15 Dec Meet Rachel Franz: Lead Teacher at Jefferson Park

We are excited to have Rachel Franz as part of the Tiny Trees team. Rachel started Tiny Trees at Jefferson park with a focus on family driven practice. As a Reggio trained teacher (including a pilgrimage to Reggio, Italy) her work is rooted in empowering parents and caregivers in their child’s education and it show. Over the last few moths Rachel has received excellent reviews from our families and co-workers and we thought it was time to share all of her awesome points. Here are a few reasons why she is such a rock start:

  • Rachel is deeply rooted in evidence based practice (she has a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Champlain College, VT with a 4.0 GPA and a teaching specialization).
  • She has environmental education experience, including a BA in Environmental studies.
  • Rachel has taught a wide range of children 0-5 and is familiar with all stages of child development.
  • She is fiercely optimistic, joyful and creative. Upon seeing Jefferson park, she was bubbling with excitement for all of the lessons and learning opportunities available.
  • She is excited about gardening and helping children explore and grow their own food in the Beacon Hill Food Forest.
  • She is a positive peer leader and complements the already strong Jefferson teaching team.

To tell you a little more about her self:

Dear Tiny Trees family:

Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach, tells us that we should follow one simple mantra: “niente senza gioia,” or “nothing without joy.” There is nothing more magical than cultivating a children’s sense of wonder and joy as an early educator, and no better place to generate joy than in nature. I strive to help children develop their understanding, curiosity, and theories about the world through encounters with nature, community, and open-ended materials. I believe I would be an asset to your team at Tiny Trees, and I would love an opportunity to join your organization and continue to spread the joy through our every day efforts.

Over the past ten years, I have been intertwined with the lives of young children. Currently, I am the Lead Two year-old Teacher at Heartworks Preschool in Shelburne, Vermont. There, I invite children to experience wonder and build their curiosity about the world around them. The children in my class experience hiking, garden play, and other outdoor exploration in addition to open-ended inquiries in the classroom; I firmly believe in the power of play as the work of childhood. My experience with and understanding of young children can continue and further build the mission of Tiny Trees. I also collaborate with my peers and appreciate the opportunity to problem solve with colleagues in order to provide the best care. I work with families to encourage screen-free play, empower children’s imaginations, and limit the pressure of academic pushdown.

Outside of the classroom, I have worked for over a decade as an au pair for children ages zero to fourteen both full- and part-time. My love for children has taken me as far as New Zealand, where I worked as a nanny for a year, Thailand where I volunteered in an orphanage, and to Reggio Emilia, Italy, where I studied the schools during an International Summer School experience in 2015.

Alongside working directly with children, I have committed my scholarly and advocacy efforts to helping families, children, and teachers navigate commercial culture and use nature as an antidote. In December, I completed my M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education at Champlain College with a 4.0 GPA. Champlain’s program centers on the role of play in childhood and I focused on how to help children develop delay of gratification skills through play. Through this program, I have knowledge of practices outlined in Responsive Classroom, CSEFEL, PBIS, Anti-Bias Education, and more. Additionally, I am the 2013 Salutatorian of the University of Vermont with a Bachelor’s with Honors degree in Environmental Studies. My undergraduate coursework, including in Environmental Education, revealed the immense importance of nature in early childhood and the shocking effects of consumerism on young children.

I am also working on becoming a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach. I am learning the baritone ukulele, am an artist of many media, and I love to sing, tell stories, and be silly. I grew up in the fields and forest of Vermont and the Adirondacks. I lived in the woods while working for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. I lay in the grass daily. Too many children do not have the privilege of being in nature, and I am driven to change that.
It would be an honor to be directly involved in a program that so clearly respects the rights of young children. Thank you for taking the time to consider my cover letter and resume. I can be contacted by e-mail or phone and will happily answer any questions you have. I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your time!


Rachel J. Franz

P.S. I found a stick in my hair as I was writing this. I hope this gives you a little more personal insight.

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