Presidential Award of Excellence
Early Childhood Teacher
Child Study and Development Center
“At the center, children are exposed to many experiences, including painting, singing songs, and playing music, which are all pieces of larger long-term investi-
gations,” Cavicchi says.
How does an early childhood teacher raise her own children?
According to Nicole Cavicchi, her family decides things together, and that includes their two-and-a-half year old daughter, Ella. “Trent and I want to share her voice and opinions in our lives,” she says.
Cavicchi says that Ella is very easygoing and loves to snuggle and “hang out.” She attends school where her mother works, at UNH's Child Study and Development Center (CSDC), and is in the toddler classroom. “At the center, children are exposed to many experiences, including painting, singing songs, and playing music, which are all pieces of larger long-term investigations,” Cavicchi says.
Cavicchi is known to be passionate about her work with the CSDC, and often goes beyond her role as a kindergarten teacher to educate and lead others. She mentors student interns, presents at conferences, and hosts conferences and workshops. In 2001, together with her classroom partner, Karen Dubois Garofalo, she traveled to Italy to visit the renowned city of Reggio Emilia.
“We were part of a study tour of 250 people representing 18 countries,” she explains. “Our curriculum and philosophy are inspired by Reggio Emilia. It's famous as a community that embraces children and early childhood. They recognize that children have thoughts and ideas and are able to learn and discover. Children are part of the culture there, and are very visible in the community. Everywhere you look there's evidence of children.”
Cavicchi came to UNH in 1992 as an undergraduate, completing a B.S. in Family Studies in 1996 with a young child concentration and psychology minor. In 2002, she completed her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in special education, also at UNH. She's frequently asked to present to undergraduate classes in the Family Studies department, and currently serves on two committees with the CSDC–the Web site committee, and the 75th anniversary committee.
And she is active in her community. Each year she organizes the breast cancer walk—“Making Strides”—and helps the CSDC team raise funds for charity. She recently began serving on a committee to promote early literacy for the town of Barrington, where she lives.
Cavicchi says she was honored and amazed to receive the Presidential Award of Excellence. “They surprised me. They found a way to have all 17 children in my class come, and President Hart invited them to join me up on stage. It was so moving.”
- Mary Peterson