Teachers & Staff - Woodridge South KinderCare in Woodridge, IL | KinderCare
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Woodridge South KinderCare

Bridget Van Gelder, Center Director
7450 N. Woodward Ave., Woodridge, IL 60517

  • Ph: (630) 852-4485
  • Open: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, M-F
  • Fax: (630) 852-0966
  • Ages: 6 Weeks to 12 Year-Olds

Teachers & Staff

The KinderCare Learning Center here at Woodridge South provides each and every program from infancy through school age with highly experienced teachers. We carefully select our team and provide you with teachers that are educated, passionate, creative and value the art of education.

Bridget Van Gelder, Center Director

Bio:

Ms. Bridget has been with KinderCare Learning Center for 17 years. She has focused most of her work in the northwest and western suburbs where she has a strong reputation for leading her team in the right direction. Her effective management style helps her teachers bring the curriculum to life. She runs an impressive Learning Adventures program on top of her successful curriculum.

Previous Experience:

KinderCare has been Bridget's one and only job her entire life. She was a discovery preschool teacher for several years then she became an assistant director and has currently been a director since 2007

Quote:

"I am passionate about early childhood education because I enjoy the day to day joy of watching children learn and grow."

  • Year Started: 6/1/1996
  • Tenure: 17 Years
  • Years in ECE Industry: 17 Years
  • Education:

    Early Childhood Education Credential

Bernadette Winkelman, Assistant Director

Bio:

Ms. Berandette lives in Alsip with her fiance and her puppy Benny. She loves watching sports and spending time with her family, especially her nieces and nephew.  Working with children has always been her passion and finding exciting ways to teach simple things in a new and exciting way.

Previous Experience:

Before becoming the Center Director, Ms. Bernadette was previously a director for a family owned daycare for four years before becoming a teacher in our Discovery Preschool Classroom, then she became the Assistant Center Director in 2013.

Quote:

“The joy on the children’s face when they accomplish something for the first time is one of the most precious sights on earth.  I love working with children because it’s always something different each day.”

  • Year Started: 5/10/2012
  • Tenure: 1 Year
  • Years in ECE Industry: 9 Years
  • Education:

    Associates Degree In Applied Science- Child Care

Ms. Allison, Nursery

Bio:

Ms. Allison has an older brother and eleven younger cousins.  Before coming to KinderCare, Ms. Allison worked at an after school program and as a substitute for two years at a preschool. In her spare time she likes to hangout with her friends and family. She also enjoys watching lots of movies and reading lots of books.

Previous Experience:

Before becoming the Infant Classroom teacher at KinderCare, Ms. Allison worked as a toddler school substitute and with the Kidz Squad after school program. She also worked at First Step Preschool.

Quote:

“I love walking into work and being able to put a smile on the children’s faces.”

  • Year Started: 11/1/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 3 Years
  • Education:

    High School Diploma

Ms. Megan, Nursery

Bio:

Since starting at the KinderCare in 2010 Ms. Megan has been the Infant Classroom teacher.  She also spent some time in the Toddler Classroom and Discovery Preschool Classroom.

Previous Experience:

Before coming to KinderCare, Ms. Megan was a nanny for a pair of one year old twins.

Quote:

"To teach is to inspire."

  • Year Started: 11/1/2010
  • Tenure: 3 Years
  • Years in ECE Industry: 3 Years
  • Education:

    Some college

  • Other Languages Spoken:

    Polish

Ms. Samanthalee, Nursery

Bio:

Samanthalee graduated from the College of Dupage with an Associates in Applied Arts. She has two years of experience working with children ranging from three months to twelve years old.  She is the oldest of five children and recently just had her first child.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family.

Previous Experience:

Before coming to be an Infant Classroom Teacher at KinderCare, Ms. Samanthalee was a Preschool teacher, worked with the Kidz Squad after school program and was a nanny.

Quote:

"Our children are our future."

  • Year Started: 9/1/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 2 Years
  • Education:

    Associates in Applied Arts

  • Other Languages Spoken:

    Greek

Ms. Theresa, Discovery Preschool Classroom

Bio:

Ms. Theresa was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, and attended Richard J. Daley College to pursue her education.  In May of 2013 she graduated with her Associates in Early Childhood Education and is now a teacher in our Discovery Preschool Classroom.

Previous Experience:

Before joining KinderCare, Theresa was a two year old teacher at a family owned daycare in the city and was also a floater at a privately owned daycare in the suburbs.

Quote:

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn”.

  • Year Started: 9/20/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 4
  • Education:

    Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education

Ms. Diane, Early Foundations Toddlers

Bio:

Ms. Diane has been with KinderCare Learning Center since 1985. She has worked with children from ages infant all the way up to school age. Ms. Diane loves teaching because she enjoys the love and joy the children return to her every day she walks into the classroom. She is passionate about early childhood education. Ms. Diane holds her Child Development Associate Credential from a certified accredited KinderCare program.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Diane has worked with children from school age to infants and is now a teacher in our toddler room.

Quote:

“A child’s hug is like gold.”

  • Years in ECE Industry: 29 Years
  • Education:

    Child Development Associate Credential and Some College

Ms. Jeanett, Early Foundations Toddlers

Bio:

Ms. Jeanett is the mother of three children who are her life and a part of the KinderCare family as well.  She loves to sing, dance, and spend time with her family.  One thing she loves about work is that no matter how tired she is the reward of the children running up to her and giving her a hug and a smile take all her tiredness away.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Jeanett has gained her child care experience by being a mother of three herself.

