Richard Cohen, M.A. has proudly been an early childhood professional for over thirty years.
For the last twenty years, Richard has traveled the world as a consultant, coach and motivational speaker/instructor, facilitating fun, innovative, thought-provoking, interactive adult learning experiences for communities of early childhood teachers, administrators, caregivers and parents. Additionally, he curates his viral social media presence, “Zen and the Art of Early Childhood Education,” offers a catalogue of online ECE Professional Development courses and hosts Community Sing-a-Longs.
Currently, Richard is the Director of Turtle Island Children’s Center, a beautiful indoor/outdoor Nature Preschool that nurtures infants through preschoolers using a “nature-based emergent curriculum” approach, in Montpelier, Vermont.
Prior to his move to Vermont, Richard was a Professor of Early Care and Education at Saint Louis Community College in Ferguson, Missouri for four years. His life was transformed by the shooting of Michael Brown and the ensuing riots that both wrought destruction on and bonded together his community.
Across his career, Richard has made many important contributions to the field of early childhood education and to young children, their families and the professionals who serve them:
- As Chief Officer of Communications for the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington, D.C, Richard directed the 2013 transformation and revision of the Child Development Associate (CDA) credentialing process and authored the new Infant/Toddler, Preschool and Family Child Care Editions of the national CDA Competency Standards books and co-authored/edited the associated comprehensive textbook “Essentials for Working with Young Children”.
- As Senior Director of Professional Development at the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA – now Child Care Aware of America) Richard oversaw the creation of the online Training Academy, co-authored the NAEYC Professional Development Glossary and served as the association’s project design lead for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Child Care teacher resource kit.
- As Vice President, Education of the second largest global child care corporation, Learning Care Group, Richard created the Reggio-inspired curriculum, The Empowered Child and the multiple intelligences-based curriculum, LifeSmart. Most notably, he developed the Learning Care System, a comprehensive online lesson-planning/assessment system that allows teachers to use authentic observations and assessments, correlated with their state’s quality early learning standards, to provide truly intentional, emergent curriculum based on both the children’s interests and their unique developmental needs.
- Richard worked with the California Department of Education to create the “Desired Results for Children and Families” QRIS Training and Technical Assistance Project.
- Richard designed a revolutionary, new children’s zoo experience, “Explore! A Child’s Nature,” (the Hamill Family Play Zoo) for Brookfield Zoo, in Illinois, which seeks to connect young children with the natural world. His children’s play space design won the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s (AZA) Outstanding Exhibit Award.
- In the positions he describes as “the best jobs of my life,” Richard has been an infant teacher, a toddler teacher, a preschool teacher and a kindergarten teacher!
Richard received his Masters Degree in Human Development from the world-renowned early childhood institution of higher education, Pacific Oaks College. He is an active member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the International Play Association (IPA).
He is currently hard at work writing his first book chronicling the inspirational ideas, insights and perspectives he has collected from the thousands of early childhood professionals with whom he has worked and played around the world.
LISTEN: “Life Success Blossoms from the Seeds Planted in Early Childhood” radio broadcast/podcast