Meghna Gopal (She/Her)
Primary 3 Assistant Guide
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. I would spend countless hours playing “School” with my Barbies and even recruiting my younger brother and best friend to be my students. In 2016, I graduated with a BS in Early Childhood Education from Louisiana State University and began my career as an assistant teacher in a two-year-old classroom at Cedarwood School, just outside of New Orleans. It was actually the very preschool where my own educational journey as a child had started so many years before! I had truly come full circle and was living out her dream of teaching.
While at Cedarwood, I desired to further my learning of young children in the birth to five age range, leading me to pursue a master’s degree through The Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program in Boulder, Colorado. There, I gained insight into the Reggio Emilia philosophy and soon developed a passion for this more progressive form of education in which the curriculum is guided by the children’s interests and classroom environments are purposefully arranged to encourage deeper explorations. I learned firsthand how observation and documentation play key roles in helping children to expand their knowledge of a particular topic and would practice utilizing those strategies in a classroom setting, alongside a mentor teacher. In addition, I even got a chance to participate in a study group that took place in Reggio Emilia, Italy and witness the learning occurring in the original preschools. The creative use of rather simple materials to yield such beautiful learning spaces inspires me to this day when designing my own classroom environment.
Following the completion of her graduate program, I returned back home to New Orleans to teach at Green Trees, a progressive preschool. Throughout my time there, I continued to implement the teachings and principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy; observing and documenting the children’s learning and constantly evolving the various spaces and materials to reflect the changing needs and interests of the classroom community. I also helped to cultivate a respect and understanding for the natural world, taking the children on nature walks and bringing in natural materials (and sometimes tiny creatures) to investigate.
Now ready for a new adventure, I am thrilled to be joining Athena as one of the Assistant Teachers in the P3 class! I am excited to learn more about the Montessori method, while also bringing in my own knowledge of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. I cannot wait to explore all the endless possibilities for play and learning that the outdoor environment has to offer!
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, doing yoga, traveling to new places, listening to live music, and being outside. I especially love swimming in Barton Springs and look forward to exploring more of the natural beauty and culture of Austin!
Meghna Gopal (she/her)