One of Dr. Banashak’s first jobs as a high schooler was working at a day camp with early elementary-aged children. Organized like an after-school program, the day camp provided training in social and emotional skills that sparked curiosity about developing relationships, becoming wise about self and others, regulating thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and making constructive decisions. She quickly gained confidence working with children and became aware of their vast and varied needs.
Since those early days, Jeanette has taught children of all ages in the classroom and as a camp director, and led 13 international study abroad and service-learning trips with students. Most recently, she worked as a Calm Classroom facilitator teaching mindfulness to K-2 graders in Chicago Public Schools. While teaching mindfulness/atención plena to English and Spanish speaking students, she developed a deeper understanding of the intersections of identity as well as the interrelationships among students, educators, administration, families, communities, and policies that impact development.
The emphasis at Erikson on human-centered early childhood education uniquely aligns with Dr. Banashak’s ever-emerging professional practices and philosophy. In both personal and professional arenas, she is committed to the values of Erikson, including relationship-based education and practice, commitment to social justice, diversity and inclusion, complexity of approach to subjects, issues, and conceptual frameworks, and high standards.
A Senior Instructor since 2019, Jeanette teaches core child development courses and online courses in the SEL concentration. “I am increasingly interested in the ways in which students learn online and how the online experience enhances learning,” she says. As an educator, Jeanette participates in the cultivation and guidance of the intellectual, emotional, social and moral capacities of the students, and to that end, she often incorporates creative and contemplative andragogy in her classes.