our team

Rebecca Walsh

Founder and Director

Rebecca Walsh founded Early Childhood Matters after becoming a parent for the first time in 2009 and realizing firsthand how wonderful-and how humbling-the work of parenting actually was.  With over eighteen years’ experience in early childhood education, a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development (2002) and a Master’s of Arts degree in Religion and Psychology (2006).  Rebecca loves to share with parents any wisdom and experience she has gained from working as a director, lead teacher, supervisor, parent educator, and teacher mentor in the field of Early Child Development.  She also loves to share with parents how to have compassion on themselves during the less-than-graceful parenting moments. She is humbled and inspired to accompany parents on this equally rewarding and challenging journey of parenting.

In 2002, Rebecca co-founded an English as a Second Language preschool in the Czech Republic (Sunny Canadian), developing curriculum, parent-teacher handbooks, and establishing policies and procedures.  After returning to the United States, she redesigned the MAS program (Mentoring for Academic Success), a Berkeley-based tutoring program for at-risk youth, and inaugurated monthly parent meetings on a range of topics.  After completing her master’s degree, Rebecca took a job as a director of a Head Start preschool in a homeless shelter in San Mateo, and then as a lead teacher, supervisor and art studio teacher at Pacific Primary School, a preschool located in San Francisco.  Since founding Early Childhood Matters in 2010, Rebecca has traveled around the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond (from New Orleans, LA to Melbourne, Australia) working with parents and teachers of young children to help them better understand and support them on their journey to nourish the minds and spirits of tomorrow’s world. 

Rebecca has three young children who challenge her, humble her, and every day deepen her understanding of children and the importance of the parent-child relationship. 

Rachel Altman

Play-and-Learn Explorers Facilitator

Rachel has been caring for children since her younger brothers were born. Inspired by her love for caring for them, she babysat throughout high school and went on to study human services with a concentration in children, families and early intervention at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. 

Throughout her college career, Rachel pursued a variety of experiences that enhanced her understanding of child development, family dynamics and caring for children. She worked in after school programs with elementary students using games to promote non-violent conflict resolution through a student organization called Peace through Play. She also worked at a variety of early childcare facilities, including a preschool at MIT where she taught in every classroom from infants to preschool. While studying Early Intervention, Rachel worked at Children's Hospital, shadowing an early interventionist and helping to co-lead a small playgroup for two-year-olds with special needs. Finally, she worked within the Boston Public Schools as a teacher's aide in a Special Ed classroom. 

After graduating, she moved to San Francisco to expand her horizons! She worked first as a toddler teacher at Holy Family Day Home, and then as a preschool teacher at Pacific Primary. While at Pacific Primary, Rachel became certified to teach yoga to children ages 2-7. She began her own yoga classes both privately as well as in small groups. She believes in the power of yoga and conscious body movement to cultivate mindfulness for young children, allowing for positive interactions with family, friends and the natural world! Since September, she has been nannying for two young girls (now 6 years old and 13 months old) and has loved watching them grow as well as deepening her understanding of family dynamics and parenting styles. This past June, Rachel co-led a summer camp in the Presidio for 15 children, focused on hiking, nature exploration and building with found natural materials. 

When she's not nannying, Rachel enjoys going to local farmers markets, cooking, and playing the piano.

Karin Appleton

Instructor, Play-and-Learn Facilitator

Karin Appleton has been working with children and families in a variety of settings for over 20 years. With an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education (1998), a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development (2003), and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (2006) Karin has supported families and held leadership positions in early childhood classrooms, the California public school system, and non-profit mental health organizations. 

Karin has enjoyed working with children since she was a child herself. Aside from babysitting at an early age, she began her career in early childhood education at the age of 17 co-conducting toddler playgroups. With a desire to parallel her college studies, she set out to gain hands-on experience with each stage of child development. She methodically spent 5 years teaching preschool, 5 years working at an aftercare program with school-age children, and 5 years working as a health educator and mental health counselor with teens. After gaining experience and a good understanding of each age group, Karin’s work came full circle. Appreciating that the formative years of early childhood lay the foundation for optimal human development, she decided to return to early childhood education. She took a position as a lead toddler teacher and parent educator at Crescent Park, a high quality Reggio Emilia based child development center in Palo Alto, California. 

After becoming a parent herself, Karin decided to focus solely on parent education. Utilizing all her years of experience and academic studies, she created curriculum and began teaching early parenting classes at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City, California before joining the team at Early Childhood Matters. Karin has a passion for guiding, supporting, and empowering parents so they can do the same for their children. When not teaching, you can find her enjoying local music, art, and nature excursions with her family. 

 Kellam Eanes, pictured with son Atticus

Kellam Eanes, pictured with son Atticus

Kellam Eanes

Director of Customer Relations and Marketing

Kellam Eanes has worked in children's media for over thirteen years. She holds degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication and Communications Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Project Management Certification from UC Berkeley. She became passionate about Early Childhood Matters after taking multiple classes and benefiting immensely from working with Rebecca in San Francisco. She is an active volunteer at an experiential learning/adventure school and is constantly on the path of learning all she can about early childhood education, play-based learning, and immersive nature play. She is the mother to an active Kindergartner, Atticus, and lives the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Judith Young

Instructor, Private Consultations

Judith Young has over 30 years of experience of working in public education.  Her education includes a Bachelor's degree in Music Education; a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education; a Master's degree in Social Work and a Master's degree in Educational Administration.  Judith has spent years supporting families and is passionate about guiding parents and children to have close and connected relationships.

The theme of her MSW thesis was developing a Pre-K through 8th grade curriculum for educating teachers and students how to prevent emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  The work of her thesis was used by a Task Force for Child Protection in four upstate New York Public School Districts as a guide for Personal Safety Lessons required by the New York State Educational Department.

While working as a Pre-K social worker, Judith became aware of the importance of early childhood education and intervention for all families.  She went out into the community making home visits with parents of all cultures and backgrounds, speaking at churches and service organizations about the need for more Pre- K classes and Head Start programs. 

Earning the respect of her community and school district, Judith became the director of Early Childhood in Newburgh, NY and then an assistant principal and principal. Being an administrator for over 15 years gave many opportunities to use and improve her skills with positive and effective discipline.

In 2009, Judith retired from her career on the East Coast and moved to San Francisco to join her son and family.  Starting in 2011, she worked as a Classroom Management Coach for the SFUSD.  Her task was mentoring new teachers in the art of classroom control.  While on this assignment, she also developed tools and curriculum to enhance classroom teachers' and administrators' skills with positive and effective discipline.

Even with all this education and rich working experience, Judith still feels her children and grandchildren have taught her the most valuable lessons.  "Just because you want to encourage and raise children with healthy bodies, minds and spirit, doesn't mean the skills come naturally. We, as parents and grandparents need to be open for learning and sharing our experience, strength and hope."