Apurva Bahukhandi has a PhD in Social Work from the University of Washington, with experience working with children in educational and therapy environments. She has been active in the North Seattle College cooperative preschool system since 2012, first as a parent and now as a teacher.
Apurva’s introduction to the co-op environment started back in early 2012, when her daughter was 18 months old. As they say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Not only did the co-op fit in her educational philosophy, it also helped form a community for her and her family. She’s a firm believer of play-based early learning, while involving and building a ‘safe’ community around children. In fact, the local emergency contacts she lists today for her own children at school are the co-op parents who she’s known since 2012.
As she has witnessed with her own kids, preschool is a magical journey. One of her passions is to develop the imagination and create memorable rituals, traditions, and celebrations that honor childhood. As a teacher her goal is to provide a safe, comfortable, stimulating, fun, and educational environment with a structured routine based on age-appropriate lesson plans. She wants children to be active learners and disciplined, creative thinkers; to learn to work hard, make good choices, and be kind. She also believes that children at this age and stage of development are naturally curious and accepting of differences. Being mindful of that, she incorporates age appropriate ‘we’re different, we’re the same’ philosophies. She wants children to love coming to school each day!
She also strives to provide an environment that is consistently secure and inclusive, so children feel comfortable enough to form emotional attachments. Being in a loving and nurturing environment forms these types of attachments. She believes that emotional engagement is the key to all powerful learning, which is why she brings love, laughter, passion, and meaningful projects into her classes.
Leonor Lopez is Colombian and has been working as a teacher for more than 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree and specialization in education. She is passionate about working with children and seeing the world through them. She arrived in Seattle in 2014 and since 2015 has worked in cooperative preschools developing curriculum based on play and immersion in Spanish. For Leonor, cooperatives are the ideal school environment as they allow integral work with families. This has motivated her to continue her training, acquiring certifications as a Parent Educator and Positive Discipline Teacher for Early Childhood in Washington State.
Monica Harris has been teaching for over 25 years. She first began by teaching folks how to sing, and then she later fell in love with teaching cooperative preschool! She has a Bachelor’s of Music from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, as well as a Master’s in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Roosevelt University. She, along with her two children, participated in cooperative preschool for seven years before becoming a teacher. Monica designs the curriculum and helps manage the classroom activities. Circle time is her specialty. She is very tuned-in with each and every student and allows for class flexibility based on each student’s abilities and energies. Kids love her Huggy-Boo!
Monica also has an amazing YouTube channel filled with a library of infant and toddler songs and stories.
Teacher Beth – Parent Educator
Beth Goss is a full-time faculty member at North Seattle College and has been teaching parent education classes in the co-op preschool system since 2002. She is also a Certified Gottman Educator and Training Specialist for the Bringing Baby Home program and a Certified Childbirth Educator. Beth’s philosophy of parenting is relationship-based, and her goal is to empower parents to stay in connection with their children while weathering the ups and downs of raising a family. She is a mom to two semi-adult children and is currently pouring a lot of attention into raising her cat.
Beth also offers outside consulting and public speaking services, “empowering parents to create strong families”.
Teacher Betty – Parent Educator
Betty Williams can think of no better way to spend her time than working with children and families, helping to nurture young lives to thrive in a supportive community. She feels so fortunate to have this opportunity to provide education, resources, and support to families with young children during such a foundational time in their lives.
Betty has a BA in Psychology from Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee. She grew up in East Tennessee, and she moved out to the great Northwest with excitement for the beauty of the Puget Sound area after she graduated. She received her MSW with an emphasis in working with children and families from the University of Washington. She worked in the child care field for many years as an infant, toddler, and preschool teacher, program supervisor, and center director. Her husband is also in the early childhood education field, and he currently works at Child Care Resources. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. When her daughters were young, Betty moved into teaching Early Childhood Education and Parent Education Classes as a part-time instructor at Seattle Central Community College. Since 2004, she has been working as a full-time instructor in Parent Education at North Seattle College, where she now coordinates the program and teaches four classes.
Betty’s vision for Parent Education is to provide a balance of opportunities for parents/guardians to share concerns, discuss challenges and strategies, and receive information from the field of early childhood education. She knows that living in a supportive, diverse, and inclusive community is the best way for children to grow, learn, and fulfill their potential as caring citizens of the world. She is happy to share resource information anytime, so families to connect with her in class or reach out to her in between classes.
Teacher Erin – Parent Educator
Erin B. Bernau, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed clinical social worker with more than twenty years of experience working with children and families. She works as a psychotherapist and parent coach in private practice and as a parent educator through North Seattle College’s cooperative preschools. In recent years, she worked as a parent educator at Seattle Central College’s Parent/Child Center and as a facilitator for Listening Mothers groups.
Erin is an active volunteer speaker for PEPS groups and has been a volunteer group facilitator for The Healing Center. She earned her B.A. from Yale University and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington.
Erin has training in Positive Discipline, Promoting First Relationships, Bringing Baby Home, mindfulness and self-compassion, as well as having completed a program in Infant Observation through COR Northwest Family Development Center. She has worked as a resident teacher at University Child Development School, as a Child Placement Specialist at Amara Parenting and Adoption Services, and has done extensive work in the field of children’s grief and loss through Hospice of Seattle and Evergreen Healthcare’s Bereavement Services.
After having her own children, Erin became more interested in the adjustment to parenthood and the challenges and triumphs that parenting presents. She enjoys the process of supporting parents so that they can more fully enjoy the wild ride of parenthood. Erin is the mom of a teen and a tween and lives with her family in Seattle.
Erin also offers outside psychotherapy and public speaking services, “to support individuals and communities in their paths towards greater joy, connection, and meaning.”
Teacher Lea – Parent Educator
Lea Evans (she/her/hers) has been on the Parent Education faculty at North Seattle College since 2018 and has taught and advised adult students in various subjects, states, and countries since 2001. Since her child was born in 2013, she has focused much more on supporting families and is a Positive Discipline certified parent educator. Her child attended a co-op preschool here in Seattle as well and is currently enjoying dual-immersion elementary school. Lea is passionate about her work with families and looks forward to meeting you and your little ones!