From: Heidelberg, Germany
After studying social pedagogy, I started my first job in Ladenburg and was offered the director’s position after my ‘Anerkennungsjahr’. I continued working there for ten years, until I became the director of a Catholic Kindergarten in Heidelberg.
In 1995, I moved with my family to Atlanta/Georgia, USA where I lived for eight years. There I taught and worked with a class of three year olds. I also enjoyed volunteering at my kid’s International School, where I supported the teachers in the Kindergarten and Elementary grades.
Since 2010 I am with the DAI. I started as the director for the Neuenheim branch and took on the direction of the Altstadt Kindergarten in August 2012.
I am very passionate about the well-being of the children and want to create a nice caring environment, where children feel safe and happy to blossom into independent, empathetic and valuable members of our society.
Colette Yvonne Ultes
From: San Diego/California, USA
I grew up in America and Europe (Spain, Germany and Italy) with a German mother and an American father.
I am a fully trained and educated kindergarten teacher. While my own three children were young, I worked as an English teacher for children aged between three and nine at the Abrakadabra Language School. Wanting to learn more about the remarkable journey of childhood, I decided to study pedagogics at the Helen Keller School in Weinheim. After obtaining my Early Childhood Degree, I worked in different kindergartens in the Heidelberg/Mannheim area as a „Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher“.
I believe that learning is an emotional process as well as an intellectual one and that children need emotional support and encouragement. As a kindergarten teacher, I can support children engaged in learning activities individually and thus increase their emotional security, persistence and their independence.
From: Oakland/California, USA
I have worked for the U.S. Army, Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS) in Heidelberg for 20 years. I have gathered a wide range of experience working with children, including holding positions as a Preschool Teacher and Lead Kindergarten teacher at two CYSS child Development Centers (CDC). In addition, I have worked as an Art Instructor and Lead Teacher at the CYSS School Age Center (SAC) with children in grades one to five. The highlight of my career and training is holding a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential in the Preschool setting. I’ve been with the DAI Altstadt Kindergarten since 2012.
From: Liverpool, England
I am a qualified early years practitioner. I gained my NNEB diploma in 1991. Since then, I have worked in private nurseries and the educational and social services sector in the UK, managing a private Kindergarten and Head of up to three years olds in an Early Excellence Centre. I then went on to study and achieved my HNC in Early Childhood studies. I moved to Germany in 2003 with my now husband. During this time I worked in a kindergarten in Hamburg and in 2004 we moved to the Heidelberg region where I worked in a bilingual kindergarten. I’ve been with the DAI Altstadt Kindergarten since 2013.
In my freetime I like spending time with my family, travelling and reading.
From: Bristol, England
After completing my BA in English and German at Exeter University I moved to Germany in 1973. I then spent several years studying Pedagogics and teaching English classes for children and young adults at the Goethe Institute in Marburg before moving to Heidelberg.
While bringing up my own children I also looked after several others for a few years, then began translating books on psychology. Requiring a new challenge when all except one had flown the nest, I spent three years in a bilingual kindergarten in Heidelberg before transferring to the DAI in 2012.
I have always loved children, the joy and the challenges they bring to your life, their uniqueness. Watching them grow and develop and gently guiding them is a huge gift.
From: Birmingham, England
Father of two, I share my time and passion within the kindergarten and life as an artist. I’v been with the DAI Kindergarten since 2009 and as a qualified “Tagesmutter,” everyday sets a new, exciting and energetic challenge.
Life as an artist also allows me to formulate a balanced life, a reflective perspective, and my art has been seen amongst places such as the USA (New York), Germany (Heidelberg) and Holland (Middelburg). The other few hours during the day are spent with the extensive love of music.
From: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
I grew up in a small city in the Netherlands where I obtained my Bachelor of Education. The Dutch embrace English on many levels from early childhood, therefore one could almost say that it’s our second language.
During my studies, I chose to specialize myself in Drama, Music and English and did a minor in Physical Education. I taught children from the age of 4 to 12 years old, but my preference has always been young children. Their love, innocence, gratitude, imagination, happiness, curiosity and growth in a learning process is what fulfills me.
I’ve always dreamed of working in an International school, but never thought it would actually happen until I moved to Heidelberg. I’m enjoying living in this beautiful city and working in such a great place with so many different cultures to learn from! I’ve been with the DAI Altstadt Kindergarten since 2014.
Back in the Netherlands I used to play the piano, sing in a band, row and do strength training. As I feel like I have settled in now, I’m looking forward to start doing sports or music again in the near future.
From: Pretoria, South Africa
I grew up in both the city and in small towns in South Africa. South Africa is rich in culture and has lots to offer, including 11 national languages. Therefore, English is and will always be the main language for all, old and young to communicate. Like me, all children, no matter your mother tongue, have to learn and be able to speak English from a young age to build and develop their school and future careers.
I obtained my Bachelor in Education (B.Ed.) in Pretoria, South Africa. After I completed my studies I started off my career in London, UK, where I lived for one year. It was a wonderful experience where I had the opportunity to work with children ages 3 – 11. I taught various subjects including Language and Literacy to most of the youger groups. Some of my most precious memories was teaching in the Reception classes. When I returned to South Africa, I was thrilled to teach in both English and Afrikaans at a school for children with special needs in Pretoria. A few years later, a new journey here in Heidelberg (Germany) had began for me.
