Garden Ridge Staff

IMG_0006    Cheryl Rogers-Co-Owner/Founder and Teacher

I have lived in Bellevue for 17 years, raising two daughters with my husband. After leaving an engineering position when my oldest daughter was born, I was on the executive board of Bennett Elementary PTSA, led and co-lead 4 girl scout troops, and managed our East Bellevue Girl Scout service unit while helping the Girl Scout council with the cookie program. These experiences made me realize that I have a love of working with children.  In addition to Girl Scouts my family trained in martial arts for over 10 years. I was always involved in education in some form; either working directly with a scout on skills, or mentoring to a young leader. An opportunity in 2006 to substitute teach for a local preschool came up and that led to my first educational degree: an Associates in Early Education. I was head teacher in a toddler class for 2 years in a local non-profit. This is where I met Rachel Rickards and we formed a friendship built on commonalities of our educational philosophy. Returning to school I completed my BA in Early Education along with a Washington State teaching certification. My academic performance brought an invitation to join KDP (Kappa Delta Pi), an international honor society in education in which I am an active member.

For the last 10 years I have been involved in helping families with childcare needs by providing parent education, early intervention guidance, academic support for learning, and rich environments that support healthy overall growth. I am amazed how the academic objectives for young children have changed even in the last 3 years. Working with a kindergarten teacher in Bellevue School District recently brought to light for me the importance of the developmental skills (social, emotional, and academic) that help children make this transition smoothly and ready to start kindergarten. My engineering background gave me problem solving skills, my martial arts gave me determination and discipline to apply a solution, and my teaching instruction gave me teaching skills and the knowledge of how children learn. But it is my family that gave me a love for children and a passion for the art of teaching.

    Rachel Rickards– Co-Owner/Founder and Teacher

I grew up in Asia and the Bellevue area. I have one dog and one cat, and grew up as an only child.  My passion for early education started when I was in high school when we were asked to do a senior project.  The only thing I could find that caught my interest was education. I created a basic curriculum for a Brownie troop for Girl Scout patches.  After high school, I completed my Associates degree at Bellevue College and my Bachelors at University of Washington.  During that time, I worked in two of the top Montessori schools in the area, one of which is a Project based school.  I also taught at a play based center, where I met Ms. Cheryl.  I have had the opportunity to travel in order to see how other cultures view education, including travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy.

As an early educator, it is important that my interactions with children are positive, supportive and enriching.  I have found that education should extend to both the child and the family so that the family can better support the learning the child is undertaking.  I educate parents through the conversations, newsletters about important developmental subjects and open houses. I maintain a collection parenting books and activities they could do at home on hand.

As a teacher and an individual I bring much to a classroom and a school.  Most of my teaching focuses on four teaching methods: Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Project approach and Play-Based learning.  I try to help enrich the families I work with.  This means being a support, a guide and an educator to child and family. I enjoy doing full body learning, this means painting with everything from your head to you toes. I enjoy teaching through moment, yet still seek to keep a calm, relaxing and safe atmosphere. Children need rules and structures, as well as the freedom to create their own path.  I have spent much time working with special needs children and I prefer to work in small groups and really focus on children as individuals.

As an adult, I am fortunate that I have had a lot of opportunities to travel and experience multiple cultures.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about how my overseas childhood experiences have had an impact on my view of child care.  To me the best classes have respect.  Respect is an important mindset in life.  Respect your world, your elders, peer, teachers, parents, and heritage, and respect yourself. Too often, I see that children don’t fully understand the meaning of respect.  I thus seek to maintain an atmosphere of respect in the classroom.

Sophia 6 meses-11    Michaela Wolf- German Teacher/ Substitute

I am excited to have the opportunity to teach German at the Garden Ridge school. I am a certified early childhood educator in Germany and it is a pleasure for me to teach children my native language and culture.

In 2007, I came to Seattle to study English and ended up falling in love with the city’s culture and people. That lead me to get a Certificate in Early Learning and Teaching at Bellevue College. After my graduation I held a teaching position at a day care in Bellevue for almost 3 years. In addition to the head teacher position, I have worked 1 year at the SAGA school in Seattle in which I thought German to children age 3 to 4.

I like to teach through books, songs, crafts, flannel board storytelling and talking about cultural holidays. Based on my experience, learning a second language has positive effects on young children. My goal is to entice their own creative thinking and show them how fun learning a new language can be.