Framing Today’s Preschool Teachers for Success

Big Shoulders Fund strives to give the schools we support vital resources to provide quality, values-based education for all students. Part of that support is providing professional development opportunities to teachers like Stephanie Tominov, a preschool teacher at St. Genevieve School, who recently became a Facilitator Associate in the Big Shoulders Fund Early Math Collaborative through Big Shoulders Fund’s partnership with the Erikson Institute.

“The Big Shoulders Fund Early Math Collaborative is an exciting learning opportunity that has enabled me to create a math program that is helping my students to succeed and excel in math,” says Stephanie. Over the past four years, she has progressed from a participant in the program to a facilitator, helping other teachers learn the best practices for teaching math to little learners. The Big Shoulders Fund Early Math Collaborative brings together preschool through second grade teachers across a multitude of Big Shoulders Fund schools for training and collaboration with the professionals at The Erikson Institute.

The teachers have the opportunity to learn from esteemed professionals in the field including Mary Hynes-Berry, PHD., a senior instructor at Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative. “Mary Hynes-Berry is a true gift to Early Childhood Education and her dedication to the Early Math Collaborative has been invaluable,” says Stephanie, “With their guidance, I continue to provide my students with a rich environment for them to fall in love with math.” Before the program, Stephanie’s classroom lacked a formal math curriculum and she created her own math instruction. Throughout the Early Math Collaborative, her instruction has evolved into a rich daily experience in which students have gained a deeper understanding of core math concepts as they navigate through lessons that challenge them in a fun and engaging way.

Stephanie finds that the lessons bring math to life, with easily accessible materials and rich topics that appeal to the early childhood learner.  Every lesson is cross-curricular and begins with a book perfectly selected by the team.  By uniting math and literacy her preschool students are excited and captivated by each lesson. 

“Undoubtedly, early childhood education lays the foundation for a lifelong love of learning,” says Stephanie, “My hope for the future is that we continue to provide opportunities for our young students to discover the joys of learning from great teachers.”

Stephanie says she feels blessed to have found a home in a Chicago Catholic school. Her hope is that other educators continue to benefit from the amazing opportunities that can be attained teaching in a Big Shoulders Fund school.

The Big Shoulders Fund Early Math Collaborative with Erikson Institute is made possible with support from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the CME Group Foundation.