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Our Blog: February 15th, 2022

STEAM Tuesdays: Q&A with Phoebe Fountain - Education Specialist

Q and A Graohic-FBMeet Phoebe Fountain! She’s one of our talented Education Specialists at Everbrook Academy’s corporate headquarters. Phoebe has been integrated with our schools for nearly 15 years, holding various titles including Lead Teacher, Assistant Director, and School Education Manager (SEM). Before moving into her current role, she was the SEM at Everbrook Academy of Novi, MI — making her an expert in all things Everbrook. We recently spoke with Phoebe to learn more about her background, what makes our schools unique, and how we truly prepare children for elementary school, and beyond. Read on to learn more!

Tell us about your time at Everbrook Academy.

I started working there around 2017 and had transferred there from one of our sister schools. I was the SEM at Everbrook Academy, and my responsibilities were to support overall curriculum implementation, support teacher growth, and develop family partnerships.

When did you move into your current role as Education Specialist? And what are your new responsibilities?

That would have been just over two years ago. My focus now is supporting all SEMs across the country. I start by collaborating with school leaders and district managers to interview qualified candidates for the SEM position. Once hired, I train SEMs through an all-day SEM Virtual Academy (SVA).  Post SVA, I ensure that our SEMs have access to monthly leadership development training and any SEM-specific training. I also provide ongoing field support.

What exactly is the STEAM curriculum we implement here at Everbrook Academy?

The question in my head, rather, is “What is STEAM learning?” STEAM at its core stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. In the classroom, this really translates to teachers providing experiences that promote science, technology, engineering, and math through the arts – STEAM really comes to life through the arts. Through the classroom environment and through positive teacher/child interactions, teachers are making STEAM a success in the classrooms.

We state that we have a “21st Century Curriculum” – what does that mean?

We’re growing and adapting with our [changing] world, and it’s happening quickly. Our children are the future workforce and they’re going to be in our shoes soon. It’s our job to really prepare them. When we think of 21st century skills, we think about how children need to be able to think critically and to be able to solve problems in different ways. They need to have the opportunity to be creative or innovate or invent something new. Children also need to be effective communicators so they can share their ideas and listen to others’ ideas and perspectives. And they also need the opportunity to collaborate, and in doing so, they can build on each other’s knowledge and strengths.

How does Everbrook Academy ensure preparedness of children once they age out of our program?

We’re not just preparing them for kindergarten, we’re preparing them for life. One thing I really like about Everbrook Academy is it focuses on the whole child. Not only do we want to provide children with fun and engaging STEAM learning opportunities, but we also want to support children to learn to be kind, confident, and creative individuals. So, the 21st century skills they learn at Everbrook Academy, is what’s going to support them in elementary school and beyond.

What sets our curriculum apart from other centers that might use a STEAM or STEM approach to learning?

We use a proprietary emergent curriculum that we call Learning Care System. It’s different because it’s not theme based. Our teachers really get to know children as individuals and use their interests, knowledge base, and skill sets to provide activities for promoting learning and their next stage of development. Our curriculum takes an individualized approach to learning and utilizes research based developmental indicators and teacher observations to understand what each child is ready to learn next. The teachers are also trained to shape these experiences to bring out the different elements of STEAM.

What else separates us from competitors?

One of the first things I think of that sets us apart is the intentionality. Everything is intentional here—from the layout of the classroom to the tools, toys, and resources, to our playground equipment. I also really believe our teachers and school leaders set us apart from other early childhood providers. Everbrook Academy teachers are degreed and highly qualified. They are really dedicated to creating those inclusive, warm, and welcoming classrooms.

If a parent were to ask you why their child should attend Everbrook Academy, how would you reply?

It’s the best! But really, it’s a place where children have opportunities to use their imagination and have fun doing it. Any parent should feel confident sending their child to Everbrook Academy because it’s safe, inviting, and places value on partnering with families to ensure their child’s social and academic needs are met.