I have always preferred teaching and working with young children, therefore here at the DAI Kindergarten where I’ve been working since 2015 I am truly enjoying building into the lives and development of the young children. It has always been a passion of mine to help and guide children, even from a young age, build good foundations so they can enjoy their skills and talents as they grow up and discover new beginnings!
From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
I grew up in the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, where I completed a Diploma in Children and Education. I soon discovered my passion for working with children and decided to further my learning by completing a degree in Early Childhood Studies. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the psychology of child development and the importance of play for a child’s social, emotional and physical development. I then spent four wonderful years working as an early year’s practitioner in a range of Nursery schools, before completing a degree in Social Work. I spent a year as a social worker in a Maternity Hospital and felt very privileged to be working alongside children and their families who were in need. I have moved to Heidelberg and started working at the DAI Kindergarten in 2016 and as native English speaker, I am hoping to learn the German language and I am looking forward to explore this picturesque city.
From: Oslo, Norway
I have lived in Oslo all of my life until I moved to Mannheim in January 2015. In Norway English is considered one of the most essential subjects, and is taught from an early age. The English language has therefore been integrated in my life since I was a little girl.
I obtained my Bachelor and Master in Special Needs Education at the University of Oslo. During my studies I did various internships and worked part time in an after school program with children age 5 – 10. I soon discovered a special passion for children with social and emotional difficulties, which I chose to specialize in for my Master’s degree. I wrote my thesis about highly sensitive children, another topic close to my heart.
Singing, playing my ukulele, knitting and being crafty in general are my most beloved hobbies. I am so grateful to have found a job here in the DAI International Kindergarten, where I started working in 2016 and can enjoy teaching, learning and being creative with children from so many countries!
From: San Francisco/California, USA
I studied Humanities, Dance and Theater Arts at World College West and Sonoma State University’s School of Expressive Arts. I worked at Sassarini Elementary School in Sonoma/California and choreographed children musicals for San Rafael recreation department. While living in Taiwan and raising my daughter I taught English at Big Bird Language Schools in Taipei and Shin Chu City. Also I held the position of director of Taipei Youth Program Association, TYPA.
I am also a qualified Shiatsu practitioner and Instructor as well as a Qi Gong Instructor.
From: Los Angeles/California, USA
I am from Los Angeles but I’ve also lived in Washington State for a year. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from San Diego State University with a specialization in English literacy and Special Education. In the past I have taught preschool, worked in a second grade classroom with Spanish speaking students, and was the full time nanny for a three-year-old girl and her teenage brothers.
In the United States I liked to spend my free time with my family doing things such as hiking, playing games, and going to the river. While my husband and I are living in Germany, I look forward to travelling and getting acquainted with the different cultures and beautiful sites Europe has to offer.
I am very passionate about teaching and love what the DAI stands for. I’ve been with the DAI Kindergarten since 2016.
From: Springfield/Illinois, USA
I grew up in Springfield and moved to Oklahoma to study my passion, writing and performing music. In 2014 I spent 4 months learning German in Heidelberg, and when I went back to Oklahoma to finish my Bachelor’s in Music Composition I knew that 4 months had not been enough. I came back to Heidelberg in the summer of 2015 excited to fully experience all that the language, culture and people have to offer.
Since the beginning of 2016 I have been working an internship with the DAI, teaching English Intensive Courses and leading English Language Holiday Camps for local children between the ages of 5 and 12. I’ve been with the DAI Kindergarten since summer 2016. During my studies I directed choirs and taught music lessons, and I look forward to encouraging children to follow all of their creative impulses, the same way that my family and my teachers supported me.
In my free time I like to read, play games, and play music with my friends here in the Heidelberg area. I also play Ultimate Frisbee with the Heidees, a club team sponsored by TVE Eppelheim.
On maternity leave:
From: New Plymouth, New Zealand
I grew up in New Zealand where I obtained a Bachelor of Communication studies. After university I moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education whilst living in Dubai and I have several years work experience as a primary school teacher.
Before moving to Heidelberg with my German husband in July 2012 I was working as a class teacher in an international private school where I taught Year Three and Four and most recently Year One.
I have been enjoying teaching one of the preschool classes at DAI International Kindergarten since January 2013.
Since arriving in Heidelberg I have been learning German and have attained my B1 Zertifikat Deutsch and am now working towards the B2 exam.
I was raised bilingually by an American mother and a German father.
I studied English and Spanish at the University of Heidelberg. After an internship at a secondary school I discovered that I prefer working with younger children. I am very happy to have completed my three years of training at the DAI Kindergarten in 2016 and to have qualified as a kindergarten teacher.
From: Southern Florida/USA
I was born in Singapore to a German mother and an American father, but I grew up mainly in Florida. I also had the opportunity to live and work in Germany, Spain, New York City, France and India.
After graduating high school I moved to Granada, Spain to study Spanish and fell in love with the country and its culture. I returned to the U.S. a year later to start a degree in Nursing, but my nostalgia for Spain lingered on, and so I decided to spent the next three years in Barcelona. There I obtained certain teaching certificates, among them one to teach young learners. After two wonderful years of teaching I completed two years of a degree in Elementary Education back in Florida. I later moved back to Europe, where I taught English to children for two years in the Paris region. Before moving to Heidelberg I spent six months traveling in India. I’ve been with the DAI Kindergarten since 2014.