From: Heidelberg/Germany, lived eight years in Atlanta/Georgia
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. Alongside my work I participated in various seminars to earn additional qualification for my position.
In 1995, I moved with family (three children) to Atlanta/ Georgia, USA where 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 in August 2012 on the direction of the Altstadt Kindergarten.
I am very passionate about the wellbeing 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.
In my free time I love playing Basketball, reading books and baking cakes and cookies
From: U.S.A., San Diego, California. 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: Born in Oakland California,living in Karlsruhe, Germany for the past twenty years.
Education: I have worked for the U.S Army, Child,Youth and School Services(CYSS) in Heidelberg for the past 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.
From: Liverpool, England
Education: Paula is a qualified early years practitioner. She gained her NNEB diploma in 1991. Since then, Paula has 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. She then went on to study and achieved her HNC in Early Childhood studies. Paula has also worked in Hamburg and Ludwigshafen as Erzieherin.
Paula moved to Germany in 2003 with her now husband, during this time she worked in a kindergarten in Hamburg and in 2004 they moved to Heidelberg were she worked in a bilingual kindergarten in Ludwigshafen.
went back to the UK in 2008 and has returned to Heidelberg this year.
Hobbies: Spending time with my family, travelling and reading
From: Bristol, England
Education: 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.
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.
Sarah Lantry- Schäfer
From: Born in Southern 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 living somewhere new.
After completing a German language course, I finished my FSJ (voluntary year) at DAI in 2015 and began my “Ausbildung zur Erzieherin” in that same year. I will be finished with my training in summer 2017.
I truly enjoy working with children and feel that a kindergarten can shape the way children experience and approach the world. I look forward to helping shape children’s lives.
Hobbies: Strength training, Horseback riding, reading and watching movies.
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!
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 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 recently moved to Heidelberg and as native English speaker, I am hoping to learn the German language and I am looking forward to explore this picturesque city.”
From: born in Nürtingen and grown up in Stuttgart, Germany,moved to Heidelberg in 1991, I have a 12 year old son.
I was born in Nürtingen and grew up in Stuttgart. During my studies I moved to Heidelberg in 1991. Since then I live in this beautiful and charming city.
When I was 14 years old I stayed in England for one month with an English family and went to school there.
At the age of 16 years I participated at a school exchange program and stayed in Idaho Falls/USA for 6 weeks. I lived with a Morman family, which was a very exciting experience. There I went to high school and travelled around a lot.
After my “Abitur” I studied English and physical education at the university of Stuttgart and Heidelberg. During my studies I was teaching children from 3-6 years in swimming. As a tennis teacher I gave lessons to children and adults since 1989 in Stuttgart and on the Gardasee/Italy.
From 1994 to 1995 I studied and lived in Manchester/England for one year. I had a stipendium from the university of Heidelberg to do my last courses and I worked at the two biggest musical houses there. As a volunteer I was in a high school as a teacher to teach German.
After university and different exciting jobs, I got my son and worked as a day care mother for several years. I also have a certificate therefor.
But my heart beats for the 3 to 6 year old children, so I decided to study at the education school in Wiesloch (berufsbegleitend) to become a “staatlich geprüfte Erzieherin”.
Now I finished school (so I am a “Fachkraft”) and start my “Anerkennungsjahr” at the DAI. After that I recieve the “bachelor”. I´m really looking forward to work at the DAI with so many people from all over the world.
The last three years I´ve been working in a kindergarden in Heidelberg/Südstadt. During that time I made a seminar at the “Klaus-Tschira-Stiftung” concerning research with children.
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 can enjoy teaching, learning and being creative with children from so many countries!
From: San Francisco, California
Mimi Steele was born in San Francisco, California. She studied Humanities, Dance and Theater Arts at World College West and Sonoma State University’s School of Expressive Arts. She worked at Sassarini Elementary School in Sonoma, California and choreographed children musicals for San Rafael recreation department. While living in Taiwan and raising her daughter Mimi taught English at Big Bird Language Schools in Taipei and Shin Chu City as well as holding the position of director of Taipei Youth Program Association, TYPA.
She is also a qualified Shiatsu practitioner and Instructor as well as a Qi Gong Instructor.
From: Los Angeles, California
I am from Los Angeles, California, but the last year I lived in Washington state. 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 as far as education, and I am very excited to get to know the families and kids in this Kindergarten.
From: Springfield, Illinois
I grew up in Springfield, Illinois 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. 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 and to have qualified as a kindergarten teacher. I am now looking forward to the next kindergarten year.
From: Born in Southern California; lived in St. Louis, Missouri
I was born in Singapore to a German mother and an American father, but I grew up mainly in southern 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 US a year later to start a degree in Nursing, but my nostalgia for Spain lingered on, and so I decided to return to Spain and spent the next three years in Barcelona. While living there, a friend suggested I teach English, so I enrolled in the TEFL program and obtained a certificate to teach English as a foreign language. It was during that time that I discovered my love for teaching and went on to obtain two more certifications, one to teach business English and the other to teach young learners. After two wonderful years of teaching I returned to Florida to finish school, where I completed two years of a degree in Elementary Education and earned myself a spot on the dean’s list. I later moved back to Europe, where I taught English to children for two years in the French countryside near Paris. Before moving to Heidelberg I spent six months traveling in India.