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Getting Creative in Open Studio: Shannon Galligan-Stierle

By Manny Cantor Center | In Archive, Meet MCC | on March 23, 2018

I began my journey at The Manny Cantor Center in January 2015 in the Two’s Together program co-teaching with Pat Kornfeld.  I have enjoyed the past two years heading the 3-day 3’s classroom in the Educational Alliance Preschool but am very excited to be sharing a room this year with Pat once again in the Parenting Center.

I hold a dual Masters in Early Childhood General and Special Education and have been teaching children from the age of 1-8 years old for 14 years in various capacities. I started in a Montessori Preschool in Pennsylvania. My first NYC teaching experience was at the JCC in Manhattan where I had the privilege of working with Jacqueline Marks for several years. I have also worked for many years as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher and private tutor.

Formally an actress and singer, I enjoy using my imagination and playfulness to inspire my students. I love spending time with children, helping them reach their full potential and making learning fun for them. I am inspired by their wonder.

My actor husband Aaron, son Devin (an EA Preschool graduate and now 1st grader at The Neighborhood School) and daughter Zoe (a 4yr old currently in the EA Preschool) are thrilled to be a part of the MCC community. I look forward to meeting more of the LES community and continuing this special journey with new and returning families.

In Open Studio at 11am-12pm on Fridays, we have a grand time exploring various materials and art expressions. We have something for every type of learner. There are sensory, imaginative, scientific, musical, small motor and large motor experiences. We have used paint, clay, glue, sand, light, recyclables, water and more. In addition, we have formed a community of curious creators whose love of learning and friendship has made for a wonderful hour spent together. We always end each class with a story and some songs or poems. We gather to reflect on our time together, the work we participated in respectively and acknowledging our collaboration.

Open-ended learning for little ones is so important to grow their individual learning styles, motor muscles, wonder, imagination, creativity and confidence. As the students work independently with a wide range of freedom within their exploration, they are allowed to come to conclusions on their own and begin to build a sense of self. With myself and their caregivers nearby, we may offer language, encouragement and provocation to their intrigue.

Caregivers seem to love a room where they know the materials and activities are age appropriate. They see their student light up with joy and discovery. They appreciate the beginnings of interaction with peers, even with those a bit younger or older. Sometimes the materials speak to the adults as well and satisfy a sensory craving of their own.

All in all, Open Studio, has been a joy for me and I look forward to seeing returning families and newcomers each week. We all delight together in being with one another in a beautiful space with such fulfilling materials and activities. I hope for many more adventures with wonder-filled wee explorers.

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