Free Pikler and Montessori Zoom webinar, Friday July 31, 12 pm PDT With expert panelists: Aunt Dolores Sheen, Dr. Tracy Epps, Anna Ruth Myers, and Elsa Chahin.
Quinlock Dolores Sheen is the Executive Director at Sheen Educational Foundation, and has lived in South Los Angeles for 75 years. In 1968, she co-founded Sheenway School and Culture Center with her father, the late Herbert A. Sheen, M.D., who believed that the benefits of total education are the most effective ally to the underserved. Sheenway School and Culture Center was conceived as an innovative tool for the dignity and upward mobility of a community wrenched with self-defeat and void of opportunity. When Dr. Sheen entrusted his vision to Dolores, it became her dream. With his blessing and collaboration, she developed a teaching and learning experience reflecting the philosophies of Dr. Maria Montessori, ‘country schooling’, and the scientific-based wisdom of her father. Credentialed by the Montessori Institute of America, Ms. Sheen (affectionately known as Aunt Dolores) interned at the Julia Ann Singer Psychiatric Pre-School at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her strong medical background has been impetus for her theories of learning and teaching, Personal esteem and character building enhances her formula for academic and personal successes.
Lauding the Sheenway Experience, legendary Brazilian philosopher and educator, Paulo Freire, enlisted Aunt Dolores in his ‘Think Tank’.
She was invited to the White House by President H. W. Bush to discuss the educational voucher system, and to witness him signing the Educational Bill of 1992. In 1994, Aunt Dolores expanded her circle of life to Ghana, West Africa, finding her paternal Ewe roots in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, establishing the Sheenway sister school on a gifted 51 acre site in her village, Sasekope. She was ‘stooled’ in 2007, now known as (Queen Mother) Mama Ayawovia II.
President Bill Clinton awarded the distinguished President’s Service Award to her at the White house in 1996, the highest national award bestowed to a community volunteer.
Aunt Dolores was invited to contribute to the Commission on Human Rights in 2001, addressing the United Nations Roundtable in Geneva, Switzerland. Her oral intervention - ‘A Village Raises the Child’ - won the first Ralph Bunche Award.
2005 marked the end of her twenty years of volunteer teaching services at both Jesse Owens and Green Meadows Parks and Recreation Centers in South L. A., where she tutored and taught math, reading literacy, and performing arts to community youth and senior citizens. Aunt Dolores then worked with high profile/long term male inmates at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California, through 2007, teaching literacy skills and ‘reaching out to touch’ with home cooked meals and desserts. She was also allowed to give hugs as she gave hope.
She was an elected 14 year member of the Community Revitalization Committee, serving under Councilmen Mark Ridley Thomas and Bernard Parks, who honored her as the 8th District’s “Pioneer Woman of 2012”. Aunt Dolores currently sits on the Community Police Advisory Board and is a volunteer for the Southeast Police Department. She attended training sessions with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and the Commission on the Status of Women in 2017 to better mentor community youth via the Blue Campaign, empowering youth to combat human trafficking and violence against girls and women.
Tracy Epps received her Montessori training from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, at the Assistants to Infancy (0-3) and Primary (3-6) levels. Tracy holds a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in Montessori Education from Loyola University of Maryland, and a doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from DePaul University. For eight years she ran a successful home-based, Montessori-inspired school, serving infants through six year olds. Many of her clients shared that they had become better parents while their children were in her care.
Tracy also served as Toddler lead teacher and Head of School for a Wildflower Montessori school in Cambridge, MA. She now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is planning to open a Wildflower school in Pittsburg, CA. In a previous life, Tracy served as adjunct faculty in management and psychology, a personal and executive coach, an organizational consultant, and a research psychologist for the U.S. Army. In addition to her work in early childhood education, she now serves as an officer in the US Army Reserve.
Anna Ruth Myers. M.A., is an infant development specialist with over 15 years of experience supporting families and young children. A Pikler® Pedagogue candidate and RIE® Associate, her work is guided by the profound insights of Emmi Pikler. As a certified doula, childbirth and lactation educator, she has worked with hospitals and birth centers to advocate for respectful infant care from birth. Anna Ruth also holds diplomas in both Montessori and Waldorf education and has completed 2 study groups at Reggio Emilia.
Anna Ruth is the founder of The Nurtured Child, an early parenting program based on the peaceful and respectful approaches to infant care and education developed by Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber. For more information visit thenurturedchild.com.
Elsa Chahin is an in-demand speaker, writer, teacher, lactation educator, and infant-toddler consultant, and is one of only two Pikler® certified and accredited trainers of the Pikler® Pedagogy in North America. In addition, Chahin has served as a keynote speaker and presenter at over 100 national and international conferences and seminars on the topic of caring for babies with respect. She recently co-authored the book, In Loving Hands: How the Rights for Young Children Living in Children’s Homes Offer Hope and Happiness In Today’s World, with Anna Tardos, Dr. Pikler’s daughter. Chahin, who has been mentored by Ute Strub since 2004 and named as her successor, is a working group leader for World Forum Foundation™, a RIE® Associate, PITC Trainer and a UCLA Certified Lactation Educator. Chahin, a rare leader who not only brings passion and commitment to her work, but also a deep knowledge coupled with both insight and generosity, has practiced yoga, meditation and mindfulness for over 20 years. Above all, she is a joyous mom.
In addition, it will go Live on Pikler USA’s Facebook page. And if you are not able to join us in real time, enjoy our recording whenever you find the time. The recording will be available on Facebook as well as here on Pikler USA's website.