Meet Our Teachers

Darlene Barbeau

Darlene's photo

Owner/Director

Hi, my name is Darlene Barbeau, I am the licensee, and owner of Happy Roots Learning Center.  I would like to share with you my education and experiences in the early childhood world.

          When I was very young I knew that I wanted to be a teacher.  During high school, my favorite class was Child development.  At that time, I also began a part time job working in a local childcare center.  When I graduated from high school, I enrolled at Greenfield Community College, majoring in Early Childhood Education, and graduated from this program in 1980.

        After receiving my Associates degree I worked in several childcare centers, and nursery schools.  When I had earned enough experience, I applied for and received my Lead Teacher/Preschool Certification.

      I have three adult children two sons and a daughter. When they were small I opened a family daycare in my home, enrolling children ages birth to twelve years old.  My children really enjoyed having other children to play with everyday, and it really enhanced their social skills. I operated my family daycare for ten years.

  I later returned to Greenfield Community College and completed courses in Special Education, Challenging Behaviors in Young Children, and the Infant/Toddler Curriculum, I then received my Lead Teacher Infant/Toddler Certification as well.  I then received my Bachelors Degree from Norwich University.

         Eventually I enrolled at the University of Massachusetts and completed courses in Daycare Administration, Supervision, Management, and Policies of Operating a Child Care Center;  I received my Director I and Director II Certifications.

      I began working at Eaglebrook School, where I was hired to create a Toddler Program in their existing center, Pocumtuck Childcare.  When a Director position became available, I was hired as the Director, and worked overseeing the operations of the entire center; while co-teaching in the Preschool Classroom, and later co-teaching in the Toddler Classroom.  I maintained this position for sixteen years.

    In 2007 I adopted two young children from DCF, my son was ten months old and my daughter, his sister was seven years old.  It is a very rewarding experience to make a difference in a child’s life.  My son is now nine years old and attending Conway Grammar School; and my daughter is sixteen and is in the tenth grade at Mohawk Trail Regional High School.

     In October 2013 I found a building located at 235 Greenfield Rd. and with the help of my family we created this beautiful childcare center in South Deerfield. The center is licensed through Early Education & Care and was opened to the community on January 6, 2014.

Sandi Castine

Sandy

Lead Pre-School Teacher

Hi I am Sandi Castine, I have recently joined the Happy Roots Learning Center team. I have an associate degree in early childhood education and over 25 years of experience in the field. My goal and passion is to provide a happy, safe, and fun learning environment for all of the children in my care. Working in private centers, public schools, and running my own daycare has given me a chance to enjoy children of all ages. My husband and I have two wonderful adult daughters and have permanent custody of our adorable 5 year old nephew. I look forward working at Happy Roots Learning Center and getting to know you all.

Maya Perez

Mia

Toddler Teacher

Hi, I’m Maya Perez and I’m an toddler teacher at Happy Roots Learning Center. I have been with Happy Roots since the beginning of the year and I have found that it is a place where my passion, education, and skills converge.

      I am a graduate of Wesleyan University with a BA in Psychology. While the focus of my education, at Wesleyan, was on culture and human emotion, my studies included course work in child and cognitive development. I have experience working in the field of education at different levels, infant to adult students, and have found a passion for working with children of this age group. Through my work at Happy Roots I hope to provide an open and nurturing environment where your children’s growth and development can be supported.

Darien Kenny

Darien

Toddler Teacher

Hi, I am Darien Kenny and I am working as the assistant teacher in the toddler room at Happy Roots. I began my work at Happy Roots in June of 2016, shortly after I graduated with honors from Greenfield Community College with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and a certificate in Early Childhood Education.

I am now taking a year off of college before continuing toward my bachelor’s degree, in order to help me decide where I want to focus my education. I have had a passion for learning and teaching since I was young. I have always felt a connection with nature and hope that one day my passions for early education and nature education come together.

Some of my earliest and most fond memories come from My Aunt’s forest kindergarten on vashon island, Washington. I spent a lot of time there as a child, foraging for edible berries, creating fairy houses and learning to make herbal remedies and tinctures. These early experiences in nature, working hands­ on in the woods really inspired me to pursue this path. I was able to see first hand how able and intelligent young children are ­ When given the opportunity to explore and learn.

After taking a few Early Education courses at GCC, I was so intrigued and inspired by everything I had learned. I decided that I wanted nothing more than to pursue my education and experience in early childhood education.

I absolutely love working with the children at Happy Roots they continue to inspire and impress me everyday. It brings me such joy to see our students eagerness to learn and create through all aspects of the day. My work at the center has been very rewarding and I am thankful to have this experience with the children, staff and families.

Kelsey

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Hello, My name is Kelsey. I am an assistant teacher at Happy Roots.  I am very excited to be working with infants and toddlers. Working with children is a passion of mine and coming from a large family it feels natural and very comfortable being with children. I look forward to continuing an education in Early Childhood as well as a wonderful and excellent experience working at Happy Roots Learning Center.