Our Teachers and Parent Educators
Capitol Hill Coop teachers and parent educators embrace the cooperative, play-based preschool model and are attuned to the developmental needs and stages of each age group. They all possess a “can do” spirit and a desire to build community within the classroom, the teaching team, and the CHCP community as a whole. See some of their suggested reading on the Parent Ed Resource page.
Erica started out as a social worker for mentally ill clients in New Jersey. It was there that she realized her true calling was working with young children. After receiving her master’s in Early Childhood Education from the University of Pennsylvania, she worked with special needs children placed in therapeutic foster care and then as a first grade teacher for several years.
After moving to Seattle, Erica took a break from teaching to have children. She and her French husband are raising them bilingually. She was a CHCP parent for several years before signing up as a teacher in 2009. She believes a child-centered, play-based curriculum is the best approach to educating young children. Erica lives in Kirkland with her husband, two children, two cats and a plethora of fish.
Debbie received her Bachelor’s in Science in Global Health from the University of Michigan and set out for the world, heading to India, working with health workers in the slums. Upon returning to the US, she completed a yoga teacher training certification and previously worked at the open play gym OmKids.
A Michigan transplant, Debbie began teaching at CHCP in 2013. She has a background working with children in other settings (play gym, gymnastics, and private child care) and has recently obtained an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education in her spare time. She believes children learn best through play and exploration and loves teaching in the warm, nurturing environment of CHCP.
Elizabeth de Forest
Mary Ellen Haley
Mary Ellen joined our staff in 2007 after having taught at Lakewood Cooperative Preschool for 16 years. She loves the young families she works with and is strongly committed to making sure that young children are given time to play, time to be joyful, and time to be curious and awe-struck about the world around them. Her classroom curriculum is play-based and respectful of the children's ideas and interests.
B.A., Evergreen State College
Masters in Teaching, Seattle University
M.Sc, Mental Health Counseling, UMass Boston
Betty was a schoolteacher for 14 years in several Seattle elementary schools, as well as teaching in the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, and Tanzania. She currently is an infant and early childhood mental health therapist in Navos’ Child Youth and Family program, focusing on supporting children and families across a variety of socio-emotional needs.
She tends to take less of a behaviorist approach of reward and punishment, and instead to focus on the causes of behavior and help you meet your children there.
Elizabeth has been an early childhood educator since 1988. For over 15 years she taught at St. Mark’s Cathedral Preschool across the street from CHCP. Before moving to the Puget Sound, she taught at a parent co-op in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
She earned her BA in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an early childhood teaching certificate from Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA and a Master's degree in Child Development and Early Childhood education from Wheelock College in Boston. Her teaching interests include play theory, early literacy, reflective teaching and social justice awareness. Elizabeth lives in Kirkland and just sent her first son off to college and still enjoys the company of her second son at home.