“Working with children is like having the future of the world in your hands–it’s a great, big, delightful responsibility” —Eniko Reeder
Eniko was born and raised in a small rural village in Northeastern Hungary. With its unpaved roads and lack of modern amenities, village life was modest and basic–it centered around hard work, family farming and community. Eniko’s parents both modeled dedicated civic service: her mother as a schoolteacher, and her father as the Director of the local Cultural Center where Eniko gained a unique exposure to the arts that had a broadening influence on her worldview.
Descended from a long line of schoolteachers, she proceeded to earn her teaching degree and began teaching geography and physical education in the Hungarian public school system. Before long, she became dissatisfied with the kind of teaching that was expected of her and she embarked on a journey to find her life purpose.
That journey took her to the United States where she learned English, traveled extensively and forged many lifelong friendships. While living in Bar Harbor, Maine, she was invited to visit a Waldorf school. The day she walked into the classroom marked a significant change in Eniko’s world. She was at once enchanted, captivated and deeply intrigued by the kind of teaching that was taking place there. After spending as much time as possible helping out at the school, absorbing information and becoming familiar with the curriculum, she came away with a new life direction.
Eniko enrolled in Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene, where she earned her degree in Waldorf Early Childhood education, and mentored with the late master teacher Ronna McEldowney at the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten in Boulder, Colorado. There she encountered the work of Helle Heckmann and Magda Gerber which influenced her in founding Singing Cedars, a Waldorf early childhood program in Fairfield, Iowa. In the fifteen years since then Eniko has touched the lives of over 200 families with her work in the Fairfield area.
Eniko is passionate about being in nature, hiking or backpacking in the mountains, kayaking, ice skating and cross country skiing, but most of all she loves deepening her knowledge of anthroposophy and the development of the young child and helping families to better understand childhood.
Robert is an accomplished musician, singer songwriter, entrepeneur, marketing manager, ceramicist, visual artist and gourmet cook. Robert is also one of the founding forces behind Singing Cedars School and has worked as the school’s administrator, maintenance person, and as an assistant teacher. Robert was introduced to Waldorf education and early childhood development in 1998 while dating his wife-to-be Eniko, who had embarked on her path to becoming a Waldorf trained early childhood teacher. While she studied in Eugene, Oregon, they ended each day with hour of long conversations with Robert living in Fairfield, Iowa, discussing all the details of her training. Through this discourse and through observing Eniko’s work with the children over the years, Robert has become a Waldorf scholar and inspired believer in the magic of Waldorf education – And the most beloved male role model at Singing Cedars!
Born in Utah and growing up over the lands of California, Michigan and Colorado, Tawni is a lover of Nature and of all things Wild. A dedicated student of life, she is a seeker of continual growth and personal development. Tawni whole-heartedly believes in the essential need to honor childhood as an absolutely valid and pivotal time of life. She was thrilled to stumble upon Singing Cedars amidst a Harvest Festival in the fall of 2014. She soon began attending Family Nest with her beloved daughter, Lula Fox. Desiring deeper connection with the Singing Cedars community and Waldorf philosophy, she began working as aftercare provider, transitioning next into assisting Eniko Reeder in the Kindergarten and in recent years has become the lead teacher of the Pre-K class. She completed her LifeWay’s training in Boulder, Colorado in 2015. Tawni‘s highest goal is compassion and love for all and her inspiration and greatest teachers of this consistently remain the children she cares for.
Jill came into the world in Omaha, Nebraska, following four siblings, and was blessed with an anchored home-life and ample opportunities to play and explore. She ventured to Chicago after high school, where she earned a degree in Anthropology and first encountered Waldorf education. After working with adults with developmental and behavioral challenges, and many years of home childcare, Jill rediscovered the Waldorf approach to education and moved west to Oregon, to work toward a Waldorf teaching certificate. Following her completion of the training program, Hazelwood Outdoor Kindergarten welcomed Jill to its small, vibrant team of teachers. For five years, this thriving school community supported her development as a teacher of young children. Jill continues to deepen her understanding of the growing child, and to learn through experience how to best meet the children in her care.
EARLY GRADES PROGRAM FACULTY
TAMMY SCOTT HAESSLER
Tammy Haessler has worked as a caregiver in a variety of fields for 25 years. And though she is a mother to three children and currently teaches our early grades homeschool program, her interest in providing specialized and individual care came many years before she became a parent.
She began her caregiving career assisting clients and teaching independent living skills at Hope Haven Group Home in Burlington, Iowa before moving onto being an in-home care provider through Hawkeye Health Services in Iowa City. She then became a teacher associate helping students with behavioral disorders at West Central Middle School in Biggsville, IL.
After her first child was born, she moved to an organic farm near Cantril, Iowa where her duties included designing and maintaining a four acre garden plot that provided CSAs to the local community as well as managing market stands at several farmer’s market locations. Her second child was born during these bountiful years.
When her children became school-aged, she choose to homeschool them. Inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori she integrated both Waldorf and Montessori methods into their school lessons, as well as began furthering her own education, and apprenticed as a midwife and doula.
Then in 2007, when Tammy moved from her rural locale to Fairfield, her caregiving took on new heights. Drawing upon her wonderful experience homeschooling her children, she began to offer childcare with a Waldorf focus, several years later even becoming the afternoon care provider for Singing Cedars while her third child attended the school. Tammy joined our staff with the expansion of our Grades Program in 2018.
Melissa, at home everywhere but currently living in Fairfield, has a long time love of Waldorf education. Her background is interior design but she brings her love of order and beauty to the first grade classroom.
“I feel Waldorf Education is such an incredible gift to a child. Every part of the day is designed to nurture that individual life beautifully.”