About the Authors

Deb photo
Deb Ellsworth
Tina Charney
Tina Charney

Deb Ellsworth and Tina Charney are two retired preschool teachers with over fifty years combined experience, licensed and degreed in Early Childhood Education and Developmental Psychology. They co-taught a class of three- to five-year-olds for three years at St. David’s Center for Child Development and Family Services in the Minneapolis area. St. David’s is a large and prestigious preschool program that serves typical children, children with special needs, and at-risk families. Deb most recently taught in the Spanish Bilingual class at St. David’s. After 10 years teaching at St. David’s, Tina moved to Phoenix, where she taught preschoolers at the Summit School of Ahwatukee.

Deb and Tina have both also been very active in Destination Imagination, an international creative problem-solving program for children from Kindergarten through high school, from 1996 to the present. Deb enjoyed 12 exciting and rewarding years coaching her two younger children’s teams, then moved into appraising at tournaments, and has been a Minnesota DI Challenge Master for the last 14 years.

As a result of coaching her own children’s Destination Imagination teams (and her previous career in theater), Tina was inspired to help her preschool students use the techniques of creative problem-solving, improvisation, and teamwork as they played, worked, created, collaborated, and solved problems for themselves and with their classmates.

Both Deb and Tina found that their young students were motivated and inspired by honing these skills and discovering new interests. In our book, Your Amazing Preschooler, we describe how the children we taught learned to resolve conflicts at the “Stoplight for Peace”; how to ask and research “how / what / why” questions; and developed a curiosity about the wonders of science and nature, and a deep interest in art and artists, music and musicians. Their parents often expressed surprise at the depth of their children’s knowledge and interests.

In the course of their teaching, Tina and Deb found themselves to be frequent dispensers of parenting advice to the parents of children in their classrooms, not just at conferences, but in everyday conversations. They found that parents were looking to them for advice about all sorts of things beyond the classroom.

“We realized that parents naturally turn to their child’s preschool teachers as experts on young children,” said Deb Ellsworth. “We further realized that much of what we do with the children in the classroom is directly applicable to what parents can do with their children at home.”

Tina and Deb are parents as well, whose own children are now young adults. They bring to this book their perspective both as teachers and parents.