In 2019, Londyn Garner established an early childhood education-focused company called The Neighborhood Fun Leader to pursue her passion for working with kids and fostering their health and creativity.
She created a series of resources for parents and families to encourage creative learning. These resources include Get Up and Shine, a movement-based curriculum she created during the COVID-19 pandemic that teaches preschoolers to be physically active while learning.
“I know that kids are motivated by characters, so I created a character that would accompany me in my teaching. The character I created, Sunshine, is me when I was four years old,” Garner explained. “Sunshine and I take young learners on an adventure in each episode where learning becomes a never-ending journey.”
Garner decided to build on her experiences working with preschool-aged children by enrolling in the master’s program in Creative and Innovative Education (MACIE), housed in Georgia State’s College of Education & Human Development.
The MACIE program gives students a deeper understanding of children’s creative processes and how they can nurture young learners in various settings. These include businesses, nonprofits, the creative arts and community outreach organizations.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a traditional teacher, but I do believe that I am an educator who likes to make learning fun. When I read about the MACIE program, I felt like it was designed just for me,” she said. “I wanted to get my foot in the door in the field of education but create my own path, and that is exactly what MACIE had to offer.”
This semester, Garner and Laura Meyers, clinical professor and MACIE program coordinator, gave a presentation at The Graduate School’s inaugural Graduate Conference for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity on Garner’s work empowering children’s learning through movement.
This opportunity to discuss her business in a professional setting – combined with the courses she’s taken with like-minded classmates interested in children’s learning – has been a positive experience for Garner.
“In this program, I’ve learned to always fight for what’s right in education, that my voice matters and that I have the power to make a change,” she said. “I’ve never been in a learning space where I wasn’t uncomfortable or afraid to ask questions until I came to the MACIE program. From day one, my professors have made the class environment safe, respectful and fun.”
After graduation this fall, Garner plans to grow her business further, expand her knowledge about movement-based educational practices and find new ways to make a difference in young learners’ lives.
“I am hopeful that I will have a job that is uniquely made for me,” she said. “I wear many hats and I know my light shines bright, so I am in no rush to commit to anything until I know it’s the right fit.”
Story by Claire Miller