Laura Graham—I have been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for almost 20 years.  I grew up in the Philadelphia area and received a B.A. from Connecticut College.  After a move to San Francisco, I worked in a school that drew inspiration from the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and had the opportunity to visit the schools of Reggio Emilia on a study tour in 2010.  I am continuously inspired by children’s innate curiosity and drive to learn about the world around them.  I enjoy creating a classroom environment rich in books, music, and responsive to the interests of the children. I’m excited to be returning to CCS.

Marion Ramirez—I am a Puerto Rican dance artist and educator. I have a deep commitment to guide children in their movement explorations, and through my teaching share my knowledge in body awareness/somatic practices and art making. I focus on honoring individual movement expression while celebrating the joy of connecting with the group and matching other’s rhythms. I continue to research developmental movement and ways of supporting children sensory and communication needs. I have had the opportunity to perform and work as a teaching artist for numerous organizations, schools and universities in Puerto Rico, South Korea, the UK, and currently in the US. I hold an MFA in Dance and Community Arts from Temple University. In Philadelphia I have also taught Spanish language through movement play for children at CCS, among other early education and elementry schools. I currently also teach contemporary dance at the Dance Department at Drexel University and am an active member of the Philadelphia dance improvisation community. I enjoy taking bike rides, hiking in the woods, and sharing time with my family and 6 year old son in West Philadelphia.

Naima Brown—I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I developed a fondness for stage acting, choral singing, snowstorms, and small, still bodies of water. I wandered to the east coast to attend Swarthmore College, attained a BA in Sociology and Black Studies, and fell in love with Philadelphia in the process. Determined to live in the city and without a career plan, I easily fell into doing something that had always brought me joy: working with small children. I worked as a one-to-one support for several children who had special needs, and later I was a first grade Teacher Assistant at a fine-arts school. A few years later I enrolled in Teachers College where I earned an MA in Early Childhood Education, and I spent a year after I graduated teaching for an Early Head Start program in east Harlem. I could feel that I had made the right career choice for myself, but I was not yet satisfied because I missed Philadelphia so. Connecting with CCS was all I needed to pack up and return to this community that I cherish, and I am elated to take part in this meaningful work that I love with this school and with all of you.