Wendy Zacuto M.Ed, is a retired preschool director, school principal K-8, and teacher of grades preschool through 7th grade. In her teaching and administrative work she applied a range of approaches as she specialized in creating systems for teachers to increase their skills in meeting the needs of all students, including: Schools’ Attuned, mindfulness, Response to Intervention, Cool Tools, Pacific Oaks’ Anti-Bias curriculum for young children, Social Thinking, Collaborative Problem Solving, and Kids’ Own Wisdom.
“I plunged into the world of children as a creative dance teacher for hundreds of children in LAUSD one summer in 1969. As I pursued my dance degree at UCLA, I learned of Orff-Schulwerk music and experienced the magic of childhood through movement and music. What would I do with this discovery?
As a Bradley childbirth teacher and birth guide, my eyes were opened to the practice of mindfulness as a tool in birthing and parenting. I began to see the body/mind connection that would underlie my understanding of child development and learning.
Seeking a school for my son, I landed in the world of parent participation nursery schools, multi-aged, early childhood learning environments. As a teacher/director, I saw applications of the work of David Elkind, Bev Bos, Constance Kamii, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Eleanor Duckworth, NAEYC, and musicians Marcia Berman, Patti Zeitlin, Raffi, Malvina Reynolds, and Ella Jenkins–each contributing lenses to my view of childhood as a time to be viewed with reverence.
I later became an elementary teacher and school administrator in a range of schools: public, independent, religious, magnet, charter, and dual language immersion, always seeking a way to integrate what I had learned about the gifts of childhood as I worked with children and parents. I studied about Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio education approaches integrating wisdom from each in my personal approach to teaching. As I completed a Master’s Degree in Education and completed my coursework for a Doctorate in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, I began to see how my early instincts about learning had served me well, aligning with 21st century research about the brain and learning.
I believe that childhood is a magical time of life to be cherished and nurtured and that children will teach us what we need to know to help them learn–if we listen to them. At this time in my life, I seek to be of benefit to children and adults as they pass through the world together.”