The teacher is, of course, an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.
— Paulo Freire
Play-based learning is at the heart of Teacher Amanthus Lunn’s educational praxis. As the Director and Head Teacher of Multnomah Playschool, she has a deep understanding of early childhood development and how that emerges in the classroom through play and the strengths of the child. The relationships we have with each other nurture who we are. She believes emotional-social learning is the foundation from which we all grow, giving us the skills to navigate the world together. She supports learning in collaboration with a community of families while respecting and embracing different cultural perspectives and values. Through the strength and support of a learning community, there is potential for transformation, impacting the world we live in.
Amanthus’ journey into the world of Early Childhood Education began at Portland Community College where her focus was on early childhood development with a strong background in psychology and behavioral neuroscience. Her studies led her to Goddard College where she would focus on Early Childhood Education with a culturally centered approach. The program focused on how to create a developmentally appropriate curriculum that embraces different cultural perspectives, working against racism and other forms of oppression within learning communities.
Amanthus has been a part of the MPS community since 2013. She found MPS when looking for a preschool for her son that would nurture his developmental growth and she fell in love with the school. One year later she stepped into the role of Lunch and Play teacher. Gradually, she continued to spend more time in the classroom working as an assistant teacher. In 2019, her mentor, Marty Peterson passed her the torch, and Amanthus became Director and Head Teacher.
Growing up in Missouri, she spent a lot of time outside playing in the woods, climbing trees and wandering along the creeks. Nature has been her steady companion, a part of who she is. Amanthus brings natural elements into the classroom, while also spending large chunks of time outdoors with the children every day, as she believes it is a regulating force. Nature provides children the opportunity to slow down and witness how elements in the world connect. She believes that when children are able to have a relationship with nature, they are able to care and respect the Earth for all it provides.
“The best part of my day? Hearing children’s laughter. I just love that. As grown-ups, we should protect that. Never should a child lose their laughter, their joy”
Teacher Lisa has been working in preschools for more than ten years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Oregon State University and her early childhood education certificate from Portland Community College. She started as the Lunch & Play Teacher in 2007, and has been our full-time assistant since 2009.
Like Marty, Lisa first came to cooperative preschools through her children. She believes in the community created in a co-op preschool. Through their involvement, the parents — as the children’s primary teachers — create a warm, loving and supportive community.
She believes children learn best through play and peer interactions. Lisa sees her role in the classroom as helping children negotiate the inevitable conflicts that arise and find their own voice in the community.
“One of the many things I enjoy about working at MPS is that the children are honest and sincere in all their emotions. No two days are ever the same.”