Devin and Ellen are sisters in the season of motherhood, as well as post full-time teachers, who craved fun and creative things to do with their kids in their own community. They wanted a play space that not only felt like home, but also understood the developmental needs of the whole child. Six months after their first talk, Growth Spurts opened it's doors!
Ellen Darnieder - Owner/Co-Founder
Ellen received her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from National Louis University in Evanston and worked for several years as a preschool teacher in Wilmette before leaving the classroom to become an “at home mom”. During her time at home she had the privilege of sharing her talents and love of teaching with Special Gifts Theatre in Winnetka, where she served as their Educational Manager for four years. Currently, Ellen is the Owner and Executive Director of the beloved Summer Stuff Day Camps, which have been nurturing the growth and development of young children for over 35 years!
Devin McCue - Co-Founder
Devin received her BA in Communication Arts from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and went on to earn her MAT from Northeastern Illinois University. After teaching 4th grade for several years, Devin took on the roles of teacher and aide at Special Gifts Theatre, where she has been honored to work for the past three years. When school is out, Devin devotes her summers to curriculum development and building relationships with children and families at Summer Stuff Day Camps, where she teaches and works as a Special Concerns Coordinator. Devin is also the site director for Lake Shore Lacrosse and the Illinois Girls Lacrosse Association. In addition to these roles she serves as the assistant varsity coach for the girls lacrosse team at Glenbrook South High.
Cindy Ulrich - Music
Musical Connections was created by Cindy Ulrich in 1995 serving preschool, kindergarten and elementary programs. This unique music enrichment program allows self-expression, builds confidence and is innately loved by children. During each experience, children are actively engaged in learning through the use of music, puppets, sign language and movement and motion. Cindy has a degree from Central Michigan University in Elementary Education as well as a degree in Special Education, specifically working with children with emotional and behavioral needs.