In what part of town do you live?
We live in Pinecrest. We moved down here last February from downtown.
Where did you grow up? What brought you to town?
I’m from California. I came to South Florida in ’08. My mom’s family are all from Brooklyn and when they get older, normally they moved down here. My grandma was in Margate and I was in community college, back home, and wanted to spend more time with her. So – I enrolled at Broward Community College and I just never left.
What keeps you busy during the week?
I’m very lucky to be working as a preschool teacher for a preschool pod. I have a class of five students and we get together at Peacemaker Studio. They rent out rooms.
When did you start doing the pods?
This is my second year doing it. I started right when it was pretty obvious that things weren’t going to be open, at least not right away.
Were you teaching before starting the pods?
I had been in the past, but not for a while. When my kids were little, I ended up homeschooling them for a couple years. We didn’t call it a pod back then, but a homeschool co-op. It was basically the same thing that I’m doing now. People knew that I used to do that, so when COVID happened, a lot of people were reaching out to me. I was one of those really lucky people with COVID where I had more job opportunities than before.
Do you have a methodology or guiding principles for your pod?
I have worked at regular, mainstream, preschools. But my personal style is Waldorf inspired. I’m not a trained Waldorf teacher, but I went to a Waldorf school as a kid. My parents save everything. So, I still have my old lesson books that I made.
How do you incorporate your Waldorf inspiration?
I would say the easiest way to picture it is you’re learning from a holistic standpoint where you’re not just using your mind but using your heart and your body as well. Learning in ways that use movement or use songs or a lot of artwork. Instead of using a textbook, we’ll make our own textbook, we’ll draw the pictures. It’s very, hands-on. And, we’re very connected with nature.
What do you enjoy about leading the pods?
Not only being able to share things with the kids, but the kids teach you so much too. And, how many people get to spend a majority of their day making artwork and singing songs? Also, because I have two kids, this schedule works out perfectly for me. I drop off my two at school, have time to have a cup of coffee and then I go to work, and then pick up my kids. It’s really perfect.
Have any of the lessons you’ve learned from your students improved your ability to be a parent for your kids?
Definitely. With these young kids, so much is learning how to communicate with each other and really slowing down. That act of slowing down is hard. I think sometimes in our everyday life it’s so easy to be like, do this, do this, do this. But, if I can slow down at school and give the kids that time and energy, I can do that at home too.
What do you enjoy outside of teaching?
I love gardening. I love making art. My favorite hobby is singing. I love being with my kids. I love being in nature. My family still lives in California, so I love going there to visit
How did you discover LNB Grovestand?
I have a friend, who you know – Susan Cartiglia of Radiate Miami. Susan is my best friend in the world and I actually used to be the (kombucha) brewer for Radiate up until a year ago. She tells me all the good spots. I don’t ever have to research restaurants or anything food related because Susan just tells me. One day, Susan said you have to try LNB, so we tried it and now we’re hooked.
(A+W Check out Susan’s interview from three years ago)
What do you pick up when you come by the drive through?
We always get the Rainbow Smoothie. Now we the yogurt, which is delicious, the Turmeric Melts and the and the bagels now too! And the kombucha. I would say that’s our standard order.
What local restaurants are you enjoying right now that you might recommend?
Right now, my favorite restaurant and the only restaurant we’ve been going to right now, is La Natural. They have a sourdough made with a really old starter and they make amazing pizza. When I first started going, they had this grilled pineapple, and it was so good. It was seasonal, but now they have these mushrooms with green sauce. My husband and I are both very particular about food and there’s certain places where it might taste good, but you don’t feel good afterwards, so you don’t end up going back. But I feel great after I eat at La Natural.
There’s another little place that I really love that my husband has been going to since he was a teenager, called Tarragon Middle East Market. It’s owned by two Lebanese brothers who are twins and they’re just so kind and so nice. The dates they sell are like no other date I have ever tasted in my life. They just melt in your mouth. All their food is really good.
And, there’s this little food truck, that used to park outside where we used to live, called Peel Soft serve. They made soft serve ice cream out of only banana. It’s so good.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
We stumbled upon it, just driving, after getting smoothies from you. A lot of times we’ll go to you and then we’ll go to Little River. When we were driving to Little River farm, we passed this gate and it was so beautiful. We looked it up and it’s called Patch of Heaven Sanctuary. It’s amazing. I didn’t even take pictures when I went, because I was like they would not do it justice. In the last two years they’ve opened it up for tours and I know that they are trying to get the word out there for people to start going and visiting.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
La Natural is a worthy splurge. If you’re at Whole Foods, Radiate kombucha is a worthy splurge.
Are there any community events or philanthropic groups that you might like to promote or share?
Susan’s husband, Tico, started Watershed Action Lab. They are restoring native oysters to Biscayne bay as a way to mitigate algae blooms. It’s an amazing project. This was something he just he dreamed up and made happen and he’s a busy guy. He’s a full-time dad, co-owner of Radiate, and he’s taken the time to do this amazing project.
Is there a pitch about anything you’re working on that you would like to share?
I am interested in starting another group of younger kids because my pod is getting older, and I’ve had several parents of two-year-olds interested in doing a group. If we can find four or five families, we can start a group.
What advice, question, or challenge would you like to pose to the community?
(KM) I think it’s an amazing challenge to seek out local businesses and to support them.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
(KM) Where is the farm?
(A+W) The farms are in the Redland. Our home farm is down the street from the Fruit and Spice Park – that’s where Adena grew up and her brother, Levi, now lives.