A PreKindergarten team member since 2016, Casey studied at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire and then earned her degree in human services with a minor in early childhood education at Fisher College in Boston. Casey started a creative art program in her hometown of Hingham, Mass., that traveled to schools and homes of preschoolers. She contemplated opening her own studio but first took a break to ski out West. The rest of the story is a familiar one: she went back home for a summer and quickly “realized I wanted to be back in Colorado working with children. Then I saw the job at Country Day, and it all fell together as it was meant to be.”
Favorite place on campus?
The pond. When we take the kids in the canoes and paddle around, it’s so tranquil. You can see the fish. Growing up near the ocean, water is my number-one love, so any type of water is really calming.
When you were little, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be an artist, always. I told my parents I was going to be an artist in Colorado or Italy. I had never visited those places, but somehow I had it in my heart.
Is it true that your great uncle was the famous children’s artist Richard Scarry?
Yes, he was one of my first inspirations artistically. Like me, he grew up on the east coast where it is all very traditional, and his dad pushed him to be a doctor or a lawyer or to take over the family store, and he was like, “No, I’m going to art school to draw for the rest of my life.” And now art is essential in my life; I am always drawing, painting, dancing.
Favorite Aspen Country Day School core value?
Respect. One of my favorite quotes is from L. R. Knost, author of The Gentle Parent: “Respecting a child teaches them that even the smallest, most powerless, most vulnerable person is worthy of respect. And that is a lesson our world desperately needs to learn.”
How do you teach respect in PreK?
Rather than just telling children what to do, we give them a voice. We ask their opinions about how things should be. We are modeling compassion and empathy so they can see how respect goes a long way and is contagious to others.
A challenge you see in the world and how this school works to address it?
It sometimes seems that in the wider world it’s “every man for himself,” and children are being overloaded. I think it’s a really important time for us to return to childhood and simplicity: running, climbing, laughing. To actually experience happiness, rather than to be constantly pursuing happiness. Children here are able to use their imaginations, go into the woods, make friends, get dirty and ground themselves in nature. They experience a joyful community.
Have you noticed any silver linings from the pandemic?
It forced people to stop and slow down, to reflect on what actually is important and how they want to live their day-to-day life going forward. A lot of my friends had those “aha” moments that prompted them to find a new path.