From: Born in California; lived in St. Louis/Missouri, USA
I was born in Southern California to an American father and a German mother. I moved to Germany in 2012 to get to know my German family and the experience of living somewhere new.
After completing a German language course, I finished my FSJ (voluntary year) at DAI in 2015. In summer 2017 I finished my “Ausbildung zur Erzieherin”. In 2019, I began my studies for extra qualifications towards Kita Leitung and Managment.
The DAI has created wonderful opportunities for me to explore my passion in working in Early Childhood Education. I truly enjoy working with children and feel that a kindergarten shapes the way children experience and approach the world significantly. My goal is to continue learning and growing in order to help each child, family and teacher within our programs.
My hobbies are strength training, horseback riding, reading and watching movies.
From: Heidelberg, Germany
My name is Jamie Kurt. I was born and raised in Germany, in a German-American family with 4 siblings and spent 3 years of my childhood in the USA. I never visited a preschool as a child and always loved caring for children, so I decided to become a qualified preschool teacher after graduation.
After my studies I started working for the DAI in September 2007. I am one of the first teachers to join the DAI Kindergartens and helped build them up from the very beginning. I also continued to build upon my qualifications and have an extra degree for children development from 0-3 years old since 2012. My position is now leader of our Nursery program as well as being Deputy to our Kindergarten’s Director.
I have a passion for working with young children and love experiencing the little developmental steps they achieve every day. Watching children grow and develop is an exciting adventure.
When I am not working with children, I am busy raising my daughter, reading books and enjoying some quiet time watching movies.
From: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Hello, my name is Belinda. I was born in New Zealand, and grew up in a beautiful rural city called New Plymouth where you are able to surf and snowboard on the same day!
After university, where I studied for a Bachelor of Communication studies I moved to Dubai to work as an air flight attendant. After working in the Middle East for several years and exploring many amazing countries, I decided to retrain and I gained my Post Graduate certificate of Education.
My classroom philosophy is to learn through creativity. I believe the creativity is one of the keys to success in the future of the children we teach. It also allows us see the beauty in our differences, which is so important in the global world we live in.
When I am not teaching the ABC children at the DAI I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two children and dog. We like to visit all the playgrounds in Heidelberg and take walks in the forest. When I have time for myself, I like to knit, sew and catch up with friends over coffee in town, watching the world go by.
From: Tauberbischofsheim, Germany
Hello, my name is Theresia. I´m born in Mainz (Germany) and raised in Tauberbischofsheim. I am a fully trained kindergarten teacher and completed my early year childhood studies in 2008. After graduation, I spent a year in the South of England to work as an au pair while attending Kingston College. After travelling in the USA, I joined the DAI Kindergarten in 2010. I have gained experience working with different age groups while leading the nursery and the three and four year old group. I used to train children in my sports club and loved to give them the possibility to let out their energy in a fun way. I love being a part of a team that create a warm and cozy atmosphere for the children where they feel free to explore the wonders of the world, a second home away from home. I enjoy art and music and like to give the children the chance to be creative and express themselves. During my free time I like to spend time with my friends, read, draw, sing in a choir and travel.
From: Heidelberg, Germany
I was raised by a British father and German mother and spent my childhood growing up in Schönau, a small town outside of Heidelberg.
I moved to England after graduating high school, where I completed my studies in Early Childhood Education. I have been working for the DAI Kindergarten since 2010.
My passion for working with children developed early due to coming from a large family with many younger siblings.
I enjoy travelling and being outside exploring the world, which I love to express to the children and take them on many journeys around Heidelberg.
In my free time I like to be active and spend time with my family and friends.
From: Philadelphia/Pennsylvania, USA
Hi Everyone, my name is Jason and I come from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Being the firstborn in my family helped to cement the empathy and compassion for younger people that I still carry with me to this day.
My education originally centered on English language and Journalism, my two majors in college at Penn State. My brother went to a Walldorf community college in the States where I met several Germans and Austrians that encouraged me to expand my worldviews, cast away my fears and take on the challenge of working in a foreign land.
Originally I became a Business English teacher, but, after joining the DAI in 2010, and seeing how well the colleagues in the kindergarten meshed and complemented one another, I became intrigued by the idea of working with children to create a better future.
In the classroom, I find it is very important to instill a feeling of individuality in each one of the children. It is one of the reasons I have enjoyed the DAI Kindergarten classroom size – it gives the opportunity to truly observe each child on his/her own and take into account their individual strengths. Encouraging individual growth allows a child to more quickly come to terms with themselves and their own personal image, and grant a faster development toward empathy, teamwork and perseverance.
