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.
Play-and-Learn Explorers Facilitator
Evelyn Nichols has been passionate about improving children’s educational and life outcomes for over 15 years. In her formal studies getting a Bachelor’s degree in Communication (2007) and a Masters of Education degree (2008), Evelyn focused on the power of language and project-based, relationship-based pedagogy to transform student outcomes and mindsets. Evelyn loves to share with parents and fellow childcare providers wisdom and experiences she has gained from working as a director, teacher, mentor, parent educator, and college counselor.
Evelyn has two young children who challenge her to be present and see the world with new eyes. She is humbled by the relentless work of parenting, and inspired by the courage and intention families she works with as they dare to parent differently then they were raised! She is in awe of the transformative power of parenting and teaching through connection.
Evelyn spent her early years teaching in elementary schools in San Diego county, and later was Director of Halstrom Academy, an alternative education school specializing in personalize, one-on-one education with a focus on hands-on learning, flexible scheduling, and real world project-based internships.
After moving to San Francisco and becoming a parent in 2013, Evelyn founded Mighty Bambinis preschool and childcare in her family’s home. Mighty Bambinis brought together Evelyn’s strengths creating a inspiring playscapes, devising intentional “curriculum,” mentoring teachers and families, and entrepreneurial spirit. Mighty Bambinis, a Reggio and RIE-inspired program, is one of San Francisco’s top 20 preschools and an observation site for RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) students.
Evelyn is a steadfast life-long learner who never stops taking courses (including every course offered by Early Childhood Matters) to dig deeper, grow, and hone her understanding and practices as a teacher and parent.
When she is not teaching, you can find her out at the beach or on a hike with her family, decluttering Konmari-style, woodworking and doing yoga.
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.
Director of Marketing and Customer Relations
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 seven year old, Atticus, and new baby Esme, and lives the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.