I grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; I went to Lycée Français de New York for primary school, from Kindergarten to 8th grade, which is why I speak fluent French. This was a mixed experience for me, but in retrospect, I am extremely grateful for my exposure to the language and have since elected to take multiple 300 level literature classes at college. Now, I love speaking French and take every possible opportunity to use it. I have a younger sister who is 17. As a child, I loved drawing and painting, as well as creating scenes I called "set-ups". These were elaborate installations involving all of my toys that would take hours to create. This clearly connects to what I am studying in school and what I enjoy. In my installations and video work I often use toys. As an older child, I enjoyed writing; I wrote a detective story in 5th grade. I love writing and love my job as a writing tutor for the way it combines teaching with a more informal conversation about writing. I see all of my passions and skills as related to one another. This includes my passion for working with children. Something I love seeing at the preschool where I work is the various creative activities the children are working on, particularly drawings by the children that include captions about what is going on. The way that children depict a scene, one in their head, in a drawing and the way they translate that drawing into words always surprises me and makes me laugh. They are naturally funny and their understanding of things we take for granted are as mysterious as they are simplified. I am in my final semester at Bard College and will be graduating with a B.A. in Studio Art in May 2020.
I have been babysitting for around 8 years; I worked as a mother's helper and occasional date-night babysitter in middle and high school, and since being in college have done more work for a few families who I've gotten to know quite well. While I have babysat infants and small babies, and occasionally older children, most of my experience has been with 2 through 5 year-olds. I often sit for siblings, like a little girl who is now almost 3 years old and her 3 month-old brother. When I first began with that particular family, a lot of my job consisted of bed-time duty and making sure she stayed in bed. This mostly involved calming her down as she was not used to her parents being gone and was extremely attached to them. She got calmer and more comfortable as she got older and got to know me better, but we still spent quite a bit of time settling down before bed, and she would often wake up very upset that her parents were gone. As she gets older, she is much calmer about her parents leaving for a few hours, and we have become great friends. We read, draw, practice French, play games, and sometimes go to the playroom. Her baby brother is pretty mellow, so bedtimes are a bit more relaxed, but involve the same winding-down routine: reading bedtime stories and bath-time are standard. Most of the families I work for who live in my building have children of similar ages. Another family I sit for has a son who is almost 3 years old. He loves trucks and trains and is not extremely verbal, but loves naming objects, especially vehicles and showing them to me. Sometimes it seems best to just wait for him to reach out, often by showing me a new toy. I often try various things to get him interested in talking but am just as happy to let him play and engage with me whenever he feels like it. On the other hand, the little girl I mentioned earlier is quite the opposite. Ever since I've known her, she has been very talkative and easily expresses emotion, whether she's saying that she misses her parents or that she's excited to watch "Mary Poppins", she is always emoting. He is different in that you have to ask to get any kind of information from him, and he usually won't respond, but when he does reach out, he is very excited about what he's saying. I have gotten used to this and we have a rapport that mostly involves him showing me objects he likes and me asking questions about it. I have different roles when I'm home and when I'm at school; I am a babysitter when I'm home in Brooklyn, and occasionally babysit for one family upstate at college. At Bard, I am a writing tutor for college freshmen (since fall 2017) and an Assistant Preschool teacher for 3 and 4 year-olds. I was also a camp counselor at a dance camp during the summer of 2019. In terms of special skills, I do have some experience with infants, although much less than with toddlers and older children. I also speak fluent French and Intermediate Spanish. I always love combining my tutoring and language skills with babysitting. These often seem to create a good fusion of learning and play. I also have a certificate for "Foundations in Health and Safety e-Learning", a safety course I completed to work at the preschool.
The main thing that motivates me besides my love for working with and caring for children is my art practice. I am currently in the middle of my thesis project which is a series of paintings focusing on childhood photos, memory, and the dissonance that occurs in the translation from the experience to the image, and the image to the painting. When I live upstate at school, the two most important events in my daily life are my paintings and my teaching at the Bard preschool. To me, they are intimately connected. Not only do the children inspire me every day with their wonder, wisdom, and curiosity, but they also relate directly to my art. In a very real sense, they inform the work I do, and my reason for doing it. The subjects of my paintings are me as a child in various situations depicted in photographs. I also make video work, and this work often revolves around some investigation into and interest in the minds and worlds of children. I believe we have a lot to learn from them, and my work increasingly focuses on my reflections on this. Ever since I began babysitting, but especially since working at the preschool and at summer camp, I have realized that I have the most fun and learn the most when I'm working with children. I remember, as a little kid, hearing teachers talk about "learning from" their students but it didn't really mean very much to me until I experienced it for myself as a teacher and camp counselor. I bring what I learned from these experiences into my babysitting now, and strive to create the most fulfilling experience possible, no matter how long or short-lived it is. I view any opportunity to spend time with a child as important and valuable, whether it be for one night while the parents go out for dinner, or for a much longer engagement. My approach to childcare is mainly related to my belief that listening to children is of the utmost importance. While they benefit from guidance and help in many situations, I believe in their own instincts and try to let them figure out solutions to problems (when appropriate) instead of swooping in immediately. I am very much still in the process of developing a true "philosophy" for childcare and teaching, but I try to listen as much as possible and not impose too much on children in situations where they might benefit from using their own knowledge and instincts.