When not in the DAI, I take the time outside of work to mountain bike, take walks and read the newest books from some of my favorite authors. I also really enjoy comedy and like to go to cabaret shows whenever an artist is playing that I recognize and admire. Outside of that, I like to cook traditional meals from my family, play board games with friends and spend evenings on my balcony waxing poetry.
From: Dallas/Texas, USA
I’m from Dallas, but I have been living overseas since 2015. I have an associates degree in Social Sciences and a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood to 6th grade education from the University of North Texas. Working with young children is definitely nothing new to me. My experience began when I was a teenager, starting with little jobs such as babysitting, day care employee, substitute and tutor.
I worked for KUMON back home, which is a tutoring program that focuses on reading and math for children 5–18. I taught grade five, ages 10-11, in Coppell, TX. I realized I wasn’t quite ready to go into my career, I wanted to see the world. I found a wonderful family in Australia and I was their Au Pair for one year, before coming to Heidelberg.
Branching out into a foreign land is what I needed to gain more knowledge and experience of different learning and teaching strategies. I have learned a substantial amount of information in America, but I want to discover the unfamiliar. I have learned a great deal about children, education and had amazing college professors! I support each child as a unique individual, while guiding him/her toward their goals because nothing is more important to me than building confidence within young children. It is essential to instill an appreciation for knowledge as early as 2 years old, as well as guiding them in finding his/her self-worth. It is amazing how much you can learn from one child, and I am excited to be working with the DAI to learn about children from all over the world.
From: Marin County/California, USA
I have an extensive background working with children teaching gymnastics, rhythm and music, and storytelling, and am currently studying part time at the University of Heidelberg to complete my degree in Educational Science (Erziehungswissenschaften/Bachelor of Arts).
I’ve been with the DAI Kindergarten since 2014 and like to share my love of different cultures with our children.
I love the outdoors and my hobbies include backpacking, rock climbing, and gardening.
From: Columbus/Ohio, USA
Hello, my name is Benjamin, but most people call me Ben! Although my name is quite German, I’m actually an American. I was born in the USA and I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I am the oldest of 6 children, and I am 15 years older than my youngest sister, so I’ve had a lot of experience being around young children. I got my Bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University, and in 2014, I moved to Heidelberg to earn my Master’s degree. While I was a Master’s student, I started working part-time at the Sprachschule at the DAI. I taught the Mini-OWLS and Little Bilinguals groups, as well as led a song circle at another local Kindergarten. After finishing my Master’s studies in 2017, I realized how much I enjoyed working with children, so I decided to stay in Germany, and in March 2018, I began working at the Kindergarten.
My classroom philosophy centers around respect. Children are intelligent, sensitive, and capable, and I always strive to communicate with them appropriately, but without any belittling or condescension. The most rewarding part of working with Kindergarten children is seeing them achieve a “eureka” moment, especially when they do so independently!
When I am not teaching in the Kindergarten, I can be found playing games at the local game store, knitting up cozy things for my friends, visiting other countries, or practicing my ukulele. My husband is from Mexico so we also enjoy cooking Mexican food together. I am excited for continued fun and growth at the DAI Kindergarten!
From: Boston/Massachusetts, USA
I studied anthropology in college, which included a semester abroad in Greece. These experiences made me want to travel more so after I graduated I decided to move to Spain to teach English.
I thought I would live in Madrid for a year to do some traveling, learn Spanish, and get some teaching experience, but I stayed for four years. During my time in Spain I also completed a master’s degree in International Education.
I loved my time living in Madrid, but was ready for a new challenge. That’s why I joined the DAI kindergarten team in 2018. I love working with kids and sharing my ideas with this great team of people at the DAI.
In my free time I like hiking, playing sports, and traveling.
From: Black Forest Region, Germany
I grew up in the Black Forest in a village not too far away from Baden-Baden. After finishing school, I did an FSJ in a kindergarten for children with special needs. Then I moved to Heidelberg for my studies and after two semesters of studying English and Latin, I started studying early childhood studies at the PH in Heidelberg. Since I wanted to experience living in a different country, I took the opportunity to go to Ireland after finishing my studies. As an au pair, I spent six months with a great family in the Southwest of Ireland.
As the eldest of three siblings, I have always been around younger children and really enjoyed taking care of them. Working with children is an adventure for me, as it is amazing to observe how they learn and what ideas they come up with. It is important to me to help the children become independent and understanding people. I look forward to exploring the world with your children and working with you.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, listening to music and singing along. My hobbies also include bouldering, yoga and working as a volunteer with children and young adults with special needs.
