The nursery provides a warm, safe and nurturing environment for infants and young toddlers to develop positive feelings in their first group setting. Our teachers respect each child’s individual needs and therefore follow a flexible schedule that caters to each child. The infants enjoy spending lots of time snuggling with their teachers. The room creates a warm stimulating environment where the children feel secure exploring their surroundings. Daily reports are written sharing all the information relevant to your child’s day.
Stephanie Houde, Teacher – Stephanie attended Riverside as a child. Some of Stephanie’s former teachers are now her co-workers, including her mom! She began her career here as an assistant teacher in the afternoons and has worked her way up to Teacher in the Nursery. Her love for babies and early childhood education has driven her to complete her degree in Education.
Pat McManus, Teacher – Pat joined Riverside in 2011. She is a graduate of Wheelock College where she received a BS in Early Childhood Education and a M.Ed. in Administration of ECE and Human Service Programs. Prior to joining Riverside, Pat was a teacher and co-director at Beginning Years Child Development Center for 17 years. As a new teacher to Riverside, Pat loves that there “seems to be a positive sense of community and a child-centered philosophy. It also seems that teachers are valued…the longevity of teachers is impressive!”
Nicole Censullo, Teacher– Nicole began her career her at Riverside as an afternoon assistant. Shortly after, she was employed as a Floating Teacher. As she gained experience in each classroom, she realized her passion was truly with the babies. Nicole joined the Nursery in the summer of 2016 and has been a wonderful addition. Nicole has her BA in Psychology from Stonehill College and her MS in School Counseling from Northeastern University.
Amanda Conklin, Teacher – Amanda has worked in the Nursery classroom since the fall of 2010. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Vermont. Besides taking care of babies all day, Amanda enjoys exercising and traveling. In college, she spent a semester abroad in Sweden and loved it! On the side, Amanda works at a gymnastics gym because she used to be a competitive gymnast. Amanda is originally from Marblehead, MA and has a younger brother.
Teachers provide support for parents by helping the children cope with separation and transitions. The room is a cozy, safe place where children are cuddled and encouraged to explore their surroundings. Teachers help the children to become more independent, share, and express themselves as they explore colors, shapes, seasons, family, animals, and many other themes.
Kelly Joosten, Teacher – Kelly began at Riverside in 2010 as a part-time Rainbow Room Teacher’s Assistant. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted to her current position of Rainbow Team Teacher. Kelly is a graduate of Elmira College in New York state where she received a BS in Psychology and Art Education. Prior to joining the Riverside team, Kelly was a graduate student and she had many different jobs. One of Kelly’s favorite things about Riverside is “watching the children learn and grow.”
Susan Sandberg, Teacher – Susan joined Riverside in 1993. She is a graduate of Wittenberg University where she received a BA in Psychology. Since beginning at Riverside, Susan has served in a variety of roles including Floating Assistant Teacher and Nursery Teacher. Susan has held various positions at Riverside, but has been a Team Teacher in the Rainbow Room since 2010. Her favorite hobby is baking. She enjoys hammock camping and snuggling with her dog Robyn. Susan grew up in Wellesley, MA and currently lives in Medford with her husband Peter (and Robyn!).
Kelsey Young, Teacher – Kelsey is a graduate of Fitchburg State University. While there, Kelsey earned her BA in Communications Media. Kelsey has helped in each room at Riverside and helps cover team meetings! Before working at Riverside Kelsey was a photo lab technician, a camp counselor, a photographer, a babysitter, and an assistant at a daycare. Kelsey loves “how connected all the employees are with the children.”
The Turtle Room teachers provide a warm and caring environment as the children explore the classroom and grow in all areas of development. Structured and small group activities are balanced with periods of free choice. Independence and self-help skills are encouraged, as are cooperation and learning to follow directions. The curriculum includes investigating nature and visiting places in the local community, as well as exposure to various art mediums and sensory play. The teachers work together with parents as they navigate through their child’s developmental milestones.
Angela Rosano, Teacher – Angela has been at Riverside for 2 years. However, she has been working with children for 5 years. Angela enjoys reading books, singing, and learning something new about each child. She recently got married and has a cat named Leyla.
Mary Washburn, Teacher and Educator Scheduling Coordinator – Mary is the most senior staff member at Riverside! She began her career here in 1984 as a preschool teacher. In 1987, she transferred to her current position in the Turtle Room. Mary is a graduate of Mass Bay Community College where she majored in Early Childhood Education. While doing her student teaching at Riverside, Mary also worked at a donut shop. The donut shop closed so Mary asked RCC’s Director if Riverside had any openings, and they did! Mary and her husband, Chip, have two boys, both RCC alumni. One thing Mary loves about Riverside is “the dedicated staff that delivers quality care, including the administration.”
