Heather Jackson, RECE | Executive Director
Heather Jackson, ECE from Humber College with over 30 years of experience in the field of early childhood education. She has worked for the City of Scarborough in their workplace child care centre: Squirrels Nest/Orchard Grove Parent Cooperative in Scarborough/ Metro Toronto Children’s Services and then for the past ten years she was the Executive Director of Milton Community Resource Centre. She has also been part of seven child care centres opening in Ontario over the past 20 years.
In 2005, she was very fortunate to attend a study tour for early childhood educators in Reggio Emilia Italy where she learned about the Reggio inspired curriculum. Since then she has attended various conferences and travelled all over North America to visit schools who were working in the Reggio inspired curriculum. She also facilitates workshops for early childhood educators in the community. She is also very proud to be part of the Acorn Collaborative. They are four early childhood educators who have come together on the Reggio Emila study tour and now put on annual conferences for educators on various topics including the Reggio inspired approach to early childhood education.
Heather is the Executive Director of The Sunflower School. Her passion is early childhood education with a difference. The school will be unique in that the teachers will observe and document your child’s interests and development and these interests will be reflected in the research projects that they work on in the classrooms. The children will be engaged in interesting art projects like weaving, sewing and claywork. Our teachers will research projects together with the children. The children will set out on a journey of discovery in all of the research they will work on. Our community is also very important to our school. Who lives in our community and what are all of the great resources they can discover together as a school. Heather provides professional development workshops and study tours through The Sunflower School for early childhood educators who are interested in expanding their practice – click to learn more about Professional Development.
Sarah Sayffi, RECE | Director
Sarah Sayffi has been with The Sunflower School since they opened its’ doors in the summer of 2009. Sarah has been in the Supervisor role at The Sunflower School Lawrence location for the past 4 years, and has worked in the Toddler, Preschool and School Age programs. Sarah is excited to be moving into the Director role at TSS’s new Townline location in the Fall of 2016.
Sarah holds an Early Childhood Education Diploma, and has 10 years’ experience in the Early Childhood Education field. Sarah is passionate about the Reggio Emilia Approach that we use at The Sunflower School. She visited Italy in 2011 to do a study group in the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Sarah was most inspired by the sense of community that you experience in the schools and in the small town of Reggio. She hopes to instill that sense of community with our families at The Sunflower School, and believes that family involvement is one of the most important aspects of the Reggio inspired curriculum.
Sarah has participated in many professional development experiences around the world. Her love for Early Childhood Education through the Reggio Approach has taken her to Italy, N.Y.C., Portland, Boston and all over Ontario. She believes you must continuously expand your knowledge in your field, and pushes her staff to do the same! Sarah has also spoken and ran a workshop at The Sunflower’s Schools’ two Conferences – The Mystery of Materials and A Celebration of Intelligent Materials. Sarah is grateful for the relationships that have developed with the children, families and her fellow team members at The Sunflower School over the past 7 years. She looks forward to helping The Sunflower School grow and develop in the years to come!
Rachel Donatelli, Finance and Administration Director
Rachel Donatelli, is a Graphic Designer from Humber College. Rachel is the Finance and Administration Director for The Sunflower School. Her superior planning skills will ensure your enrolment is both efficient and professional.
Jackie Henry, RECE | Supervisor
Curious and appreciative of early childhood and its reflection of the “whole” child, Jackie Henry’s journey to The Sunflower School began in 2010 as an administrator for an after-school tutoring program. The relationships developed with the children and their families sparked the motivation to return to school herself, and study Early Childhood Education at Fanshawe College.
With the introduction of many teaching philosophies throughout her tenure at Fanshawe, the essence of Reggio-Emelia inspired curriculum resonated with Jackie, which led her to beginning her career in Hamilton, ON after graduation. Jackie then returned to her hometown of Orangeville, ON to begin her journey with The Sunflower School, to which the connection to and relationship with the Reggio community is prevalent and thriving. Jackie began working with the School Age program, and has since had the experience of being engaged in the Toddler and Preschool programs, as well as participating in extensive Professional Development opportunities surrounding Early Childhood Education.
Jackie and her husband welcomed their son Cooper into the world along this journey and are thrilled that The Sunflower School has embraced her whole family from the very beginning!