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Curious Minds welcomes new education director

LinnEarly childhood educator Linn Veen recently joined the staff at the University of Montana Western’s Curious Minds as the early childcare center’s director.

Veen comes to the center with 40 years experience in early childhood education including teaching, program administration and curriculum design.

She formerly was director of Purdue University’s child care program and served as a child development specialist for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Most recently, Veen served as the director of the Missoula Community School and education coordinator for Missoula Head Start.

Curious Minds employs a unique approach to learning that encourages children to learn through discoveries they initiate. These discoveries are explored via literature, math, science and art through the support of educators and university students. “This approach to learning is intended to instill a lifelong love of learning because, at an early age, the children become very invested and engaged in their learning,” said Veen.

Curious Minds is a National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited lab school. Enrollment is open to any family in the Dillon area, and “Best Beginning” scholarships are available to families who qualify.

For Montana native Veen, the decision to come to Dillon was easy. “I really wanted an opportunity to work with UMW’s Julia Bullard, who is a nationally recognized director of early childhood education programs, “ said Veen. “I feel fortunate to be able to work in Dillon and implement a shared vision for exceptional education for local children ages three to five, and for the university students who interact with them.”

 “I also will once again be able to serve as a teacher to not only young children but college students as well,” added Veen. “It is important to teach college students how to apply the theory they learn in course work in an actual classroom setting. This is where theory meets practice. It’s wonderful to watch the students and children interact and truly learn from each other.”

As director she will be responsible for development and implementation of all aspects of the preschool and will serve as the supervisor for all assistant teachers and students who work in the center.

Veen is a recipient of the Secretary of Agriculture Award of Excellence and received her undergraduate degree from Pacific Oaks College and a Master of Science in Education from Purdue University.

Curious Minds Early Care and Education Center at the University of Montana Western has served Dillon families for decades. Its director and lead teachers are early childhood certified and are assisted by teachers-in-training. The preschool underscores the importance of curiosity, friendship, fun, physical fitness, sound nutrition, collaboration, kindness and all within a warm, homelike environment. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. weekdays with the exception of some national holidays and university observances. For enrollment information, please call 683-7320.