All of our talented and nurturing teachers work closely together in a close-knit, familial team. Our shared vision has evolved as we learn through experiment and observation. As teachers in a child-centered program, we create an environment to inspire the children, and we watch, learn, and offer invitations. We bring in new materials and experiences based on what we see, and we sit with the children and share their learning and document their activities to help store their memories and stories. We provide them with our grown-up resources when needed, offering them materials, skills, comfort, or words to voice their needs and emotions. We value creative, nurturing teachers who know how to laugh and to listen.
Thank you for your interest in Wee Works. I am the owner and Executive Director, Pat van der Werf. Wee Works opened on the corner of 40th and Tillamook in 1992. In 2004 we moved to the old Hollywood Library building where we are licensed by the Early Learning Division for 45 children. My background is in early childhood education. I started my career in 1970, working as a preschool aide. Wee Works has had the privilege of caring for many children in the N.E. Portland area, some of whom have eventually become employees or satisfy their community service hours at Wee Works. I am proud of the program and environment our teachers have created and look forward to arranging a tour for your family.
My name is Katie Dorow and I am the Director at Wee Works. I began working here in the Fall of 2002 as a lead teacher, and became director in 2015. I feel very lucky to be a part of developing our preschool program over the years, and find myself newly engaged each year with creating a safe, creative, warm, and stimulating environment for children to thrive in.
I am originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and I graduated from Michigan State University with majors in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education in 2000. After graduating, I moved to beautiful Portland with my husband, Eric. We now have two daughters, Ada, who was born in 2006, and Una, who was born in 2009.
I feel very passionate about early childhood education and excited to be a part of the movement to create environments that value play. I am so grateful to share in the many discoveries, challenges, and triumphs that are happening everyday in children's lives.
My name is Rebecca Albright and I am the Head Teacher of the Swift classroom and also the Curriculum Coordinator at Wee Works. I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved to Portland in 2000. I have been working with young children for most of my life, first through babysitting jobs in high school then at a child development center while pursuing my undergraduate degree at Penn State.
I enjoy supporting children as they make new discoveries about their world and as they navigate social interactions within our community. I feel honored to be invited into their world and see my role as co-learner alongside them. Most of my experience is in Reggio inspired early childhood classrooms and I'm excited to be a part of Wee Works.
My husband and I are the proud parents of two amazing children, Daisy and Charlie. Daisy was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at 7 weeks old and has taught me many life lessons along our journey together. She love music, dancing, and dogs. Charlie attends Wee Works and is excited to be at school. He loves running, Star Wars, and his big sister. We love to be together as a family and take walks in the woods or play with our dog Olive. In my free time I enjoy quilting, gardening and reading. I hope to share these skills with the Swift children!
My name is Hannah Hinsz and I am very happy to be a part of the amazing group of teachers here at Wee Works as the Lead Teacher of the Starlings. I have been acquainted with Wee Works since 2007 when one of the children I nannied attended. I loved the welcoming staff and appreciated the provocations provided for the children to explore. When I had children and they were old enough I was grateful there was space for them to experience the warm and loving atmosphere, variety of artistic and exploratory experiences and careful consideration of a child's social emotional development that is available at Wee Works.
I have worked with children from birth to school age for the past 20 years. I started as an aide when I was attending Mt. Hood Community college pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Since then I have worked with both private preschools and Head Start programs with migrant and other previously underserved populations. During this time, I went back t school, this time at Warner Pacific College to complete a Bachelors Degree in Human Development. Most recently I have completed a Master in the Art of Teaching and Reading Intervention Specialist Certificate Program with Concordia University.
In addition to being a teacher I have two darling girls. Shelby is ten and Eleanor is four. Eleanor has been a member of the Starling classroom for the past year. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 20 years. We both were born and raised in North Portland and are lucky enough to have a large extended family. We have two vintage broncos that we take to an event in Florence, Oregon once a year to drive the dunes and enjoy camping. We feel we are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
I feel that early childhood is a precious period of time when children are learning and exploring their world. I believe that as a preschool teacher I am able to support students develop their understanding of the world around them in a meaningful way. I am looking forward to helping design provocations and documenting your children's experiences to share with families.