Quote:

"Real success is finding your life work in the work you love.”
“A child’s life is a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”

  • Year Started: 10/9/2013
  • Education:

    High School Diploma

  • Other Languages Spoken:

    Spanish

Ms. Jen, Discovery Preschool

Bio:

Ms. Jen worked with three and four year old children at her previous daycare. Since joining KinderCare in August, she has been a teacher in the Infant Classroom. 

Previous Experience:

Before coming to KinderCare, Ms. Jen previously worked for Bobby Nonnan’s child care for a year and a half.

Quote:

“Sharing achieved milestones with parents because it makes me so happy to see how proud they are.”

  • Year Started: 8/28/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 8 Years
  • Education:

    HIghschool Diploma, enrolled in classes for Child Development Associate

Ms. Cassie, Discovery Preschool Classroom

Bio:

Being around children throughout the years has inspired M.s Cassie to serve children through education.  Ms. Cassie is the oldest of eight and was raised to guide children with trust and faith in both her and themselves.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Cassie is the oldest of eight children, so she has been around children all her life. She also has a step daughter that she loves.

Quote:

“My favorite part of being around children is, yes I get to educate them, but they teach me about life everyday.  Life through a child’s eye is so pure, and my goal is to teach them through the life they live.”

  • Year Started: 8/20/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 1 Year
  • Education:

    Bachelors in English Literature and pursuing her Child Development Associate

Ms. Vickey, Preschool Classroom

Bio:

Ms. Vickey loves to teach and watch the children learn and grow.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Vickey has previously worked with children from infants to school age while she lived in Nebraska, and at others day cares here in Illinois.

Quote:

"Every day is a new adventure with lots of things to learn and do."

  • Year Started: 10/3/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 6
  • Education:

    High School Diploma

Ms. Debbie, Preschool Classroom

Bio:

Ms. Debbie was born and raised in New Mexico, and moved to Illinois in 1987. She has two children of her own

Previous Experience:

Ms. Debbie spent a majority of her years with two year olds and is now teaching three year olds in our preschool program.

Quote:

“The best way to learn is through play.”

  • Year Started: 6/22/1987
  • Tenure: 26 Years
  • Years in ECE Industry: 26 Years
  • Education:

    Child Development Associate

Ms. Jill, Pre-Kindergarten Classroom

Bio:

In 2011 Ms. Jill received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Olivet Nazarene University.  From there she went on to be an aide in a kindergarten classroom.  In 2012 she joined the KinderCare team as the four and five year old teacher.  Ms. Jill says it has been fun watching the kids grow and getting to know the families. She loves teaching the four and five year olds because she loves seeing them get excited about learning.

Previous Experience:

Before coming to KinderCare, Ms. Jill was previously a one on one aide in an elementary school.

Quote:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  -William Butler Yeats

  • Year Started: 9/1/2012
  • Tenure: 1 Year
  • Years in ECE Industry: 1 Year
  • Education:

    Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education

Ms. Lisa, Kindergarten Classroom

Bio:

Ms. Lisa has been married to her husband Tim since 2001. She has two cats and two nephews she absolutely adores.  She also loves Elvis, penguins, and The Cubs.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Lisa has been with KinderCare since 1989. Ms. Lisa also won the Educator of the Year Award in 2009.

Quote:

“I love teaching the children to become critical thinkers and really enjoy creating opportunities for everyone to learn in his or her own way.”

  • Year Started: 9/25/1989
  • Tenure: 24 Years
  • Years in ECE Industry: 24 Years
  • Education:

    Child Development Associate

Ms. Lindsay, Prekindergarten Classroom

Bio:

Ms. Lindsay is originally from Idaho and moved here in 2000.  She married her husband John in 2002 and they have a cat named Penny.  She likes to spend her free time baking, sewing, and being on pinterest to find ideas for her class.

Previous Experience:

Before coming to KinderCare, Ms. Lindsay was a nanny for a year and was also a substitute teacher in a high school for two years.

Quote:

“I love to help the children achieve new goals and skills and help them have a love of learning.”

  • Year Started: 2/13/2012
  • Tenure: 2 Years
  • Years in ECE Industry: 14 Years
  • Education:

    Child Development Associate's Credential

Ms. Kiara, Preschool

Bio:

Ms. Kiara is originally from Ohio, she moved to Illinois in July of 2013. She loves spending all her extra time with her loving son and taking him to the park.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Kiara is a mother herself of one very active and loving 2 year old and she was also a pediatric dental assistant.

Quote:

" the excitement in the children's face when we intorduce new activities never gets old, it's so magical."

  • Year Started: 3/20/2014
  • Years in ECE Industry: 1
  • Education:

    some college

Ms. Tris, School Age and Learning Adventures Classrooms

Bio:

Ms. Tris is a mother of a four year old son, who is a happy member of the KinderCare family.  She lives in Lockport and loves baking and sports.

Previous Experience:

Ms. Tris was previously a live in nanny for three kids and has one child of her own.

Quote:

“The best part of teaching is watching the children become independent as they start accomplishing more difficult tasks individually. My favorite sentence is Ms. Tris look what I did!”

  • Year Started: 5/6/2013
  • Years in ECE Industry: 1
  • Education:

    Taking classes towards her Child Development Asscoiate

Ms. Patty, School Age Classroom

Bio:

Ms. Patty has been with KinderCare Learning Center since 2001 and is currently in our School Age Classroom. Ms. Patty enjoys teaching school aged children because she enjoys learning from them. Ms. Patty is working towards her Child Development Associate Credential at Rasmussen College.

Quote:

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not be” - John W. W.

  • Year Started: 1/1/2001
  • Tenure: 13 Years
  • Years in ECE Industry: 7 Years
  • Education:

    Pursuing Child Development Associate Credential

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