Hi! My name is Laleña (pronounced luh-LAIN-ya). When you talk about me, the words that feel good to me are she and her. I’ve been teaching in New York City since 2000, working mostly with three- to six-year-olds at both independent and charter schools.
I spent my undergraduate years at Yale University, in New Haven, CT. While in college, I taught 6th grade English in an after-school and summer program, and worked at the Law School’s Early Learning Center with infants and young children.
After graduating with a BA in History, I spent two years working with high school students at an educational non-profit in New Haven. I moved to New York City in 2000 when I received a fellowship to the Bank Street College of Education to pursue a graduate degree and begin my teaching career at the Bank Street School for Children. I graduated with an MS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in 2002
In 2018, I helped organize New York City’s first year of participation in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, and created a document translating the Thirteen Principles of the Movement for Black Lives into child-friendly language, in order to support classroom teachers beginning this work. I've brought this work to local schools and community organizations, as well as to national conferences.
I currently teach kindergarten at Manhattan Country School, a progressive independent school: helping young children think about big questions like "What is equity?" "How do we take care of each other?" and, "What do people need?" is one of my passions. I have spent a lot of time honing my practice of supporting children in diverse environments, particularly focusing on supporting children and families of diverse genders. To that end, I also work for the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute as a Gender and Sexuality Trainer, working with early childhood professionals and families to create expansive and supportive understandings of gender, sexuality, and family structure.