20 Sep Creativity in Motion
Meet Lindsay Andretta our Movement and Library Specialist!
I grew up in a small colorful hippie town in upstate New York called Woodstock. As soon as I could walk, I was hiking and climbing the Catskills! After school, I would practice acting, dancing and took singing lessons at a small conservatory just down the road, and my love of the arts flourished fully once I began professionally acting at the age of 7. My mom and I would drive to New York City just about every week for film, tv and commercial auditions. As I progressively landed roles in film and TV and my love for the arts grew, we decided the arts would be a valuable experience to continue pursuing. My little heart was so excited to visit the tall buildings, busy sidewalks and perform for anyone who would listen. My mother was very supportive while I explored my theatrical side!
I attended NYU Tisch for Musical Theatre, and continued my education in liberal arts also taking psychology classes. I noticed that even though I was passionate about theatre, an essential element of connectivity with the audience was missing. As a performer, I couldn’t control the dialogue of the message I was conveying or ‘teaching’ the audience. It was time to explore a different way to connect with people where I could shape the story.
My junior year of college, I began studying at various yoga studios (Karma Kids, Studio Anya) and became a 500 hr-RYT yoga instructor to children and adults. This led me to collaborate with Studio Anya on their first ever children’s yoga program, Anya Kids, which I taught on weekday evenings and weekend mornings. My young yogis at Anya Kids introduced me to their schools (Citibabes, Leman Manhattan) where I was brought in to teach, and I gradually began teaching children’s yoga privately as well. To condense the next part of the story, I made a shift from children’s yoga to special needs yoga. An Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapist watched one of my classes and brought me to meet her client with autism. She trained me in ABA and referred me to her ABA therapist collaborators, where I met many other children with ASD who were eager to embrace yoga. Since then, I have been passionately collaborating with on-site ABA Therapists on sensory integrative approaches to yoga for children with ASD. I currently see these young yogis weekday afternoons for one-on-ones, always accompanied by an on-site ABA therapist. I’d say this is my favorite afterschool activity!
Finally, my love of working with children led me to find Montclare Children’s School. I began here as a floater in January 2017. I was smitten with the way Montclare nurtures their children and how strong the community is! I assisted in most classrooms and got to know many of the children throughout the year, and even brought my ukulele into the classrooms (I play the ukulele…and the accordion and French horn!) and we did movement songs and games if the class had downtime!
My first memory of my very own preschool is the book nook! To get to my preschool’s book nook, students had to climb up a mini-ladder and shimmy into a cozy loft space. The warm room had a lot of children’s books to choose from, and it ended up being one of my favorite places to rejuvenate and read. A calming, safe space to read was and still is a priceless component of my library experience! Most importantly, however, is the element of fun I like to bring to my classes. My goal is to help children develop a lifelong passion for reading and curiosity for stories through our time in our little book nook, laughing, exploring and reading together. The memory of bringing books home from preschool and sharing them with mom, dad, caretakers and even the family dog will inevitably last a lifetime. My hope is to sprinkle joy on those moments!
My three favorite preschool books:
- Pete the Cat, because who doesn’t love a classic!! He just can’t get his shoes clean, and we have a lot of fun singing about different colors, and learn a valuable lesson about staying cool amidst adversity. Who doesn’t love a deep concept in a fun package?
- ANYthing written by Eric Carle is great (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Tiny Seed, The Grouchy Ladybug)…his are the stories I grew up enjoying!
- The Snowy Day by Keats is tastefully illustrated and fun to read with children during the winter as it gets them talking about what they like to do when it snows outside.
*Can’t resist but I also love If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Numeroff, definitely a crowd pleaser as the book progresses and the mouse just needs more and more things from the little boy who gave this stubborn mouse a cookie! It’s very fun to read in large and *extra* silly groups!
Lindsay Andretta is Montclare’s Movement and Library Specialist. She brings her talent and enthusiasm to each class every day! Never one to rest on her laurels, Lindsay is currently working towards a Masters in Mental Health Counseling!