New Bedford Children believes that the true purpose of early childhood education is to support the child’s whole development toward becoming active and engaged members of our society. Our primary objective is to instill a life-long love of learning in New Bedford children.
We believe that schools for young children should be more than the simple “daycares,” as they are often perceived to be, and can offer more than just preparing them for primary school. We believe children’s experiences at school should be rich with complexity so as to promote deep thinking and learning.
Our work is deeply grounded in research, especially in the fields of child development and neuroscience. At New Bedford Children, we view every child as capable, respect the importance of this critical time of development and work to promote the field of early childhood as a whole. And, we aspire to foster those same sensibilities in others.
We believe that children’s’ school experiences are important to our community as a whole. To invest in early childhood is to invest in our city, in our families, our people, and in both our future and our present. We believe it is the responsibility of our community, not just parents, to generate and facilitate these rich learning opportunities for our youngest citizens.
It is inherent in our philosophy that we grow with the New Bedford community and adapt to serve this beautiful community. Consequently our strategies and goals will change over time to meet the needs of the people in our city. However, no matter what, New Bedford Children is here to partner with the New Bedford community to promote and ensure every child’s right to a high-quality early childhood education.
To be a beacon for children and families in New Bedford by establishing a network of schools committed to nurturing the optimal growth and development of children from birth to age six.
Who We Are
Marissa Fay-Martin is the founder of New Bedford Children. She began her journey toward founding the organization in 2011 when she took a summer job working at a child care center that served children from Dartmouth and New Bedford. She fell in love with the children and desired more for them. She devoted the next 9 years to learning all she could about child development and early childhood education. During this time she was introduced to the work of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and again fell in love. In 2017 she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and in 2019 received her Masters degree in Education and Human Learning at the University of Colorado Denver through the Boulder Journey Schools’ Teacher Education Program. In 2018 she traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy as part of her studies for the Teachers and Professors Study tour. For four years Marissa worked as a teacher, and studio art teacher at various high quality early childhood centers. Marissa is driven by her belief that high quality childcare is a birthright of ALL children, not only for wealthy and privileged communities. She feels called to share what she has learned with the New Bedford community, the city that she calls home.
Allegra Taylor is an early childhood consultant in Cambridge. She has had a diverse career in early childhood education and child development, having taught in several states and in the United Kingdom. Allegra has been working in the field of early childhood for 15+ years as a teacher, mentor, director, parent educator, and consultant. Allegra strives to support children, families, and teachers to feel successful during the often challenging times of early childhood. Allegra holds a Masters degree in Child Development from Tufts University and a Bachelors degree in Child Studies and Psychology from Bennington College. Allegra lives in Cambridge with her husband and her cat, Ike.
As a proud mother of two young boys, Alicia is currently the Controller at Pluralsight, a tech skills platform, that advocates quality education as a basic human right. With over two decades of both public and private accounting and a licensed CPA in the state of Massachusetts since 2012, Alicia is excited to serve as Board Treasurer.
Laura has been learning from children for most of her life. She sees young children as competent, joyful, innately curious, capable of complexity, and indeed remarkable. She believes that children have an inherent drive to understand their world and that in early years children have a keen ability to create meaningful learning experiences through legitimate questioning and research.
Laura has discovered a profound connection with Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences; the ongoing educational experience in Reggio Emilia and Pistoia, Italy; and the work of David and Frances Hawkins, which involves the contemporary experiences of the Hawkins Centers of Learning based in Boulder, Colorado. These influences have deeply informed her work with children and with those who work alongside children.
Laura earned her bachelors and masters degrees through independently designed programs at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also holds a Montessori credential for children ages two-and-a-half through six.
Lesley Guertin has been in the Early Childhood field for over 25 year. She has worked in many diverse areas; private preschool programs, Head Start and public school. Her concentration is children at risk, special education and intervention. She has also been a state and national advocate for early childhood education for the last 15 years. Lesley has conducted many trainings for educators in the past on various topics of need.
Lesley currently resides in Fall River with my husband and four cats. She has 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
Sean Carney, Esq.
Sean Carney is a native of New Bedford and has lived in the City exclusively, excepting his college years. Sean attended high school at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech before enrolling at Providence College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in Theatre. After graduating from Providence College in 2013, Sean was accepted to Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island. There, he focused his studies on admiralty and maritime, business associations, and environmental law; graduating cum laude. Sean is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and serves as In-House Counsel for the Boston-based commercial real estate brokerage firm, Payson Smith Holbrook, Inc.
Prior to his professional development, Sean earned nearly ten years of childcare experience at the Mattapoisett YMCA. There, he worked his way through the summer camp and afterschool care curriculum from junior camp counselor to the camp’s program director and site coordinator. He now chairs the Mattapoisett YMCA Board of Advisors and sits on the Board of Directors for YMCA Southcoast. Sean is also the President of the Mark J. Fitzsimmons Memorial Scholarship Fund, an organization dedicated to producing and distributing funds to high school seniors for use in higher education or trade schools.
Sean is very excited to serve on the Board of Directors for New Bedford Children, and focuses his efforts on nonprofit compliance, fundraising, and creating strategic partnerships with various members of the Greater New Bedford community.