coursework. She currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Development in order to further her passion for helping children grow physically and intellectually.
Meet Ms. Maria
Ms. Maria is honored to be a part of the Little Explorers team, working together to educate and support each Little Explorers child throughout their early learning journey. Since earning her BS in Business Management / Marketing from Kaplan University, Ms. Maria has had over ten years of experience in working with young children in both daycare and elementary school settings, with children from infancy through early teenage years. Most recently, Ms. Maria worked at St. Aloysius Academy in Jersey City as a second and third grade teacher. Upon moving to the area, Ms. Maria quickly found a home at Little Explorers!
As a young child, she knew instantaneously that working with children was her passion and vocation. She feels that the most rewarding gift in this profession is witnessing each child’s the growth and progress. She enjoys seeing the smiles on the students’ faces as they learn and explore their talents. Ms. Maria is a mother of four precious children, with whom she enjoys traveling, reading, cooking and watching movies during her leisure time.
Meet Ms. Kerri
Ms. Kerri is an infant teacher with over 25 years of child care experience working both in daycare centers and as a nanny. Ms. Kerri has always had a love for children. Her nurturing and loving personality allows her to build strong bonds with children of any age group, but does find a special joy in working with infants, forming close bonds, and being able to be a part of so many of their “first” moments. Since Ms. Kerri has become a mother to her sweet son, who also attends Little Explorers, her love and care for children has only grown. She finds fulfillment and a great sense of purpose in caring for the little ones each day. When Ms. Kerri is not with us she spends her time as part owner managing her and her husbands Landscaping Company and spending time with her son.
Meet Ms. Kimaya
Ms. Kimaya was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she started on the path to pursue a degree in nursing. Upon becoming a mother, Ms. Kimaya began working at a local early learning center in order to be close to her son and foster her love for children. She immediately fell in love with teaching and quickly began pursuing a CDA credential to become a certified early childhood educator. Ms Kimaya has become a wonderful early childhood teacher who loves to engage young minds all of the exciting things there are to learn about themselves and the world around them! Ms. Kimaya is excited to begin the next chapter of her life by joining Little Explorers Early Learning Academy with her three-year-old son, who is now in our Pre-K class. Ms. Kimaya believes a lot can be accomplished with smile, which is why one can always been seen on her face. Ms. Kimaya values forming healthy and happy teacher-parent relationships, and looks forward to getting to know all of wonderful Little Explorers families
Meet Ms. Mary Jo
Ms. Mary Jo has recently retired after 30 years of teaching Kindergarten in the West Orange Public School system. After retiring, Ms. Mary Jo spent a lot of quality time with her adorable granddaughter, who is also a student here at Little Explorers! Though spending time with her granddaughter helped, retiring was still not as easy as Ms. Mary Jo thought it would be, since she missed the children so much! In Ms. Mary Jo’s own words, “I joined Little Explorers and found happiness!”
Ms. Mary Jo earned her BA from Caldwell University and her MA from Seton Hall University. Ms. Mary Jo is a certified teacher as well as a certified LDTC (Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant). Ms. Mary Jo has also founded support groups across the country to educate women and their families about the existence of postpartum depression, known as the Speak Up When You’re Down Campaign.
*We are always looking for responsible, caring individuals to join our team. If interested in making a difference in the lives of young children and their families, please submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.*
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