Dana Ferrarelli


Play is not frivolous.
It is not a luxury.
It is not something to fit in after completing the important stuff.
Play is the important stuff.
Play is a drive, a need, a brain-building must-do.
-Jeff Johnson

Dana’s journey into early childhood education started in the 1980’s, after a childhood of playing in the mud, going on outdoor excursions with her dad, staying outside till the street lights came on, and of course “playing school” with the kids in the neighborhood. She used her little blue cardboard suitcase for a desk but she usually insisted on being the teacher. Receiving her instruction in early childhood education at Long Beach City College, she graduated with a degree in Child Development, intending to continue her journey as an elementary school teacher. When she began as a teacher’s assistant at Great Beginnings in Long Beach, she soon realized the preschool age was her passion! She began as a teacher at Kid Works in 1987.

When Dana had young children of her own, she worked as a parent volunteer alongside kindergarten teachers who utilized her preschool experience to assist students in writing and reading. In turn Dana learned that before stepping into kindergarten children need to have as much play experience as possible.

After some “time travel” back to the 1870’s as a Rancho Los Cerritos living history school docent Dana returned to Kid Works in 2011 where she is back to her love of playing in the mud and being on outdoor excursions with the children in the school’s most wonderful outdoor environment! Her passion for young children and their experience playing in the outdoors has deepened to include a restoration of the Kid Works garden and its function as a place to play, a retreat, a science lab and place of beauty.

Dana has continued her education over the decades through attending conferences, symposiums, reading and independent online study courses. She zealously believes children and childhood are treasures to be valued, respected and treated with loving dignity.


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