Our physical space is designed to allow interactions between all classrooms and community space. Our students can view what’s going on outside of their classroom and our parents can observe classroom work and activities. During open play our students can often move freely between the rooms fostering mixed age play where our little ones can gain a higher level of understanding from their older peers and our older students can learn empathy and understanding of the younger students, furthering real life social interactions. We incorporate natural materials into our classrooms as much as possible, allowing the children the opportunity to work with items from nature every day and ‘real life’ items within the classroom replace plastic ‘made for kids’ materials.
Our New Location
Our new location within the ground floor of the Seward Park Cooperative has an indoor play space, an art room, a library and a multipurpose room for dance, movement, yoga, music, theater, and whatever ‘extras’ our little learners are interested in. Along with an outdoor playground accessible directly from our classrooms, we have access to Seward Park coop playgrounds, gardens, grassy fields, ball courts and direct access to the largest and oldest public parks (Seward Park) which has just recently received a mulit-million dollar grant to renovate as part of the Parks Without Borders initiative
Each and every one of our teachers are passionate about Early Childhood Education, passionate about our school, and highly committed to the philosophy of My Little Village and committed to growing themselves as teachers, as individuals and as members of this beautiful community. We meet at least once a week, if not more, to reflect on our practice, to improve our understanding of our work, to collaborate on important topics and to support each other in our efforts. Several times a year we gather for staff development, parent workshops and attend a variety of parent and community socials to further the important bond between school and home.
Several of our teachers have been with the MLV community since day one. The vast majority of our staff have been teaching and learning with My Little Village for at least eight years. Our newest hires are as gifted and talented in the classroom as the rest and we pride ourselves on our varying talents outside of Early Childhood Education and our ability to collaborate and inspire each other.
Amy Kraus, Director/Founder
Hello My Little Village!
My name is Amy Kraus and I am very proud to claim responsibility for the creation of this special little school. It started with a thought and an idealism of what the perfect preschool could look and feel like, and grew rapidly into a community collaboration supporting Early Childhood Education and the children and families of our glorious East Village Neighborhood. I absolutely love this school and everyone in it.
After living in the East Village for over 15 years, my family and I made the move to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn where we currently live. My sons, Miles and Jakob, were amongst the first students to attend MLV and I feel so fortunate that my daughter, Ava, will also be taught by some of the same teachers as her two older brothers, (nearly 15 years later).
“If your mind is still open enough to question what you are seeing, you tend to look at the world with great care, and out of that watchfulness comes the possibility of seeing something that no one else has seen before. You have to be willing to admit that you don’t have all of the answers. If you think you do, you will never have anything important to say.” -Paul Auster, True Tales of American Life
Judy Bodor "Butterfly wrangler” I have been working with kids for over 20 years and my experiences are quite eclectic. I am a mum, a have nannied, taught martial arts and ran kid friendly neighborhood businesses and now I am over the moon to be back at MLV. When not hanging with my boys I love painting, photography and exploring NYC.
”Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." -Fred Rogers
Serena Van Rensselaer
Hello! My name is Serena. I fell in love with My Little Village when my son, Aziz attended 8 years ago. I am a jewelry designer, and have had my own jewelry business for over 20 years. I have taught many art classes for children over the years, and am now honored to be working at MLV. I love working and creating with the children! I also teach jewelry design at New York Institute of Art.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” -Rumi
Hi, I’m Mandy! Once upon a long time ago, I helped paint the walls of the original MLV and had the great privilege of teaching there for many years where I was surrounded by the love of so many amazing families and the MLV family, which has so many of it’s original core still here 15 years later. What a testament to Amy and her crew- the soul of MLV! I took many years out to be a full time mom to my favorite human being, Izzy. But now as she goes into 1st grade, I am so happy to be back and be a part of the next exciting chapter for this incredible school.
