My name is Laina (pronounced Lay-nuh). I grew up in Maplewood, graduated from Lehigh University, and earned my Masters in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. I now live in Maplewood with my family. I have two children, ages five and one, who will be joining me at Zimmer Preschool. Most recently, I led a pod of five children for the 2020-2021 school year. Prior to the pandemic, I was the Curriculum Specialist and Preschool Supervisor at the JCC in West Orange. Before that I was a preschool teacher at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, where I lived for nine years.
My personal philosophy is that children should enjoy their early learning experiences. This is a valuable time for social-emotional, physical, and intellectual development when teachers must foster a love of learning that children will embrace throughout their lives. This means that children should have a hand in the direction of their own learning and teachers should respect and support natural curiosity and creativity by providing developmentally appropriate materials and enriching environments. I also believe that parents are the first and most important teachers and schools should partner with parents in support of their children. I'm most passionate about the zero-three age group but have worked with every age.
In my personal life I enjoy keeping busy with my children, reading and watching historical fiction, barre and dance classes, traveling, gardening, and eating great food.