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Alanna Navitski is the Director of a small, new, experimental early childhood school called Catskill Wheelhouse, in Green County, NY. After describing her route to Early Childhood Education as a profession, she talked about her experience managing her small staff, children, and families in the context of the uncertainty and remoteness that the COVID-19 shutdown created, beginning on Friday the 13th of March, 2020. Alanna talked about the difficult conversations about money and supporting the school with parents in the early weeks of the pandemic, both in person and then later over Zoom, and making decisions with teachers to close indefinitely. She described feeling alone and unsupported as an independent early childhood leader, given no guidance or certainty about how to remain open safely and how to navigate the financial repercussions of not providing care, among other things. She shared a bit about her experience of the past few months, as a mother of a six year old herself, finding new balance between work and home, and what letting go of the daily stressors of a hectic leadership position has afforded in terms of thinking creatively, both to meet community needs and to find new organizational sustainability.
Diana Lempel is a mother of two young boys and a descendant of 20th century Italian immigrants, Mayflower passengers, and at least one professional medium. Her world-making combines women’s and family history with fiction and performance, and a strong attention to place, community, magic, and labor. Diana has served as the Mass Humanities Scholar in Residence for the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival, the Doing History Curator at the Cambridge Historical Society, and the Researcher in Residence at the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park’s exhibition “Visionary New England.” She received a MUP in Urban Planning + Design and an MA in Landscape Studies from Harvard University.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.