“As a professional educator, as a student at Little Earth in the school’s infancy, as a parent of a now 17-year-old former Little Earth student,and as a past teacher at Little Earth, I have known the school inside and out. In many of my graduate courses in Education and Psychology at Swarthmore College and Northwestern University (using texts contributed to by Ellen Souberman!), I reflected back on the immortal teachable moments from the Bunny sandbox, in circle time, or when putting on playground puppetry, plays, or parades.

In my private practice helping children with learning disabilities to giftedness, interpreting IQ results, and helping design educational plans, I think a lot about which educational decisions across children’s 16+ years of formal education merely seem good in the moment and which have “legacy.” A Little Earth education has legacy. I still pull from early lessons I learned from “The Cactus Monster” (a prickly pear pad with toothpick legs- could you imagine a more terrifying villain?). I still attempt to carry on the same balance of academic rigor and artistic exploration. I can’t help but attribute to Little Earth the seeds of courageous curiosity about the world near and far. The very same kids that chased me down The Hill remain my longest friendships to this day.

Steven Munzenrider, a co-founder of Little Earth School and co-author of Little Earth School: Education, Discovery, Celebration,(Schoken Press, 1987) as well as the founder of a sister Little Earth school in Egypt, asked me to his home a few months before he died at much too young an age. In passing on to me stories and convictions, his last hopes and laughs, and even the legendary black tie he always wore during his Magic Shows, Steven passed on the unquenchable flame of learning and teaching. This is the stuff that Little Earth is made of.”

Dr. Jordi Kleiner
Student & Alum

When Ellen asked us to help with this year’s fundraiser, it made me think back almost 20 years ago to when our daughter (and later, son) first began at Little Earth. The images that came to mind were of happy children, feeling safe and nurtured, ready to explore the world that lay in front of them. I remembered fabulous art projects with Iren, comforting moments with Gloria, and afternoon circle with J.T. It was at circle that they learned songs like “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, “De Colores”, “Inch by Inch, Row by Row, I’m Going to Make This Garden Grow”, and “We Shall Overcome”. They learned not only the words to those songs but the meaning behind them. They were taught to care about their world and each other – lessons and a foundation that they carry with them today.

Peggy Gaustad and Stuart Ashman
Katie and Gerald Peters
Alumni Parents