Adventures in Early Childhood: Meet Erin
My name is Erin Carlson (known as Miss Erin by my young students,) and I am an early childhood educator at Silver Creek Early Learning Center, a local nature-based program in rural Two Harbors. I’m excited to be joining the Lake County News-Chronicle team in order to share information about child development, the needs of young children, information about the importance of early education, project ideas, and much more. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share a little bit about my personal and professional background.
I was born and raised in Two Harbors and have made a home a few miles up the shore with my husband and our pets. I have worked with young children since 2006, beginning first as a childcare provider for children aged six weeks to 10 years old. After a few years of providing care for a wide age range of children, I realized I wanted to make a career of teaching young children between the ages of three and five, and help prepare them for their future academic lives. As I embarked on the next step in my professional life, I began researching colleges with early childhood programs. I was accepted into Concordia University-St.Paul’s College of Education, and I graduated with honors in 2012 with a bachelor of arts degree in child development-early childhood education. I was recently accepted into Concordia’s Early Childhood Education master of arts program.
In the summer of 2012, after two years of planning and preparations, I opened the doors to Silver Creek Early Learning Center. Living in a rural area of the North Shore, my husband and I have the perfect outdoor learning environment in which children can learn, explore, and grow. I wanted to share this natural classroom with young children and create a program that integrated learning through nature with traditional classroom learning experiences. As I worked to create a quality program, we built an early childhood classroom as an addition to our home, and everything started coming together to round out the program. The result is a holistic learning approach, supported by small class sizes, with an emphasis on learning through the natural world.
As we grow more and more into a technological screen-based world, I am increasingly motivated to provide quality hands-on learning experiences and interactions with nature for the children in my program. Regular contact with nature has profound effects on the development of young children, greatly supporting all areas of development: Physical, social-emotional, and cognitive. Nature provides endless opportunities to support creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, physical health, and overall emotional well-being. Think of the last time you took a walk in the woods or visited the beach… I bet you felt great after the experience!
Early experiences, relationships, and interactions set the foundation for the individual a child will become as they grow, as well as their future academic success, so I take my role in the lives of the children in my program very seriously. I look forward to opening the door of our program through this column in order to share our experiences with you!
Editor’s note: The Lake County News-Chronicle welcomes new columnist and early childhood educator Erin Carlson. Her insights and ideas are sure to inspire parents and grandparents.