Posted in Ongoing Journey

Tech Updates

In addition to getting updates from the blog, there are a few new ways to keep updated.

  • Follow the blog on Twitter – The Twitter name is tohighchairs
  • Become a fan on Facebook – The fanpage name is From Hedge Funds to High Chairs
  • There is now a webpage – – This page currently re-directs visitors to this blog.  In the future, the site will house  information.
Posted in Must Have Monday

The Perfect (Educational) Gifts for your kids – finding them and ‘gift-listing’ them.

I am often asked by parents where to look for quality (educational) gifts for  their children.  Parents today are faced with hundreds if not thousands of choices when it comes to purchasing toys, books, dvds and video games for their children.  Walk down an aisle in Target or BabysRUs or any store for that matter and you will see the extent of the options.  In addition, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, friends and your children’s peers ask you for wish lists around birthday and holiday time. 

Today, we will address these two topics:  where can parents find information on quality products for children and how can parents’gift-list’ them for those that would like to buy their children a present?


In doing product research, I found the Parents Choice Award.  This award is given by The Parents’ Choice Foundation. “It is the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality toys and media.”  “The Foundation’s purpose is to search out and recommend products that help kids grow – imaginatively, physically, morally and mentally—fairly priced products that are fun, safe and socially sound.”  The group has given these awards in the following categories:  audio, book, dvd, magazine, software, television, toy, video game and website.  The foundations principles include: children deserve material to sharpen young minds not blunt them, children learn most easily when they enjoy it, knowledge gives parents confidence to teach their children.  Parents can access the website for the Parents’ Choice awards here  The website is a great resource and provides guides for parents, adventures in your area news and recalls plus information on reading, learning and play.

So now that you have identified some great gifts, where do you store the information and share it?  Amazon is a great place to search for the toys.  Amazon now has a great feature called Universal Wish List.  It allows the user to find items on ANY website and then add it to their Amazon Wish List.  Therefore, all the great toys you find on the Parents’ Choice website or else where can be stored on one personalized list and shared easily with Grandparents and friends. Instructions are listed here

Universal Wish List

Happy Shopping and Enjoy Playtime!

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Ongoing Journey

The First Steps in My Transition – Career Change From Finance to Early Childhood Education

The prospect of going from a financial role to the ribbon cutting at my own Nursery School is thrilling and daunting.  I am of the ‘immediate gratification generation’ and so of course I would like this done yesterday.  Despite my impatience, I have tried to be as thorough and strategic as possible while diving head first into the world of early childhood education.

For the record, I have captured some of my early steps as I begin the shift. 

The idea of opening my Nursery School is a discussion that I have been having for years.  Many of my friends and family were aware of my long-term intentions.  As the time is now, I have reached out further into my circle of friends, acquaintances and my network to discuss my ideas.  The amount of ideas, contacts and opportunity that is available in our very own circles will never cease to amaze me.  I will discuss some of these connections as well as my first steps. 

1.) Telling the World – At the point the decision was made I began reaching out to my network.  The excitement, ideas and contacts that came from these conversations were invaluable.  It is also a strategy to now have ‘the world’ holding me accountable.

2.)  Reaching out to my professors from undergrad university – I attended West Virginia University and received an undergraduate degree in Child Development Family Studies (  During that time my practicum course was spent at the WVU Nursery School.  I reached out to my professor (13 years later) to speak about my intentions and ask for guidance from someone running a succesful school.  We discussed joining the National Association for the Education of Young Children or NAEYC ( for network and up to date research.  She spoke about changes in state policies to look for including state sponsored nursery school and we discussed which degree would best prepare me for the road ahead. 

3.)  Signing up for the NAEYC – This organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children ( is the largest organization in the world working on behalf of young children.  There is a focus on development and education.  Through the organization I have started receiving periodicals including ‘Young Children’ and ‘Early Childhood Research Quarterly.’  In addition, I was able to purchase books in areas I need to strengthen my knowledge including the ‘Handbook for Early Childhood Administrators,’ ‘Reachind Standards and Beyond in Kindergarten,’ ‘Managing Money – A Center Director’s Guidebook’ and ‘Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves.”

4.)  Looking at Schools in NYC – I have looked at programs online periodically for years.  I have since attended information sessions for the Early Childhood Education program at the Steinhart School at NYU, the information session and tour at Bank Street College ( and met with an advisor at Hunter College.  I am most excited by the program at Bank Street and am eager to apply.

5.) Talking with current students and former students – In doing research on the schools and discussing it with my network, I discovered I knew or my friends knew many people who attended these programs.  I was able to meet with these individuals to speak about their experience at school, likes and dislikes, quality of the programs and what to expect.  I met with former and current graduates of Bank Street College at Little Sisters in Harlem.  I met with a former grad of Bank Street College that is now an assistant Vice Principal.  I spoke with a friend of mine who was a former graduate of the NYU program.  I also discussed the schools and their reputations with board contacts of mine from Children of Bellevue within Bellevue Hospital and NYU Hospital.  Since it has been 13 years since I was in school these discussions were helpful on so many levels for me.

6.) Visiting Nursery School – During out honeymoon, we met a couple from NYC.  We have become friends back in NYC as well.  She is a head teacher at a Montessori School.  She invited me to observe her class.  This was one of the best things I did.  I left with such excitement for what lies ahead I had tears in my eyes.  It was great to see a current program, how the day is run, what is available to the children and what parents expect from a quality program.

