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Deborah Falasco

has owned and operated a family child care program, worked with preschoolers with special needs, and is currently the lead teacher for the two- and three-year-old program at Wimpfheimer Nursery School, the laboratory school at Vassar College. She holds a graduate certificate as an infant/toddler specialist and a master's degree in human development with a specialization in infants, toddlers, and their families. Deborah has given several workshop presentations on topics related to teaching toddlers, twos, and three-year-olds.

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Teaching Twos and Threes: A Comprehensive CurriculumDeborah Falasco is passionate about her work with two- and three-year-olds, and her enthusiasm is reflected on every page of her new book. Teaching Twos and Threes: A Comprehensive Curriculum is filled with strategies to plan a developmentally appropriate program and build positive relationships with young children. It’s also packed with colorful photographs and creative activity ideas to support young children’s learning in all areas. In this month’s Author Spotlight, you’ll learn about Deborah and the reasons she finds such joy in working with twos and threes.

Tell us a bit about your new book, Teaching Twos and Threes: A Comprehensive Curriculum. What inspired you to write about this age group?
I wanted to share the joy of working with this magnificent age group with other teachers and providers. I have been working with twos and threes for many years, and they continue to amaze, delight, and intrigue me! There are so many pivotal moments of learning and development, and being a part of that critical time in a child’s life is incredible.

Photographs were an important part of the book. I love to see children’s expressions, and these photographs capture the in-the-moment process discoveries that I really wanted to share with readers. I feel like my photos speak volumes. Redleaf was incredible in respecting my vision and including them in Teaching Twos and Threes—there are about 300 colorful photographs throughout the book!
Were there any challenges or surprises that came with writing it?
Redleaf has been amazing during the process of writing the book. My biggest challenge was trying to write while working full-time and managing life’s unexpected surprises—like Hurricane Irene’s devastation.

Give us a brief timeline of your work experience. Did you always know you wanted to work with two- and three-year-olds?
I have been working with young children all of my life—literally! My early adult years were spent running a family child care program from my home as I raised my own children. From there, I went to work in a special needs preschool, which was a phenomenal experience. Then, I moved on to Vassar College, where I have been teaching for 12 years this school year.

I loved running a family child care program and working with a multi-age range group. That experience will always have a very special place in my heart. But when I entered the toddler (now called twos and threes) classroom, I knew that I was in the right place. I began to tailor my graduate studies around the zero-to-three age group and working with their families. There is something so magical about this age group. It comes with challenges, but the pleasures far outweigh those moments.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned when it comes to caring for young children and working with their families?
The biggest lessons were learning to put children and families first and understanding the difference I can make in their lives. I also learned that listening to what children and their families are saying and recognizing their needs is incredibly important—even if you do not always agree. There is a joyful and gratifying element to working with and educating families. I truly believe that my start in family child care is where I began to value the important of the connections and relationships with children and families. The reason being: you work with the a family for several years, often with more than one child. A good relationship is key.
What is your favorite thing about working with twos and threes? Do you have any standout memories with the age group that have stuck with you and shaped the way you teach?
My favorite piece of being a part of this amazing stage in each young child’s life is knowing that I have made an impact, if just for a moment—or perhaps forever. I have many memories that stand out, many that I hold dear to my heart. The intimate relationships formed with children and families have helped shape the way I teach and guide, and it’s a gift that teaches me more than anything else.
Do you have any tips for caregivers and educators as they work with this age group?
My tips are to be respectful, loving, and kind to children and their families. Parents—particularly first time parents—need a lot of guidance during this stage, and as an early childhood professional, you can be a positive role model.

I also think being reflective to what you are teaching—and why you are teaching in a particular way—should always be carefully evaluated.

Finally, never stop learning and growing yourself.

(Psst! I share 17 pieces of advice in the back of the book, each with beautiful faces attached!)
It’s obvious you are very dedicated to your career and the children in your classroom. Tell us about your non-work life.
My family is priority to me. I love seeing my (now grown) children as often as I can. I am delighted that Jennifer, my oldest, has been in the child care field for several years now. Brian has developed my determination and good work ethics. He was my sole inspiration to understanding active little boys! And Katrina, who loves the littlest ones, is soon to deliver my first grandchild! This year I celebrate my thirtieth anniversary with my husband, Jeff.

I love to spend time home in my yard where we have created our own private retreat. Time spent with my children and our families is what I consider to be the best moments. I also love photography and gardening.