Nancy Sullivan, Teacher – Nancy joined Riverside in 1986. She is a graduate of Mass Bay Community College where she majored in Early Childhood Education. Nancy and her husband, Joe, have a son who is a “graduate” of Riverside. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys attending her son’s hockey and baseball games and spending time with family and friends. The thing Nancy most enjoys about Riverside is “watching the children grow….I love my job.”
Teachers encourage the children’s curiosity, enthusiasm, interests, and abilities as the children learn about the world around them. Circle time expands from singing songs and sharing books to include discussing ideas and feelings. The children begin to develop friendships and make choices about the activities that interest them.
Annie White, Teacher – As long as Annie can remember, she has wanted to work with children. She attended Santa Monica City College where she received an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Annie later continued her early childhood studies at San Diego State University. She began her teaching career in 1981 teaching preschool in California. In 1987, she joined the Discovery Team at Riverside. Annie comes from a large family and is one of twelve children. Outside of teaching, she serves as a member of RCC’s Board of Directors and is on the Fundraising Committee. One of Annie’s favorite things about Riverside is “the kinds of rewards you get from the children and the ways they enrich my life every day; from their laughter to their accomplishments to their precious beings.”
Kelsy Morrison, Teacher – Kelsy began working at RCC in 2012 as an assistant teacher in the Discovery Room. She later was asked to be a floating assistant teacher and the Turtle Room assistant teacher. The opportunity arose to move back into the Discovery Room as an Associate Teacher, which later resulted in becoming a Teacher. Kelsy graduated from MassBay with an Associates in Early Childhood Education. Previous to RCC, Kelsy worked in the Coolidge Corner Library and held summer jobs in the Brookline Early Education Program.
Amanda Peterson, Teacher – Amanda just began at Riverside this year. However, she has 4 years of experience prior to RCC. Amanda has a Bachelors of Science in Psychology, graduating cum laude, with a specialization in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. In her free time, Amanda loves to be outside and spending time with my friends, family, and boyfriend.
Children initiate many of the themes and share their interests and skills with each other. Teachers foster an understanding of a wide variety of topics through books, dramatic play, discussion, art, science and nature activities, and field trips. The children develop strong friendships and enjoy group activities as well as individual projects.
Judy Schweitzer, Teacher – Judy began teaching at Riverside after arriving in the United States in 1987. Judy’s studies began in Cape Town, South Africa, where she studied Early Childhood Education and taught pre-school for many years. She then went back to college in Cape Town to become an Art Teacher, and later trained to be an Art Therapist at London University. Judy started a Pre-Kindergarten class attached to an Afrikaans Elementary school, and she has traveled the world. Her other work experiences include working on a Community Arts Project for disadvantaged children; as an Art Therapist at Guys Hospital, London; and as a volunteer at a school for children with autism in Australia. Judy has also led practical workshops for teachers in areas such as Weaving and Puppetry. Judy’s special interests include Art and Sensory Integration. One thing Judy loves about Riverside is “the sense of community.”
Michelle Murdock, Teacher – Michelle joined Riverside in 2010 as the Teacher Assistant in the Discovery Room and was hired full-time in September 2012. She is a graduate of Wheelock College where she received Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Psychology with a focus in Early Childhood Education. Michelle has been a member of the Board of Director’s and is Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee. Michelle loves “all of the different relationships I have with the children, staff, and families.”
Meghan Ellis, Teacher and Enrichment Coordinator – Meghan joined Riverside as a Floating Teacher in 2004. Shortly thereafter, she transferred to her current position in the Research Room. Meghan received a BS in Early Childhood Education and Psychology from Bridgewater State College. Prior to joining Riverside, she worked for many years as a School Age Group Leader and a Camp Counselor and Leader. She is very involved with Riverside and has served on the Board of Directors and the Fundraising Committee for a number of years. One thing Meghan loves most about Riverside is “how it feels like an extended family.”
Kimberly Barney, Floating Teacher – Kimberly joined Riverside in the Fall of 2013. She attended Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Science with a Specialization Early Childhood Development and Education. Before Riverside Kimberly was a nanny for three children in Wellesley, MA. Before becoming a nanny, she was a toddler teacher. Kimberly serves on the Board of Director’s and is also co-chair of the Fundraising Committee. Outside of RCC, Kimberly volunteers with her local alumni chapter. Kimberly’s hobbies include never growing up and chocolate.
Juliana Gonzalez, Assistant Floating Teacher – Juliana began working at RCC this year. Before working at RCC she worked at Danforth Art Camp during the summer. Juliana worked with 1st and 2nd graders. While working there She found a love for working with children. She enjoys the opportunity watch children grow and learn.