"We believe creative movement curriculum creates happy, healthy, focused learners." -AB2
Laurie Flaherty, Co-Owner, AB2
Laurie was named as a 2016 Early Childhood Super Hero by Let's Grow Kids, Vermont. She has worked as a Pre-K Teacher/Director at the Bishop Marshall School in Morrisville; and she is also the founder and former Executive/Artistic Director of Green Mountain Performing Arts, a nonprofit performing arts studio in Waterbury, Vermont. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts. and has completed graduate studies in Advanced Child Development and Curriculum Development. Laurie started her own performing arts program in 2006 because she saw a need for more affordable and accessible local arts education. She opened the studio with the mission to make outstanding performing arts education fully accessible to all children. She provided tuition assistance to all students in need of financial support and welcomed and provided accommodations to all children with special needs. Under Laurie’s direction, the school grew to over 400 students. Laurie is originally from Massachusetts. She has studied many forms of dance but has extensive training in creative, modern, jazz, ballet and hip hop dance. In addition to owning her own performing arts school, Laurie taught dance at Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, Vermont. Laurie received her certification in Early Childhood Dance from Beverly Spell; she was a contributing author to the book Fit Families; she wrote and directed the “Hip Hop Nutcracka,” an original production; she has studied and completed certification in Brain-Compatible Dance Teaching Methods with dance educator and author, Anne Gilbert at SDIT in Seattle; and she is a certified instructor for Vermont Northern Lights at CCV. Laurie teaches workshops on Brain-Compatible Dance Teaching Methods and she has shared her dance curriculum with hundreds of students ranging in age from infant to adult. She continues to further her own study of dance and education by studying the brain-body connection as it relates to child development, health and education. Laurie loves to teach and she enjoys sharing her passion for the performing arts and education. She strongly believes that the performing arts are incredibly beneficial to the body, mind and spirit and that the study and mastery of movement can help children and adults to keep their bodies and brains healthy. Laurie resides in Waterbury, Vermont with her husband, their four children and their two Labrador Retrievers. She is always looking for ways to contribute to her community and to build a stronger and healthier foundation and support system for all children and for those individuals who are working with them.
Rachel O’Donald, Co-Owner, AB2
Rachel is a licensed K-6 teacher with over 10 years of classroom experience with children of ages 2-18. Rachel is originally from Illinois, where she studied theater and voice throughout high school and also college at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. She went on to receive her M.A. in K-8 Education from Antioch University, Seattle. Rachel first incorporated music and movement into her curriculum as a preschool teacher to focus active energy during rainy Seattle winters. She went on to work as a music and movement specialist during graduate school at preschools, community centers, and The Seattle Children's Museum. As a graduate student Rachel student taught in an arts-based K-8 public school, assisting in the choreographing of movement pieces based on their poetry. Inspired by Howard Gardner's concepts of multiple intelligences, Rachel designed differentiated instruction for math and social studies as a teacher at Crossett Brook Middle School. During the 2013/2014 school year, Rachel volunteered at Thatcher Brook Primary School, leading monthly music and movement classes with The Children's Room and piloting Books Come to Life in the preschool, while staying home with her son, Elias. Rachel has always had a passion for early childhood education and human development. She has received training in Reggio-Emilia practices and adds elements of these philosophies to her curriculum. In the summer of 2014, Rachel studied and completed a 40-hour course in Brain-Compatible Dance Teaching Methods with dance educator and author, Anne Green Gilbert, at SDIT in Seattle. Rachel resides in Middlesex, Vermont with her husband, son, and Siamese cat. Rachel believes engaging active learners needs to begin during the formative early childhood years. Creative Movement and Dramatics taps into what young children do best and leads to lifelong exploration and learning.