From: Erie/Pennsylvania, USA
I’m Kara, and I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, a small city on a
peninsula of Lake Erie. Since 2010, my family has been growing and moving
around a lot, so traveling is a hobby we have all come to enjoy. I have
close family in several states in the US, Italy, and here in Germany.
I graduated from East Carolina University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in
English with a minor study in Linguistics and a TESOL Certificate. After
graduating, I spent four years working at an international kindergarten in
Budapest, where I continued my studies and worked toward receiving a
diploma in Childcare and Education.
In 2018, I moved to Heidelberg to continue my career as a kindergarten teacher and to be closer to family. I began working at the DAI Kindergarten in Neuenheim as an ABC teacher, and I have been rewarded with relationships with the excellent staff and caring families of the DAI. I feel a lot of purpose in my work, and I am happy to be part of a child’s learning to understand and follow a routine, find new interests, build healthy relationships and outlets to express their emotions, and prepare for their future education. It is my pleasure to spend time with these children as they learn new life skills and explore the world around them.
In my free time, I like to practice playing the Ukulele, knit and crochet, and like to travel with my sister.
From: Dublin, Ireland
Hi! My name is Adam West. I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. I come from a large family of ten kids of which I am lucky number eight. My parents built our home in the beautiful Dublin mountains, so I had a great childhood full of exploring and adventure. I studied Digital Media and Journalism in University and then later earned a 120-hour TEFL for teaching young learners.
In 2013, I moved to Southern Japan and began working as an English Teacher in a wonderful city called Kagoshima. In 2014, I began working for Veritas International Kindergarten where I spent five years teaching children from 0-6 years of age. I spent five and a half years in Japan before moving to Germany in 2019 to work for the DAI.
My educational goals are to encourage multi-lingual communication between students. I believe that children are able to communicate with each other, no matter what language barrier they are presented with. Working with an international school, like the DAI, which has such a great variety of both students and teachers has been a great experience.
I love nature, so in my free time I enjoy hiking, and exploring. On rainy days, I enjoy video games and playing board games with friends.
From: Arizona and New Mexico, USA
Hi, my name is Stephanie. I grew up in a military family and lived in many different places. I never really had a hometown until my family settled in Columbia, Maryland where I spent my high school years.
Growing up in a military family, I had an opportunity to travel a lot. It is what has inspired my love for travel and adventure. During my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, I took every opportunity to travel. However, one and two week trips were only teasers to what I really wanted to do. I always wanted to live in another country, learn another language and culture, and truly have an experience outside of the US and the US Army.
After graduating college with my Bachelor’s Degree I worked in the States teaching high school English as well as teaching in recreational programs geared to support children and individuals with special needs.
Eventually I decided I needed a change and was determined to follow my dreams of moving to Europe and moved to Germany. Originally, I thought I would only stay for one year, but after two months, I knew I had found my home and wanted to stay. I decided to get my Masters at the University of Heidelberg and completed it in the fall of 2018. Afterwards I began working in international kindergartens teaching English. While I have enjoyed each of my jobs and experiences in education, I have realized how special Kindergarten is. Children in Kindergarten learn to become people, learn to foster friendship, and learn who they are. Here is where a foundation for life begins.
Apart from working with children, I also enjoy several hobbies such as reading, baking, running and sewing.
From: Springfield/Illinois, USA
My name is Conor O’Brien. I was born in the USA and grew up in Springfield, Illinois. I am the youngest of four kids and spent my childhood attending the musical performances and theatrical productions of my parent’s siblings. The rest of my childhood was spent losing games against my significantly older brother and sisters.
I studied Music Composition at the University of Oklahoma and when my studies gave me the chance to enjoy a semester abroad in Heidelberg in Fall 2014, I was sure to take advantage of this offer. Learning a new language and meeting new people was such a positive experience for me that I decided to move back to Heidelberg in Summer 2015. In Spring of 2016 I started an internship at the DAI’s Sprachschule and in Summer 2016 this led to me beginning at the DAI Kindergartens as an assistant teacher.
Since I’ve started working at the Kindergartens I’ve had the goal of making music something the children can always access and enjoy. Breaking down the perception that music is a difficult, intimidating thing that only certain people can do is very important to me, and I work hard to normalize music’s presence in the children’s everyday routine and to build up their self-confidence. I’m constantly surprised at what the children can accomplish, and I do my best to praise them and help them see how much they are capable of.
Outside of the kindergarten hours I love spending time playing games with my friends, writing and practicing music with my band and playing and coaching Ultimate Frisbee.
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.