of Boston, MA. As part of the program, I was part of a wrap-around treatment team for children struggling with mental illness. I co-taught a dialectical behavioral therapy class and lead a separate group-based program called Strengthening Families. This course was specifically designed for strengthening children’s social and emotional skills.
TEFL Certification and Taiwan
In 2009 I enrolled in the Boston Language Institute to obtain my TEFL Certification, which certified me to teach English as a second language abroad. In the summer of 2010, I utilized my TEFL Certification and moved to Taiwan to teach kindergarten at a premiere private school outside of the capital city of Taipei. After teaching in Taiwan for 12 months, I moved back to the US convinced that my purpose was to work in the field of education.
After returning to the US, I joined Crossroads Academy, an Independent School situated close to the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. I wore many hats at Crossroads, where I worked as a half-day kindergarten teacher, third-grade assistant, and after-school program coordinator. Crossroads Academy has a similar ethos to Grow & Balance with respect to the child-centered learning environment, and strong emphasis on parent-teacher relationships.
Upper Valley Graduate School of Education
While at Crossroads, I was accepted to the Upper Valley Graduate School of Education, where I earned my Elementary Education Certificate along with 24 credits toward my Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). I chose UVEI specifically for its outstanding reputation in training teachers as thoughtful questioners, deep listeners, and progressive thinkers through a rigorous internship-based model. I completed two internships during my time at UVEI, the first as a teacher in a kindergarten classroom, and the second as a teacher in a third and fourth grade loop classroom. For both positions I spent four days per week performing supervised teaching.
During and after my studies at UVEI, I continued to extensively research the constructivist theory introduced by John Dewey, the closely related collaborative exploration of the Reggio Emilia approach, and Dr. Montesorri's theories, amongst others. When I moved to Richmond, VA in the summer of 2013, I began crafting a child education program based on my interests. I began working exclusively with two families, putting my heart and intellectual energy into designing my own boutique-like in-home early education program.
The combination of my previous work experience, education, and my desire to find work that matches my level of passion, and commitment in the field of early education brought me to starting and opening the doors of Grow & Balance, an early education boutique.
Hello, I'm Christina McManus, the Director of Grow & Balance. As the daughter of a lifelong educator, one might think that teaching is in my DNA. Yet my path to education was full of interesting twists and invaluable turns. Here's my journey.
My journey as an educator began in the field of social work at the South Shore Mental Health Foundations Program outside