I have been working with young children in London and Italy for more than 40 years. Having 4 children and 6 grandchildren of my own also helps when I am working with After school teenagers. I am largely responsible for the organization of the holidays – i.e. trips to English speaking countries.
I am the co-founder with Fabiana Mariani of FIRST STEPS.
I have been a teacher at First Steps and co-founder with Anita Taylor since 1997. I’m also a mother of two children currently attending First Steps. I’ve got a degree in Foreign Languages and two-year-specialization Master in young learners’ social development and language awareness. Ten years ago I accepted a teaching contract at the Italian Scuola Primaria di Secondo Grado which I left after nine years to go back to First Steps and work full time as a Little Class, Late Afternoon and Saturday Morning teacher. I teach kids of nearly all ages from two year olds to eighteen, all indistinctly unique individuals with a natural and spontaneous curiosity for learning. Watching a toddler painting and glueing, listening to a young child’s first sentences in English, asking questions and discovering answers with SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment) Lessons, enquiring while cooking or doing science experiments or listening to the Beatles, make the most challenging and inspiring aspects of my job!
I am Norwegian but I have been living in Italy since 1986, after graduating from Loughborough University (UK) with a BSc in Social Psychology and Computing. I have been working in the Preschool Big Class since September 2005. When First Steps children start in the Big Class they already understand and speak English very well. It is an exciting time because it is when they learn to read with Anita, so they enter a whole new world: as well as their reading books, they can read posters, signs, menus, newspaper headlines…in English and Italian. If challenged and inspired, there seems to be no limit to what children can learn at this age. I like the way our children feel confident and privileged – not only because they become bilingual, but because they are at First Steps.
Lancashire born and bred, I attended Newark Technical College, where I acheived my BHSAI in 1978, and also attended an OND in Business Studies. I then went on to work in various equestrian establishments, including RDA at Scropton in Derbyshire. I transferred to Italy in 1984, working with the Italian Young Riders Dressage team on the European circuit, including the World Championships in Stockholm in 1990. After the birth of my son in 1991, I took a TEFL course at The British Council, Milan, in 1994. I met Anita Taylor in Vedano al Lambro in the same year. When Anita set up First Steps in English in 1997, I was pleased to be asked to collaborate with her establishment in 1998. I have happily worked at First Steps since then in various roles, and am currently in the ‘Middle class’, enjoying teaching Letterland, gardening, and many other hands on activities, to 3 – 5 year olds. I also teach some adult classes and other after school groups. I have accompanied and organised school trips not only for the daytime children – mainly in the Lombardy region; but also to the UK for our older children.
Hi! I’m Aurora but everybody here at First Steps calls me Auri. I’m 34 and I got my degree in Lingue e Letterature Straniere Moderne in may 2003. I then started working at First Steps in November 2003. I spent my first eight years working as the teacher in the Little Class and I was also teaching some Doposcuola groups and the Saturday morning kids. Three years ago I became the Doposcuola teacher or, as a little girl here at First steps calls me, “the boss of the Doposcuola”!!!
I love my job because it gives me lots of satisfaction In my groups I have kids that I’ve settled in when they were only 3 years old and they now attend their first year at Scuola Superiore. I’ve seen them growing, I’ve changed their nappies, potty-trained them, I’ve taken them on holiday and prepared them for exams and now they talk to me about their first kiss…
It’s great to be part of their life and to see that they still come here with the same enthusiasm as when they were little. My other great pleasure is when kids who came here with no English at all start understanding, speaking and, most of all, loving this language! When they say spontaneously their first sentences in English, they stop for a moment and look at me as if something strange has happened and they say: “but I’ve said it in English!” and they’re so proud of themselves!
Eugenia “Jeannie” Stokowski-Bisanti
I am one of the teachers responsible for the “Big Guys” and a witness to the passion that the First Steps staff has for teaching its students to learn and love English the way that we do. I was born and raised in the United States, the country with the highest population of native English speakers. I was formally educated in both the U.S. and the Philippines (the country with the sixth highest population of English speakers). I have experience working with children of all ages and levels and children with special needs.
At sixteen I was a foreign student in USA and got my Senior High School Diploma. Then a Degree in Philosophy. I worked lots of years for multinational companies in Milan (in marketing and management), then married and had 2 children who have been coming back to First Steps for their English until they were teens. We live with cats and dogs and we all love children. Here at First Steps, besides being in the office , doing administrative work, book keeping and general organization, dispense ice packs for little bumps, biscuits for smiles and last minute remedies for everything. If you parents or your kids need anything, I will do my best to be of help.
A native Scot, my name is Christine Toman and I have lived in Monza, Italy for nearly 20 years. My career, working with small children started in 1990 in one of the first English speaking schools in the centre of Milan. After working there for 15 years I then took maternity leave to care for, and bring up the first of my own two children. On my return to work I worked at the International school of Milan, Monza section for 5 years. Since 2011 I have been happily working here at First Steps. My favourite classroom activities are art creativity work such as finger painting, painting, glueing and anything as “MESSY” as possible!! To the joy of all you wonderful parents.
I am an innovative and enthusiastic teacher with 13 years experience in teaching children, young adults and pensioners in Italy. I studied Business Studies with French and after I acquired a CELTA for teaching English as a second language, I started my journey Into the curious world of teaching. My achievements in the Arts include the LAMDA Bronze Medal for Speech and Drama while I was at boarding school in England and Grade V in Practical and Theory for the piano from ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal School of Music).
I have taught English, Music, Science, and Art to young learners through innovative ways (e.g. CLIL) and I enjoy guiding my students during lessons and engaging collaborative and cooperative learning through various activities in the classroom. I believe that every child matters and can excel with guidance and encouragement in their chosen field. I aim to create a fun and positive learning environment during the music lessons and I believe that variety is the key to creating interesting and stimulating lessons by incorporating a range of interactive resources and mediums. Apart from teaching children, I also love reading, cooking, traveling to Ipoh in Malaysia for the great food and watching films.
I crossed First Steps threshold in October 1998 and I’m still here. First as enthusiastic mum (my sons are still attending the afternoon classes), then as a helper for small craftworks and now as a member of staff, I feel as part of an exciting educational project.
I love to dance more than anything else and I try to convey my passion to children with music and movement moments. Together we take every opportunity to listen to music and start dancing to the beat. For this project I definitely put my law degree in the drawer, and I’m very happy about that.
Vivien “Viv” Phillips
I am a mother of 3 children, all of whom attended and continue to enjoy First Steps (post school groups). In 1990 I studied at San Diego State University. In 2001 I got married in San Diego where I lived permanently from 2001 to 2007. I am the tennis coach at First Steps. I currently play tennis at CSA Agrate, and I am a member of both La Jolla Tennis Club and The Summit Club in San Diego. I enjoy every opportunity I have spending time at First Steps with the Little and Middle Guys as well as the Big Guys, where I am continually surprised at how Italian children can learn to speak and understand English at an impressive rate while gaining a multicultural education that will help them in the future.
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