Both Tessa Stephenson, MS MFT and Nichole Farrar are certified Community Trainers through the State of Oregon Child Care Division. They provide various training opportunities throughout the year to support the professional development of our staff, and to extend the knowledge base in the community.

Tessa focuses on social and emotional development training, including creating a mindful classroom. Nichole specializes in curriculum building and activity planning. Together, Tessa and Nichole offer 10-20 hours of continuing education training hours per year. They are both passionate about brain research and best practices, incorporating both into training programs.

The Children’s Garden internal training program creates a sustainable model of quality programming, ensuring that all staff members receive up-to-date and relevant information in the world of early childhood development and education.

Tessa Stephenson is also trained in the Reflective Caregiving Model, initially developed by the Reflective Care Institute in Los Angeles. This model is a well-researched, practical blend of empathic attunement and mindfulness, helping teachers to identify the inner emotions children are experiencing and respond effectively. Tessa and Chelsea will be facilitating weekly reflective groups with small cohorts of teachers to actively implement this model.

This Children’s Garden will be the first child development center in the United States to implement this model with young children. We will be working closely with the model developers and researchers to create a pilot program aimed at supporting the effectiveness of an intensive teacher training program.