Rachel Siegel | Bethesda Magazine

Ones to Watch


Rachel Siegel

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Norwood School

8821 River Road

Bethesda, MD





Imagine a job where you find yourself smiling and laughing throughout the day—all while surrounded by people who are full of wonder, joy, kindness and genuine affection. Rachel Siegel has that job. In fact, she is hard-pressed to call it a job. She says it’s more like an extended family gathering. As a pre-kindergarten teacher at Norwood School in Bethesda, Rachel spends her days with 21 busy and chatty four- and five-year-olds. She and her teaching partners, Adam Cooper and Sarah Cali, have created a child-centered environment where young learners are free to explore, create and question. “There’s definitely magic happening in that classroom,” says Head of School Matthew Gould, “an audible buzz of hands-on activities that fully engage the minds of young children.”

An early childhood educator for the past 10 years, Rachel embraces the opportunity to build a solid foundation of skills and readiness that prepares young children for success throughout their school years. “It’s less about being a teacher to me,” she says. “It’s more about building relationships and a community where children feel loved, supported and safe to take risks.”

Rachel fully endorses Norwood’s unique approach to early childhood education. “Norwood doesn’t prescribe to one specific style of early childhood pedagogy,” she explains. “The teaching team blends the best of their backgrounds and philosophies, whether it be Montessori, Reggio Emilia or a more traditional approach.” The key is using the best approach for each child and situation. “It’s important for me to develop authentic connections with children. Once a trusted relationship is developed, the best kind of learning can happen. There’s so much unbridled joy during childhood, so much discovery and wonder. I love being a part of that.”

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