Susan Bernstein

Hello Stepping Stones Community! My name is Susan Bernstein (she/her) and I am excited to be Portage Park’s Education Director. I am looking forward to supporting our families, teaching team, and staff as we grow our newest community at Stepping Stones to be full of passion for providing you and your children the best you can find in a nature-based, play-rich learning environment with care methods that foster the autonomy and growing individualism of every child who comes through our open doors.

I am coming to you from our Lincoln Square location, where I have been an educarer in many classrooms. It has been a wonderful journey here these past few years. Previously, I joined Stepping Stones at the Logan Square home daycare as the wonderful Lincoln Square and then Logan Square centers were opened. Watching Victoria Hilton bring her vision of providing a safe, loving, and creative space for children to grow into curious learners and compassionate young citizens where they can fully engage in environmental learning has been inspiring. I am excited to bring to Portage Park an early childhood education and care space where you all can know you’ve made the best decision for your little ones.

I am passionate about nature-based and eco-conscious childcare and early education and focus my time with young children and families around respectful, responsive, reciprocal, research-based practices.

I’ve provided care and supportive education to Chicago’s little ones (newborn through preschool-age children) and their families for the last 20 years. I’ve enjoyed leading parent-child classes indoors and out in nature as well as coaching programs for families, educarers, and childcare centers. My academic background includes Depaul University’s ECE degree with an endorsement in Special Education and a concentration in Art. I also have had an IL Teaching Certification for Birth through 3rd grade, an IL ECE Credential Level 5, and an IL Director Credential Level 1. I have been inspired learning about Dr. Emmi Pikler’s research on infants and young children through coursework provided by the Pikler Institute via Pikler USA and Magda Gerber’s Resources for Infant Educarers. I am an avid researcher and have focused my most recent attention on early intervention & assessment, pediatric health & nutrition, pediatric natural physical development, and childhood mental health.

Outside of my work with families and educarers, I prefer to be outside gardening, hiking with my family and dog at forest preserves, and investing my time in my own art in the mediums of paint, pencil, and writing poetry. I love visiting museums and art galleries as well as exploring different Chicago neighborhoods and suburban nature areas, restaurants, and live music.

It will be so wonderful to meet you all and support you on your journey of raising and watching your lovely little ones grow in our Portage Park community.