The design of our learning environments and educational philosophies are inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. As such, we believe that all children are capable, competent and eager to learn. Children will always seek out connections that are personal and meaningful to them. This is learned through play, small group projects, dialogue and reflection with peers and adults, documentation of big ideas, and ample time for exploration.
Our teachers are experienced and educated in Reggio Emilia philosophy. Teachers consider themselves to be partners in the process of learning, and meet regularly to discuss the ongoing, emerging, deepening curriculum at the school.
Eve Fein is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Operations and Resource Development for Community Roots Academy (CRA). Additionally she serves as the Executive Director of Community Roots Foundation. Driven by her passion for education Ms. Fein co-founded Community Roots Academy and was instrumental in the opening of Community Seedlings Preschool. Prior to her experience at CRA she was the head of Morasha Jewish Day School for 18 years. Ms. Fein holds a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Educational Leadership from Hebrew Union College. Ms. Fein has lived in South Orange County for over 20 years where she and her husband raised their two children.
Carrie Conti Fetter is the co-founder and Director of Community Seedlings Preschool. Carrie has always had a love of children and a passion for Early Childhood Education. Her mission is to give children the best possible care and enrichment experiences that will last a lifetime! In her professional career she has worked with many non-profit organizations including Laura’s House, a Domestic Violence Shelter where she implemented a successful therapeutic preschool for the children living in the program. Carrie also was the Executive Director for the Beach Cities YMCA in San Clemente where she oversaw all programs including childcare, Y-Guides, campaign management, yearly operating budget, and served on the board. From 2011-2015 Carrie served as Director of Children’s Programs at Community Roots Academy. She developed and ran the Community Care Club Childcare program at CRA’s campus for CRA students, as well as all after school classes, camps and clubs. Carrie earned a Bachelor of Science from California State University Long Beach in Human and Child Development. She has also continued her education in both Management as well as the study of Reggio-Emilia Philosophy. Carrie is a second generation CA native, and has lived in South Orange County for the last 25 years.
Lindie Sherrill is the Assistant Director and has more than two decades of experience working with young children. First running a small family daycare for thirteen years while raising her own three children, who are now 30, 28, and 24. When she relocated to Northern California, she was exposed to Reggio Emilia approach and decided to further her education in early childhood. She spent the next seven years, working in Reggio inspired schools in the Bay Area. When she returned to Southern California, she was grateful to find Community Seedlings Preschool, which enabled her to continue to grow as a Reggio educator. Lindie believes that early childhood is a unique and meaningful stage of life. She is committed to supporting children’s creative capacity and engaging them in rich experiences driven by their individual interests.
Andrea Knudsen has taken on the role of Curriculum Specialist (or Pedagogista, using the term from the educators of Reggio Emilia) at Community Seedlings. Andrea oversees curriculum development, documentation of children’s work, ideas and theories, as well as offering continuing education opportunities to the teaching staff at Seedlings. Carrie Fetter, Eve Fein and Andrea collaborate on the long term professional development goals for staff, ensuring that the children at Seedlings have teachers who are current in their understanding of both child development in general, and the work of the Reggio Emilia educators in particular. Andrea also specializes in environmental design for children’s spaces, both indoors and out, and has collaborated with Seedlings staff in the design and development of all indoor classrooms and studios and outdoor classroom spaces at Seedlings. She brings over 30 years of teaching experience to the role of Pedagogista. She is an Adjunct faculty member in the Fullerton College Child Development and Educational Studies department, working with students through a number of courses, including the Reggio Emilia course, Environments for Early Childhood and various curriculum classes along with Student Teaching.
Emily Bertucci received a BFA in drawing and painting from Laguna College of Art and Design in 2020. She instructed informative field trips for The Wyland Foundation creating large-scale art about ocean conservation and wildlife preservation in collaboration with elementary and middle school students of Orange County. Emily is a part of an international mural team called The Goodness Tour which travels to places facing extreme adversity to facilitate art therapy and paints murals to inspire the community it lives in. Emily enthusiastically joined the Community Seedlings Preschool team in January 2022. She is currently attending Saddleback College to earn an Early Child Development certificate and is being mentored by former Atelierista, Kumiko Kato to grow into her position. Emily is passionate about encouraging self-expression and communication through art and believes everyone is an artist.
Kassondra DeBoer has worked with children for over 8 years. She began her career teaching at a Montessori style school, where she began as the infant and toddler teacher and eventually worked her way up to being preschool teacher. After that, she worked for several years as a naturalist at the Oak Glen Preserve. It is here where her passion for outdoor education was born. Miss Kass believes that children can learn immensely from the beauty and joy of being in nature.
Desiree Robles is the S.T.E.M & Curriculum Specialist for Community Seedling Preschool. Her journey as an educator, with the support of many influential mentors, has led her to a community that she could have only imagined. The S.T.E.M Lab is a place within the community where 65 students and their teachers flow in and out of the space to investigate phenomena, engineer ideas, hypothesis events, and draw their theories. Her educational experiences, passion for lifelong learning and her foundational values in the constructivist pedagogy, helps guide other educators and support their endeavors in making learning visible and meaningful. She also teaches as an Adjunct Instructor at Fullerton College for the Child Development & Educational Studies Department.
