After 29 years as Director of the Thorne School, Marilyn Henkelman has decided to retire. In thinking about how to achieve a smooth transition, we looked to our current staff and assessed their interest, background, credentials, and history with Thorne. After many conversations, we have decided to appoint Amanda Ulrich as the new Thorne School Director, Kirsten Mudd as Assistant director, and Jodie Baird as Student Research and Praxis Coordinator. We are optimistic that this set of arrangements will not only assure a smooth transition but will position Thorne well as we move into the future.
After graduating from Brown University, Amanda obtained an M.Ed. in Elementary Education/Museum Education at the Bank Street College of Education where she became inspired by the importance of play for children's learning and development. She worked as an assistant teacher in the 1st and 2nd grade at Chapin School in New York City for three years and then moved to New York's Spence School where she taught first grade for six years. She then was a fourth grade teacher and an after school art instructor, after which she became an Admissions Associate. Amanda has been the lead teacher in Thorne's Toddler program since 2007, where she has implemented a curriculum based on play and social interaction.
Kirsten Landes Mudd graduated from Hampshire college with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Psychology. After student teaching in 1st grade at the Smith College Campus School Kirsten moved to Philadelphia and was the art teacher at Beginnings Learning Center for 2-5 year olds where she taught for 3 years. Kirsten spent five years at home with her two children, both of whom attended the PAT preschool, and then in 1991 took a job as the lead teacher in the Younger class at Thorne. This will be Kirsten’s 2nd year as teacher in the Older class. She is looking forward to being able to continue teaching at the preschool while also taking on new administrative duties as Assistant Director. Kirsten's long experience as a Thorne parent and teacher makes her ideal for this new role.
As an undergraduate at Stanford University, Jodie worked for three years at Bing Nursery School, where she taught in a 3- to 5-year-old classroom and completed several research projects for her honors degree in Psychology. Jodie continued her research with preschoolers as she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Oregon and completed postdoctoral training at the Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto. In 2007, Jodie joined the Psychology department at Swarthmore College, where she continues to teach courses on child development and the effective, ethical implementation of psychological research. From 2005-2011, Jodie's two children attended the Thorne preschool and kindergarten, and in 2012, Jodie joined the Thorne staff to teach in the Younger class. Jodie's unique combination of experiences as a parent, teacher, and researcher will inform her work as the Student Research and Praxis coordinator for the school.
The Thorne School of Bryn Mawr College offers programs for Toddlers,
Preschool children, and Kindergarten children. This Main Line
institution, which was established in 1952 as a laboratory nursery
school at Bryn Mawr College, offers developmentally oriented,
child-centered programs. For preschoolers, Thorne offers a Toddler program, a Traditional Preschool program, and a Language Enrichment
Preschool program. The Thorne kindergarten, located at Haverford
College, has a Traditional Kindergarten program and a Language Enrichment Kindergarten program. Thorne also offers a variety of Early Intervention programs for children age 3 to 6, developed by Susan Chaplick.
At Thorne, children develop a sense of competence and well-being within the group through play, problem-solving and social interaction. Materials are organized within activity areas in a fashion that invites active exploration, discovery and the development of mastery. Through these activities, children learn to exercise control over their environment and to develop their own strengths and creative ideas.