Come Play with Us!

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 DES CERTIFIED DAYCARE
"Trust your children with us"

Meet The Team
  1. Donna Waters
    Daycare Director
  
Donna Waters, the Director of New Horizon Little Learners, is responsible for the management and operation of the program. Donna received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies from Texas Woman’s University, and her Master’s degree in Administration and Education from University of Phoenix. Prior to joining the New Horizon team, she was a site director for Khalsa Montessori Primary School in Central Phoenix for over 15 years. Additionally, for the past year, she has worked as an educational coach for Catholic Charities and Southwest Human Development.

Donna’s approach to child development follows several philosophies that allow for healthy physical, mental, and emotional development of infants and children. First is the idea that children need to experience the world and adults are responsible for guiding them through this great exploration. Through exposure and introduction to new things, children are able to learn and build skills at their own pace. Second is the belief that everyday experiences can be teaching moments for children. For example, a trip to the grocery store can be an opportunity to count apples and baking a cake can be a lesson in measurements. Donna firmly believes that there are ample moments of learning that naturally occur within a child’s environment. Third is the notion that play is the work of a child, which provides the foundation for social and emotional skill development. There is value in free expression, such as process art and giving our children our undivided attention.

When Donna is not working hard she enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years and her seven-year-old son. She loves reading, crafting, and competing in long distance walking events. In Donna’s care, Little Learners will utilize a creative curriculum that balances teacher direction and child initiation to achieve optimal development of every child. Under her direction the Little Learners staff will utilize every opportunity to enhance the skills of each child and set the foundation for continued learning and development throughout childhood. With Donna’s passion and vision, Little Learners will be a happy, peaceful and playful place. Come play with us!

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  1. Kimberly Person
    Teacher
Kimberly is an assistant teacher in the ones (Seedlings) classroom. She is an Ohio native and a graduate from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Education and Human Development. For the past eight years she has worked with children in many capacities, and has spent the last four years with children age one to five through Catholic Charities and Maricopa County Head Start. She has experience in different settings including classrooms, daycare centers, preschool centers, day camps, and tutoring centers.

Her passion is fostering the growth of each child in her classroom and preparing them for the next phase of development in the areas of cognition, critical thinking, basic math skills, language development and early writing skills, reading, science exploration indoors and outdoors, and more! She thrives on seeing children overcome challenges and achieve success, both large and small. She believes that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their highest potential and provides the support necessary for them to do so.


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  1. Diane Whelihan
    Teacher
Diane is the lead teacher in the Preschool Room (Buds and Blossoms). Before joining the Little Learners team, Diane worked at Tutor Time for 7 years and for Avalon Elementary School for 3 years. Diane has twenty-seven years of experience teaching preschool and kindergarten classes. She was born and raised in Philadelphia where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Chestnut Hill College. She has lived in the Phoenix area for eleven years. While away from work Diane enjoys reading, crafts, outdoor activities and spending time with her family.

Diane brings academics to her children through so many ways. Her class is often cooking and baking, creating yummy dishes, and learning how to take turns. Diane brings sounds and letters to her classroom through worksheets and art projects, allowing her children to concretely understand each sound the letters make. Diane is very strong in her classroom expectations and routines, which offers a sense of peace and calmness to the classroom as it allows her children to know what to expect each day.
  

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  1. Hilda Castro
    Support Teacher
Hilda started at Little Learners in September 2016. She has taken on many roles over the course of her first year. She is often in the classrooms providing support to the teachers throughout the day with whatever they might need. More recently, Hilda enjoys working in the kitchen. She plans all the menus for Little Learners, creating new dishes with hopes of the children’s enjoyment.

Hilda is a single mom of two beautiful and awesome children. In her spare time she loves to spend all her time with her kids and with her family and friends. She enjoys cooking and is a fantastic baker. She plans to go back to school to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education.



  1. Genesis Medellin
    Teacher's Assistant
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Genesis Medellin is a teacher’s assistant in the infant (Seeds) classroom. She has worked with youth and children of all ages for over four years. Her experience has come through many volunteering opportunities at her home church, youth camps, and at the Boys and Girls Club in Tucson, Arizona. Through these many opportunities she believes she has been able to strengthen and learn new skill sets that have equipped her to be an effective member of the Little Learners team. She feels she is blessed to be a part of this family and even more blessed to work with the fun loving children in our care.

