I began my work with children 30 years ago with a position as a nanny for a family friend. I loved it so much that I attended Nanny College, then spent many years working with parents to give their children a solid foundation to explore the world. I have since worked in preschools, museums, non-profits, and as a school photographer. I hold a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Sonoma State University, where my studies focused on early learners in the museum setting. I have presented at state and local level conferences on topics including Art and Social-Emotional Learning, Process-Based Art, and Museum Programs for Preschoolers.
I believe that the best learning environments are play-based, where adults create opportunities for children to explore, allow them time to figure things out for themselves and support their growing social-emotional skills.
My name is Clare Burns and I have been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 25 years. I am committed to building inclusive learning environments that welcome diverse perspectives and promote mutual respect and collaboration. I see parents, children and teachers working alongside each other to develop a community of learners; built on the powerful foundation of play
I was fortunate enough to grow up on a small farm in Africa where I spent an idyllic childhood climbing trees, digging in the dirt, and helping my grandmother collect eggs. I moved to San Francisco in my early twenties and opened a small family daycare. My teaching journey began when I enrolled my oldest son in a parent co-op preschool. I loved the experience so much that when I moved to Petaluma after my second son was born I found another parent co-op where I taught for 4 years, eventually becoming the site supervisor.
My philosophy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and nature-based education. I hold a Site Supervisor permit from the California Department of Education and recently became a mentor teacher for early education students attending Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College. I am passionate about creating wonder-filled spaces that provide opportunities for children to experiment, theorize and form relationships. I love that each child brings with them their own ideas, passions, and interests; resulting in an ever-evolving curriculum.
I have worked with children for the past fifteen years. I studied Music Therapy as an undergrad at Berklee College of Music in Boston and then did an eight month internship at a school for children with Autism just outside of Chicago. After becoming a board certified Music Therapist, I then worked in pediatric hospice as well as childcare centers on the East Coast creating curriculum and leading infant/toddler/preschool music groups. In 2014 my husband and I moved to Novato and I initially shifted to the other end of the age spectrum, first working as the recreation coordinator for the skilled nursing center at The Redwoods retirement community in Mill Valley, then as a Music Therapist in Hospice/end of life care. I missed working with children, so in 2016 I started to teach Music Together classes locally and began a master’s program at SFSU in Early Childhood Special Education. I completed the program in the summer of 2018, obtained my degree and teaching credential, and then in the fall celebrated the birth of my son Elliot who continues to teach me daily about early childhood development and the benefits of a play-based learning environment.