Our teachers are the heart of Cottage and the base of our success. Passion, inspiration, empathy, creativity, understanding and generosity of time & spirit define these wonderful teachers.
Oak Tree and Rainforest Lead Teacher
Jocelyn Robertson brings a meaningful and multi-layered perspective to Cottage, drawing on her educational background, experience in the classroom and years of participation in the Cottage community as a parent. She attended Cottage as a child, returned as a parent with her son and daughter, and worked as a substitute teacher in both the small yard and big yard before joining the Cottage teaching team. Her journey at Cottage continues as the director as she shares the Cottage way with the next generation of families. She has a Bachelor's degree in Gender Studies and Studio Art from Occidental College and a Master's degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. Jocelyn understands, believes, and implements the Cottage philosophy in a natural, intrinsic way.
Jocelyn has a particular interest in parent education and has founded a blog addressing topics of parenting and learning with thoughtful and eloquent posts. She has been an advocate of the belief that that the Cottage community extends far outside the classroom.
Jocelyn is equally at home ankle-deep in a puddle of mud while wearing a cape with the children, leading parent education discussions and reaching out to support struggling parents. She is warm and engaging with an innate ability to connect with children. She has a clear and exciting vision for Cottage and we look forward to working together with her leadership.
Jocelyn is a major contributor to our blog - Cottage Parenting:
Mulberry and Olive Associate Teacher
Jason Ballard was introduced to Cottage as a parent in 2012 when daughter, Brooke attended. Cottage was a perfect fit for his family's parenting beliefs. From that time he has worked with and been mentored by teachers at Cottage to fully understand "the Cottage way." Jason worked as a substitute teacher in both the small yard and big yard since 2015 before joining the Cottage teaching staff in 2017. Jason is a great believer in the philosophy that a child learns best through play. He creates a fun and creative environment for his students to explore and learn through interaction with their peers and environment. He is a parent to Charlotte, currently in the Rainforest class, and Brooke, Cottage alum. When he is not working in the class, Jason works as a professional photographer.
Mulberry and Olive Associate Teacher
Michelle Barrera discovered Cottage while looking for a Pasadena area program that honors and values play as the important work of childhood and the role of the family as the child’s first teacher. She is thrilled to be part of the Cottage community where staff, children and families greet each day together with wonder. Michelle has a Master’s degree in Education from UCLA and began her education career as an English teacher before becoming a literacy and technology coach serving schools throughout Los Angeles and focusing on emergent writing. Passionate about empowering children through language and literacy, Michelle loves wordplay. Magical mysterious melodious Michelle plays in ways through days with Jay that say, hey what may. She also has her M.F.A. in Writing from CalArts.
Having taught ages 4 to 80 in a career that spans more than twenty years, she is excited to focus her energies on our youngest learners and their families. Always learning and growing, Michelle most recently completed coursework for a California child development permit focusing on 0 to 3 at Pasadena City College where she taught in the Child Development Center in the Infant and Toddler rooms. She has completed an Early Childhood Exceptional Populations Certificate program with LAUP as well while observing and engaging children 3 to 5.
She believes early childhood education is the most important work there is and is honored to join in this endeavor with the Cottage community. She is a parent and feels gratitude daily to witness the miracle.
Oak and Mulberry Assistant Teacher
Yahaira Bautista is a current student at California State University Los Angeles, working on her Bachelor's degree for Child Development. Yahaira's goal is to translate children's ambitions into successful accomplishments. She has worked with children as a mentor for an after school program, providing supervision during sports and knowledge during homework hours. Yahaira is passionate about children. She feels fulfilled knowing she is involved in an environment where children are given empowerment and support.