When she first started subbing in a White Pony preschool class in 2006, Ana Fontan had never worked at a school before. She had moved to the US from El Salvador, where she had worked in an office. Right away, however, as she puts it, “I fell in love with this environment.” She was drawn to the Nurtured Heart Approach and the love and kindness at our school. She decided quickly that this was what she wanted to do, and she got her Child Development Master Teacher Permit. In her first years here, she worked a lot with Katie Ulmer, Michal Mader, and Barbara Boyan, her mentor teacher.
When recalling memorable moments, she shares one story of a boy who was struggling to adapt to preschool and having a hard time with his peers. Ana met with her teaching team, and they worked hard to implement the Nurtured Heart techniques to support this young student. Within a couple of months, he “was a whole new boy” and was happy to come to school and play with his friends. It was a “special and satisfying experience” for Ana, and it was strengthened even more when she saw the boy a year later, when he had moved to another classroom, and he asked her if she remembered him. “Of course!”
She also shares a sweet memory of a preschooler who drew a map for her. The girl told her, “This is a map for you. You can go on vacation to India with your husband. I can go on horse.” She was touched by this because the child was thinking of her beloved teacher and hoping she could have a wonderful vacation.
Ana has worked with hundreds of children at the White Pony and loves watching them learn and grow. She says that some of the most valuable skills the students will bring with them into the world are being kind, patient, and self-confident. She encourages her students to always try their best and try new things, because it is the best way to learn new things. She embraces this herself when she cooks, which she loves to do, often experimenting with different vegetables and learning new recipes from cooking shows.
Parents, students, and staff members have all expressed appreciation for Ana’s kindness, her dedication, and her skills working with young children. Thanks for everything you do, Ms. Ana!