Dana Simler brings over ten years of teaching Pre-K and co-directing experience to Community Roots Academy. Along with her passion and devotion to early childhood education, Dana has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a dual depth in Cultural Diversity and Arts and Letters. She is a long time resident of San Clemente where she resides with her husband and two boys, Owen and Milo. Dana is committed to our program here at Community Seedlings Preschool where she claims “everyday has endless potential and the possibilities for learning are around every corner.”
Melissa Rosenbaum joined our team as a substitute teacher this summer after completing her practicum with us through Saddleback College. She obtained her associates teacher certificate through Saddleback College, and most recently has completed Saddleback’s Early Childhood Teacher program. She plans on continuing her education in Early Childhood Education, and apply for her child development teacher permit. “I am very excited to join Community Seedlings where I have the opportunity to grow and further develop as a co-researcher/ facilitator of learning for young children. I appreciate that I get to gain experience in a program who’s philosophy, and values align with mine. I love how much time we get to spend outside in nature here at Community Seedlings. It’s the perfect place for children to be the little scientists they are. Where they can explore, make discoveries, engage their senses, and have hands-on learning experiences. I am committed to establishing feelings of trust with every child by connecting with them and their families in meaningful ways. I strive to be a positive role model who leads by example, provides guidance, and empowers children to problem solve. I believe fostering a warm, caring, safe, supportive, and inclusive environment are essential ingredients to optimize children’s learning, and wellbeing.”
Kendall has been working with young children for years through nannying as well as interning at Saddleback College. She has associates degrees in Early Childhood Education, and in Child and Adolescent Development. She plans to continue her education through obtaining a Bachelor’s degree at CSUF. Kendall is very excited about joining the Community Seedlings team. She believes that every child is capable and thrives in environments in which they can learn through exploration.
Olga joins the Community Seedlings Preschool team with over a decade of preschool teaching experience. Olga obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education and holds a California Child Development Master Teacher Permit. Originally from Brazil, Olga now lives in Laguna Beach with her husband and daughter. Olga is a passionate early childhood educator and deeply committed to shaping the lives of young learners. Olga has a strong belief in the Community Seedlings Preschool philosophy where she says that “One question opens up a whole world of opportunities for exploring and learning.”
Gloria Devries has been working with young children for over 14 years and is currently a CA Mentor teacher. Gloria started as a parent volunteer at her son’s preschool which led her to early childhood classes at Saddleback College. After Saddleback she taught in a preschool setting for 9 years as well as an after school program. “I believe children are viewed as competent, curious, full of knowledge, potential, and interested in connecting to the world around them. As a teacher, we must encourage to facilitate the child’s learning by planning experiences based on the child’s interests.”
Sydnee Lambert has worked as a Preschool Teacher and Interned at the South Orange County Community College District, along with Nannying for several families while completing her Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Saddleback College. She has been influenced early on by many teachers and mentors in the Reggio Emilia Philosophy. Sydnee enjoys art, gardening and outdoor classroom experiences with children. Her desire is to really see children and support them to feel accepted, unique and capable in their discoveries and creativity with open-ended experiences that are in the interest of the child.
Mary Alberico has been an Early Childhood Educator for 45 years. When her own children were small she became interested in ECE and began studying and working in the field. What began as an interest turned into a passion and ultimately a fulfilling career. She has just ended her 40th year at a local preschool in San Juan Capistrano and has happily joined the team here at Community Seedlings Preschool. She is embracing our philosophy, love of nature and creativity.
Ana Kircher grew up in Mexico and has lived in South Orange County for 12 years with her husband and two lovely children Akira and Breslin. In 2018 she started her path in Early Childhood Development at Saddleback College where she has obtained her Associate teacher Certificate and studied to obtain she Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Development. Along with her studies and work, she has attended many webinars and conferences oriented toward working in inclusive environments and increasing communication with children and families. “When I came to Community Seedlings Preschool I was impressed with their philosophy and how children interact with their environment, peers and adults. I am a strong believer that children learn by experiencing, exploring and creating. When you give them the tools they need and hear what they have to say, you give them freedom to grow and learn with confidence. I am committed to support children’s curiosity and develop plans that stem from their interests and to creating environments where children and their families feel welcome.”
Kendall Weber is excited to be a teacher at Community Seedling and excited to be back at Community Seedlings as this is where she began her practicum teaching. She is looking forward to getting to know each one of you and your child to work together to best support your child’s development. She is a graduate of California State University Fullerton with a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development. Her background includes three years of teaching preschool and two years in the classroom educating students with a curriculum developed for social emotional learning. The education of children has always been her number one passion. It is her goal to help children develop social skills through activities that build confidence and communication. The social, emotional, and academic skills your child will learn will help them to succeed in kindergarten and become confident in navigating through routines of the school day. When she is not in the classroom, she loves spending time with her family and friends. Kendall is a sports fanatic! She truly enjoy watching Yankees baseball and Green Bay Packer Football games. She has two handsome Golden Retrievers; Kooper and Kai and enjoys time at the park with the boys. She also plays in a tennis league and enjoys the competition. “I am truly blessed to be put here with this opportunity to help create a safe and positive learning environment that will be exciting, motivating, and meaningful with a curriculum designed to help your children reach their potential.”