This fall, Gillian Larson returns to Avenues as associate teacher in an English section of kindergarten. In the immersion classes, nursery through grade 5, children spend alternate days in a class conducted in English and in a class conducted in either Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. Gillian joined Avenues in the fall of 2013 and loves teaching in the Early Learning Center.
"I truly appreciate working in a program that values language immersion, innovation, empathy, risk taking and real-world problem-solving," says Gillian. "I especially enjoy seeing my students progress in language acquisition. Over the course of the school year, they acquire an impressive vocabulary and accent, as well as an excitement about learning a new language and delving into a different culture."
Gillian’s first job in education was teaching 3- and 4-year-olds at the International Preschool in New York. She then spent four years at Apple Seeds in Chelsea developing curricula and teaching classes created for 2-to-5-year olds, including science, art, storytelling, cooking and dance.
Prior to Apple Seeds, Gillian was with New York University’s Department of Psychology as a research coordinator, where she worked on a longitudinal study of the development of children’s social identities. She conducted interviews with elementary and middle school students from immigrant families, as well as with their teachers and parents, using both standardized and adapted social and developmental psychology measures. She also trained and supervised 15 N.Y.U. undergraduates in the psychology department.
Before working at N.Y.U., Gillian was a research coordinator at Bellevue Hospital studying treatments for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She has also worked at a travel public relations firm, where she oversaw marketing and public relations for hotels in Paris, London, Milan and Nantucket.
Gillian has a B.A. in history from Brown University. She is currently completing a master's in Early Childhood Education at Fordham University.
Outside the classroom, Gillian immerses herself in urban adventures with her twins, who are 4th graders at Avenues. On weekends, she frequently spends time at her family's farm in New Jersey, where favorite activities include climbing trees, feeding Black Angus cattle, playing with a herd of donkeys and other breaks from urban life. Gillian is learning Mandarin from her colleagues and Spanish from her 9-year-old twins, who love to correct her accent! Whenever she can find a free moment, she voraciously reads novels.