7.) Working with a business coach – Throughout my career, I have been a big believer in continuing my education.  I have taken business practice management courses such as Strategic Coach and Mission Control.  I am continuing a monthly call with a Mission Control Coach, Todd Benton (  It is a great source of knowledge, business practice skills, cross-pollination of ideas from other industries and a forum to hold me accountable.

8.) Business Lunch – A friend of mine, successful in her first career is in the midst of a similar change, the transition from one career to something completely different.  We have committed to a monthly lunch to keep each other posted, to share ideas and again to hold each other accountable.  Our first commitment is to write first drafts of business plans, for her to think about writing a blog and for me to complete my Grad School application.

9.) Social Networking – This is the way of the world!  People are extremely tech savvy and get information from the web.  I worked with my research dept (Dad) to set up a webpage through  ( and a blog utilizing ( It has been a great outlet for my ideas, for the research I come across and a way to communicate with parents of young children before my school is open.

10.) Ongoing Research for myself and for my writing – As I mentioned earlier I now receive periodicals, have ordered books and am constantly reviewing research online.  Once I apply, get accepted and start class, I will be refreshing my knowledge, learning more and doing observation and research. 

11.) Apply to the school of my choice  – I need to sit down and write my application!!!!

This list is bound to grow and change and as it does I will continue to keep you updated!  Perhaps, when complete, this can serve as a map or guide to others that stand before the long and exciting road to their dreams.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Child Development

Age Appropriate Guide to Play

Playing is an important part of your child’s life.  Play can help with the development of relationships, language, creativity, physical development, thinking and social skills.  The following guide from TRUCE discusses age appropriate practices for playing as well as toys to avoid for infants and toddlers.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Ongoing Journey

Where the journey began – significant experiences that impacted my desire to go into the field of education

As a little girl, my father always told me “you can be anything you want to be.” Of course this was followed by “you just have to work hard at it.” His point was for me to understand that I was capable. I realized in young adulthood what a profound impact those words, his belief in me and a mind open to the possibility of anything, had on my success.  In 1996, I graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Child Development Family Studies; in 2007 I found myself being promoted from Senior Vice President to Principal at a Hedge Fund in New York City. 

Following college I dove head first into a financial career. On paper I didn’t look like the other candidates however I was armed with “I can be anything I want.”  I feel so fortunate to have had the support, the confidence that was placed in me and the basic behaviors set to get to this point.  As I move through life and meet children, I wish I could give the same wisdom to each of them.  Each child represents to me a bundle of possibility, opportunity and hope.  This drive to share this, among other things,  kept my desire to open a Nursery School burning thru a 13 year financial career. 

The desire was further reignited following Sept 11th, 2001.  That morning I sat at my desk on the 34th floor of the  South Tower of the World Trade Center.  I am here today with the somber knowledge that life is finite, that everything can change – forever, in one moment.  I have always known I was here with a purpose; that purpose being to show children the possibilities that lie ahead, to teach them to love the world and the people in it, as well as art, culture, and education.  I was faced with the fact that tomorrow may never come and the understanding that I must fulfill my dreams now not later.  I also realized that the type of hate and hopelessness that caused the Sept 11th attacks is difficult to mend in adults.  However, teaching children to love and respect themselves and others, to appreciate our differences and our similarities,  teaching them to “be the change they want in the world” and making sure they understand they can capture the opportunities in the world became ever so much more important to me.  I have always been taught and have always strongly fought against bigotry and racism.  At the very least, by prejudging we are missing out on what is really there in the other person. At the very most we are creating a situation filled with hatred which could lead us back down an awful path. 

 These points, in addition to my entrepreneurial spirit, have been the driving force behind my desire to open a Nursery School. 

As part of this desire, I have tried to stay involved.  I am currently a Board Member for the Children of Bellevue Program at Bellevue Hospital (  It has been a way for me to utilize my free time and resources to positively impact the  lives of children.  My involvement has given me a little access to child development conversations which fascinate me.  Once I chose my major at WVU and began Child Development classes I felt they were built for me!  I absolutely loved the subject matter, learning and understanding children and putting the knowledge to work in the WVU Nursery School as part of my practicum.

Looking back in my life, I have always been ‘good with kids.’  At 3 years old, I started going to camp.  Being a camper grew into being a counselor which I continued until I left for college.  I loved it.  I can remember playing with a little girl on a family vacation in the Poconos and my father commenting on what a good job I did.  I think that was the moment I realized it was something I was great at!  I also have always approached the world with a child-like wonder myself.  I experience new things with excitement.  How wonderful to always be with a group so enthusiastic about even the smallest of things.

Coming from a world in which typically both parents work, commute and search for moments in the day to spend with their children I wanted to make my nursery school a family center.  It would be a center in which parents have the ability to spend those extra moments with their kids before running off to the next task.  My ability to read my audience and to simplify difficult concepts worked well in the world of finance and equally as well amongst a room full of children.  I love presenting.  It is a skill I will carry forward by holding parental presentations on topics such as saving for college, child development etc. 

Since I took a detour, I feel I need to go back to school to refresh my knowledge, to understand what has changed since I left and to formulate a business plan for the future.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Ongoing Journey

From Hedge Funds to High Chairs – The beginning of my journey

Welcome to my blog.  The purpose of my writing is to document my journey from the world of finance to the world of early childhood education.  I have spent the last 13 years in various roles within the financial industry in NYC.  My undergraduate degree is in Child Development Family Studies from West Virginia University.  My ultimate dream is to open up my own Nursery School.   I will utilize this format to keep you posted on my progress and share what I learn along the way.

Please feel free to post comments and questions.  I am happy to share my knowledge as I build it and my resources.

© 2010  All rights reserved.