“Once upon a time I was the perfect parent. Then I had kids. The end.”- unknown
Hi! My name's Chris Aguilar. I've been teaching in MLV since it's beginning and it continues to be the most rewarding experience. I've been blessed with the time and opportunity to watch this little seed of a school evolve into the vibrant community it is today. It has always been my goal to cultivate the children's sense of wonder and keep them as wide eyed as possible. I believe early childhood teaching is truly a calling and I always say "I didn't choose my career, my career chose me." Besides teaching, I love basketball, playing and making music and thoroughly enjoying being a father to my little boy, Joaquin, (whom I've had the privilege of watching grow within this school). It really is my home away from home.
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. " -Rumi
Hi my name is Olivia Weber. Outside of MLV my hobbies and interests include bee keeping, teaching yoga, art making, cooking, camping, and psychology. I am looking forward to cooking classes and introducing the kids to where food comes from and how taste, texture, and color can inform their senses. Olivia received her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate in 2014 from Yoga Union. She is a registered Yoga Teacher with International Yoga Alliance. Olivia enjoys teaching Yoga basics to adults and children and is trained in the Iyangar style as well as Vinyasa style of yoga.
"It is only with the heart that one can rightly see; what is invisible to the eye.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
Jeff Winner, Founder
What's up MLV? Maybe you know this, but I'm Amy's (big) brother. The concept for My Little Village naively began at Tompkins Sq Park. The conversation went something like, "This is what you should be doing, I'll help." I used to live down the street from MLV in a 5 flight walk-up on 2nd Ave, but now I live in sunny, spacious Atlanta, GA. I'm super proud of what our little school has become especially when I think of the 15 years all of the children Amy and our teachers have helped raise. Our community is better for it. In my other life, I make films and videos.
"Whoever, you are, in the evening, step out of your room where you know everything." -Rilke
Hello! I have worked with children for the past ten years from newborns to kindergarteners. I'm big on having fun, and believe learning should be fun and engaging. I was born and raised in New York, made with Afro-Cuban- Chinese parts, not actual parts, and no I do not speak Chinese.
I am a photographer. I shoot lifestyle portraits of grown folks and children. I can be found out and about with camera in hand, hoping to capture whatever catches my eye.
"If a child can't learn the way we teach, them maybe we need to teach the way they learn” -Ignacio Estrada
Hello MLV families, my name is Jenny. I am one of the after-school teachers here at MLV. I have worked with children for over 15 years and very much enjoy spending time with the little people of our world. I have two children of my own, who you will see often. Zachy is a butterfly and Lymarie cannot seem to stay away, she has unofficially called herself my assistant teacher. I am an outdoorsy person and will spend as much time in the elements, as possible, with your children (I promise to put extra layers on them in the winter). Outside of school I enjoy going on all sorts of adventures with my family. I enjoy reading and baking and doing crafty things.
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” -Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada
"Hello! My name is Sam Speer. I am a lead teacher with an ME in Childhood Science. At work, I most enjoy Circle Time, story-writing, scientific investigations, and artwork. On my free time, I like to make music, draw cartoons, read nonfiction, and play Nintendo. I sometimes publish an education blog (mrsamspeer.tumblr.com). I’m so happy to be working at a school where creativity and humor thrive. I look forward to making our time together inspiring and full of laughter!'
“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.” -Carl Sagan
Hi, my name is Evelyn. I have been part of the MLV family for 6 years. I was gone for two years, and am thrilled to be back. Working with little ones has brought so much joy to my life. My husband, John and I are over the moon, for we just had a little one of our own! On my spare time I love to cook, travel and spend time with friends and family.
“And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling.”-Shanti
Hi My Little Village, I am Rosy Munro, an Interior Design Graduate, born in San Fransisco, raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Throughout my life, I have found that I am most fulfilled and happy when I am with children. I truly believe that they can teach us how to live in the present, with more vigor, and joyfulness. When I was little, I made a vow to myself that, as an adult, I would never forget how to play and be imaginative. What helps me in that regard is that I am also an Artist. I love photography, traveling, writing, and singing. For me, everyday is an adventure.
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." - Nelson Mandela