Genesis brings laughter, peace, and so much genuine love to any classroom that she is in. She is always willing to go the extra mile to provide support or extra attention to Little Learners whenever possible. Genesis is currently studying Social Services at Gilbert Community College. When not at work or school, Genesis enjoys dancing and spending time with her family.


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  1. Megan Kirby
    Lead Teacher
Megan is the lead teacher of the older infant (Seeds) classroom, working with babies 6-months to 1-year. Megan is currently attending EVIT (East Valley Institute of Technology) working on her CDA in Infant/Toddler Education. Megan loves children so much, she has even been known to spend some of her free time babysitting.

Megan brings humor and a genuine love for all of the babies she cares for. She can often be seen dancing and singing with a baby in her arms with the biggest smiles on both their faces! Megan celebrates all their milestones with such pride and joy. Although her classroom is often busy and a bit loud, we know each baby feels loved and secure spending time with her. Whenever Megan is not working, she enjoys going to concerts and hanging out with friends and family.

  1. Brianna Dill
    Teacher's Assistant
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Brianna started in June of 2017. Before working for Little Learners, Brianna worked at Copper Basin YMCA supervising children in child care, and as a dance instructor for about a year. Prior to that she worked at San Tan Behavioral Health Services providing patient support and assistance. Brianna is currently an assistant in the older infant (Seeds) classroom.

Brianna brings patience and peace to each infant in the classroom. She meets all of their needs with such love and calmness. Each baby knows they are truly being cared for and loved. When Brianna is not at work she enjoys spending time with friends and family. She also is a member of a local dance troupe.



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  1. Janine "JC" Lake
    Lead Teacher
Ms. JC started at Little Learners in February 2017. JC was born in the Virgin Islands and has lived in the Phoenix area since January 2017. Prior to joining the Little Learners team, she worked at “Chef it up Café” for about 5 years as a group leader creating cooking and life skill lessons for children. She was an infant/toddler teacher in Virginia Beach, VA and a preschool teacher in Oklahoma City, OK.

JC is the lead teacher in the twos (Sprouts) classroom and truly enjoys working with young children and challenging them to the full potential. JC brings routines and high expectations for the kids in her classroom, as she knows they are really capable of doing so much! JC enjoys singing and cooking with the children. When not at work, JC loves spending time with her young daughter, Leilani, and her family!



  1. Shawkees Jones
    Lead Teacher
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Shawkees, or Kee Kee, is the lead infant teacher in the youngest infant (Seeds) classroom, working with babies 6-weeks to 6-months since July of 2017.

Prior to joining the Little Learners team, Kee Kee worked for Elite Preschool and Kids Kampus. Kee Kee enjoys spending time with each baby and says she is never bored! She can often be seen moving constantly, adjusting, feeding, and caring for each baby with all the love in her heart. Shawkees has a Medical Assistant degree from Brookline College. When not at work, Kee Kee enjoys spending time with her young son and family.


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  1. Jordan Ellingston
    Teacher's Assistant

Jordon joined the Little Learners team in February 2017 as a classroom assistant. She currently works with the 2-4 year olds (Sprouts, Buds, and Blossoms). Prior to coming to Little Learners, Jordon worked at Montessori Education Centre for about 3 years providing support to classrooms.

Jordan brings smiles and hugs.
Jordon enjoys spending time with the children and working on afternoon activities with them. In her time off, Jordan likes to watch movies and go shopping. She also enjoys hanging out with friends.

  1. Danet Carey
    Lead Teacher
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Ms. Danet is the ones (Seedlings) lead teacher. Prior to joining Little Learners, Danet worked for Little Sunshine Preschool as well as KidZone. In 2014, Ms. Danet earned her AA in elementary education and is currently working on her BA in special education and elementary education.

Danet brings a genuine heart and so much love for the ones classroom! Danet enjoys singing and being silly with the children. She believes at this age this is a different and fun way to introduce academics to the ones.
When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her 2 children and family! She enjoys exploring and seeing the world around her through hiking and camping. She tries to get out as much as she possibly can with her family!

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  1. Xabia Ferguson
    Teacher's Assistant
Xabia is an assistant to the ones (Seedlings) classroom. Before joining the Little Learners team, she worked on the Gila River Indian Community as a classroom assistant.

Xabia has had training in supporting children through challenging behaviors. She has learned to help the children relax and work through adverse childhood experiences.
Xabia enjoys going on day trips and adventures.
In her free time she likes listening to country music and hanging out with her family!!