Rene Hick, one of our wonderful Nature Preschool teachers, first knew she enjoyed working with children during her pediatric nursing rotation at Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan back in the early 90s. Her nursing background is the foundation for her holistic approach to education. “I believe strongly in engaging and developing the whole person; physically, mentally and emotionally. I approach each child where they are, validating them as a multi-dimensional human being, and differentiate my approach based on their individual needs,” explains Rene.
Her passion for early childhood education was born when she started spending time researching child development, behavior, and best practices while seeking out educational opportunities for her own two children, now 12 and 15. She became passionate about experiences that would cultivate their natural curiosity while allowing them to problem solve, self-regulate, and develop a lifelong love of learning. She also has a life-long passion for music, bringing it into the early learning classroom by leading children in song, large motor activities, and finger plays. This music enhances the Nature Preschool curriculum while bringing joy and fostering a love of music in each of the students.
When not teaching preschool, Rene is busy as a swim team, cross country, orchestra, band, and scout mom. Her husband is in the USAF, where he’s served for over 20 years (Rene served active duty for six years herself). Together, they’ve called Centerville home for the past eight years now. Rene is very active in the community, spending many hours volunteering primarily in the school library and as a district literacy and reading volunteer. As a Girl Scout leader, she has been able to share her love of the outdoors and nature with girls of all ages. A black belt in the art of To-Shin Do, she also has also served her martial arts community as a coach, leading outreach activities as well as classes and camps for youth.
Rene’s future goals include continuing quality growth at Learning Tree Farm Nature Preschool as well as supporting the growth and development of other nature-based early education programs in Southwest Ohio. “We want to reach as many children as possible in the Miami Valley and beyond! I've been taking ukulele lessons this summer with a goal of bringing my new found "skills" to our classroom,” explains Rene. Getting two kids successfully through high school and on to college is also part of her five-year plan!