Margaret Blachly & Andrea Fonseca
Margaret Blachly is a graduate of the Early Childhood Bilingual General and Special Education Dual Degree Program. She has taught pre-K and kindergarten in inclusive and general education classrooms in both private and public schools, and in monolingual and dual language classrooms. Margaret’s professional life began at the Bank Street Family Center, where many practices conceived to support children with special needs were used universally, and proved beneficial for the entire class. Margaret brought this philosophy to the kindergarten classroom and to the dual language classroom and developed a practice that kept language development at the forefront of the teacher’s sensibility and planning. It has been a wonderful challenge to bring all that a Bank Street education encompasses (integrated curriculum, progressive practice, valuing play in early childhood, professional collaboration and reflective practice) into her work in public schools. Margaret is currently working as a bilingual Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and devoting time to nurture the development of her two young children, Leo and Gail.
Andrea Fonseca is a graduate of the Bilingual Special Education Program. Andrea has served as an instructor in the Early Childhood Special Education and Bilingual Programs at Bank Street College. Andrea has been a teacher in the New York City Public schools for 10 years. She has taught in a K-2 Self Contained Bilingual Special Education Class, in Kindergarten and 1st grade Dual Language Inclusion Classes. Three times in her career Andrea looped from Kindergarten to 1st grade. As a bilingual special educator Andrea believes that dual language and special education teaching strategies and tools overlap and that inclusive dual language classrooms are an enriching option for almost all children, including children with special needs. Andrea is currently working in a K/1st grade ICT classroom at Castle Bridge School, a new progressive dual language school in Washington Heights.
Together, Andrea and Margaret co-taught in kindergarten classrooms for three years, and they continue to co-teach graduate courses at Bank Street as well as workshops. In their years of co-teaching, they practiced and developed teaching strategies and methods that have benefited Second Language Learners, children with special needs and “typically developing children.” Language and vocabulary development in all areas of the curriculum has been an important focus of their practice. In addition they have both been thoughtful about the social and emotional development of the children in their classrooms. In 2011 Andrea had the opportunity to write about the social and emotional supports, that she and Margaret developed together in their kindergarten classroom as part of a website sponsored by the DEO and designed by the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project.