Alex Wolf | Dr. Vijal Parikh

Alex Wolf

Alex Wolf had a playful childhood and a bang-up education at Exeter, RISD and abroad. Alex used her RISD training and her experience as a mom to establish Na2ureand provide children tools to express creatively through space, form, pattern and motion.

Dr. Vijal Parikh

Na2ure co-founder Dr. Vijal Parikh is fascinated by the brain and how we learn. As a consulting psychiatrist for ThriveNYC, he provides care at multiple primary clinics. His work confirms the need for effective, creative learning tools that engage learners young and old.

Alex and Vijal discussed their work in a recent Path to Learning podcast.

Bradford Hansen-Smith

Bradford Hansen-Smith Author and sculptor Bradford Hansen-Smith has developed Wholemovement, an extensive system for teaching geometry through the folding of paper circles. Froebel pioneered the use of paperfolding as an educational activity, and Bradford has dramatically expanded the scope/depth of this tradition. Combining the process of observation and reflection with folding paper circles is a powerful way to engage the whole child (of any age).

Cathy Weisman Topal

Cathy TopalA visual arts educator at preschool through college levels for over 30 years, Cathy Topal is Professor Emerita of Arts Education in the Dept. of Education and Child Study at Smith College. Her work is influenced by Froebel. Author of Thinking with a Line and other books for Davis Art including Explorations in Art: Kindergarten (2008), Beautiful Stuff (1999), Children & Painting (1992), Children, Clay & Sculpture (1983), Cathy has just co-authored a new Davis book with Lella Gandini, entitled Beautiful Stuff from Nature.

Eleanor Duckworth

Eleanor Duckworth

A former student and translator of Jean Piaget, Eleanor Duckworth grounds her work in Piaget and Inhelder's insights into the nature and development of understanding and in their research method, which she has developed as a teaching/research approach, Critical Exploration in the Classroom. She seeks to bring a Freirean approach to any classroom, valuing the learners' experience and insights. Her interest is in the experiences of teaching and learning of people of all ages, both in and out of schools. Duckworth is a former elementary school teacher and has worked in curriculum development, teacher education, and program evaluation in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and her native Canada. She is a coordinator for Cambridge United for Justice with Peace, and is a performing modern dancer.

Helge Wasmuth

Helge Wasmuth

Helge Wasmuth is Associate Professor of Early Childhood and Childhood Education at Mercy College in New York and author of Fröbel’s Pedagogy of Kindergarten and Play: Modifications in Germany and the United States [Routledge, 2020]. Previously, he has taught kindergarten teachers in Germany and Switzerland. He has also written Kindertageseinrichtungen als Bildungseinrichtungen. Zur Bedeutung von Bildung und Erziehung in der Geschichte der öffentlichen Kleinkinderziehung in Deutschland bis 1945 (Day Care Centers as Institutions of Education – The Meaning of Education and Edification in the History of Early Childhood Education in Germany until 1945). Among his research interests are early education policy, as well as the history of, and postmodern perspectives on, early childhood education. He is a founding member of the international research network Cultures of Early Childhood Education (CECEC).

John Reynolds, MArch

John Reynolds

Professor of Architecture at Miami University in Oxford, OH, John Reynolds employs Froebel Gifts in his design studios to explore new possibilities for sustainable design and organic architecture initially made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright. John has been intimately involved with planning, architectural design, site development and programming at Fallingwater, including a new visitor center in development with Architect Peter Bohlin at the Wescott House in Springfield, OH

Julie Bennett

Julie Bennett

Julie Bennett, M.Ed. has taught for over 25 years in private/public schools. Introduced to Froebel® in 2002, she sat on the original board of the Froebel Foundation USA. Stepping away from the board in 2004 for job and family obligations, Julie never lost sight of the pure sense of Froebelian teaching. Julie delivers a yearly lecture on Froebel to university education students. She'll lead several Gift plays during our event.

Lella Gandini

Lella Gandini

The world renown educator Lella Gandini, Ph.D, serves as the Reggio Children’s United States Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia approach. Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Visiting Scholar at Lesley University (2007–2009). From her arrival in America in 1972, through her tenure at Smith College (2008 recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Alumnae) and currently, she has been a tireless champion of young children. Lella has co-authored numerous books, including The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach, Beautiful Stuff!: Learning with Found Materials and the recently released Beautiful Stuff from Nature.with Cathy Topal.

Lynn McNair

Lynn McNair

Dr. Lynn McNair is Head of Cowgate Under Fives Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Watch video on her work here: and (password for both is "Froebel"). An award-winning author, Lynn has more than 30 years experience working in Early Years Education and was awarded an OBE for services to Early Education in 2009. She is a trained Froebelian, attaining her certificate at the Froebel Institute, Roehampton University, London, UK. The title of her presentation is "Vivid Life and Learning: Rendering through Lived Stories."

Norman Brosterman

Norman Brosterman

Author/sculptor Norman Brosterman is the foremost collector of Froebel Kindergarten material and ephemera. A portion was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, with the balance has been donated to a different institution to be announced in the next year. His 1997 book Inventing Kindergarten sparked renewed interest in Froebel, and brought attention to the Kindergarten's impact on art history.

Norman's interview for the Garden of Children documentary series was recently featured on the Path to Learning podcast.

Scott Bultman

Scott BultmanAuthor, toymaker, and host of this year's conference, Scott Bultman has promoted the original Froebel Kindergarten method internationally since 1997, producing the upcoming documentary series, Garden of Children.

The son of an early childhood educator (his mother was principal of a local child development center) and a toymaker (his father Bill founded Uncle Goose Toys), Scott's Froebel activity carries on both parents' work. He also produces Kaleidograph design toys with Norman Brosterman and champions many other "orphaned" toys and games from the past.

Stacey Wellman, Ph.D

Stacey Wellman of The Greeley School

Stacey Wellman, MA, CCC-SLP, LD is a Speech/Language Pathologist at the Greeley School of Winnetka, IL. Stacey has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University, including a bachelors of science degree from the School of Speech, a masters degree in speech/language pathology and audiology, a masters degree in learning disabilities, as well as earning a reading certificate. She has received advanced training from the All Kinds of Minds Institute at North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the Floor Time Method developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan, RAD Learning pioneered by Judy Willis, MD, MEd, as well as extensive coursework in occupational therapy, neurodevelopmental training, environmental education, community stewardship, and ecotherapy. Stacey has worked in the public schools for 23 years with children from age 3 to 14. Outside of the public school, she works with high school and college level students on organization and integrated thinking and learning strategies. In addition, she runs a Roots and Shoots program and travels internationally with students, believing that learning must extend beyond the classroom and into nature.

Tiffeni Goesel

Tiffeni GoeselTiffeni Goesel studied architecture and historic preservation (working for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation). She's a certified Waldorf grades teacher, with a B.A. in Education and M.A. in History of Education. Tiffeni developed her playful approach with children through experience a nanny and classroom/homeschool teacher. She authored the 2018 book How Lina Learned to Write and Read According to Friedrich Froebel from her deep research of the writings of Friedrich Froebel. Tiffeni makes frequent trips to Germany and has conducted classes on the Froebel method internationally since 2006.