The Promise of Roberts Field
With a passionate devotion to understanding and perceiving the human being as first and foremost a creative being, the founding of Roberts Field stems from a belief that the fundamental offerings of our educational landscape should encompass art, creativity, critical thinking, big ideas, studio workshops, compassionate and mindful guidance and practice, and consistent and immersive connections with nature as integrated pillars of a complete education.
As humans, when we are nurtured in a building relationship with the whole and diverse sphere of the world, we are most saliently connected to the full capacity of self. When we are nurtured to take part in a vast and infinite field of learning, our growth is exponential, and our full potential as individuals and as community is heightened. This holistic education is essential to the development of inner depth, consciousness, and ability to thrive happily in life as a developed and constructive citizen of the world.
By elevating our expectation of children, we enrich and extend their perception of what they believe is possible to contribute to and achieve in life. By taking inspirational and invigorating academic standards and interweaving them with creative mediums and expanses of life, we uplift and enhance education and teach children to reach far within themselves and go joyfully, competently, and brilliantly into the world.
Khahtee V. Turner is the founder of The Roberts Field School. After founding and directing the programs of Studio Creative Play since 2003 , she was moved to extend the mission and philosophy of Studio into the elementary realm of education. Through partnering and consulting with extraordinary, progressive, education-based elementary school educators, Khahtee has been able to launch Roberts Field School, it's name derived from her late mother's name,
Graduates of The Roberts Field School are unique as intricately and expansively developed elementary school students. Their minds, hearts, and skills have been unified with their individual gifts as academic learners, creative people, and deeply reflective and compassionate young citizens. Our graduates perceive of themselves as active learners and citizens prepared and responsible to give back to society. They have a strong perception of the vastness and diversity of the world, art, and innovation that have shaped experiences across the globe. They understand the intrinsic capacity in all of us to be change-makers and agents of peace. They deeply appreciate diversity in all aspects of humanity around them, stand up for social justice, and seek out others who mindfully and generously observe, contribute, reflect, and apply themselves in their school community.
Graduating students of Roberts Field are creative, caring, and highly knowledgeable students. They desire to be challenged in order to reach their goals and propel themselves forward confidently in building all of their dreams and upholding the expectations and structures of their next learning environment.
Khahtee V. Turner, Founder & Director
Our Leaders & Staff
KHAHTEE V. TURNER is the Founder & Director of Studio Creative Play and The Roberts Field School. Khahtee is a community leader, an educational visionary, and a humanitarian and advocate for the propagation of the arts, creative enrichment, and compassionate awareness practices and offerings in early childhood. For the last 16 years at Studio—alongside artists, musicians, and educators—Khahtee has lead a unique, comprehensive, and transcendent community experience. Through its mission, Studio holistically nurtures the awakening and blooming of each individual’s voice and expressive capacity in the most sacred and salient time of formative development: early childhood.
Alongside the ongoing growth of Studio, Khahtee founded The Roberts Field School, a Kindergarten through 5th grade program, which she also directs. In the establishment of Roberts Field, she maintains her unwavering devotion to offer the community the tenets and practices of Studio through an interdisciplinary approach to elementary education. Khahtee has also taken her program worldwide to share these foundations of nurturing creative consciousness and interconnectivity with our global neighbors. She has taken educational experiences and resources to remote and underdeveloped areas of Mexico and Nepal, and has shared resources and global community workshops during her visits to Icelandic schools.
As Studio Creative Play Inc. extends its mission to offer peace, equity, and justice to many more learnings centers, this fall Khahtee begins in her role of Executive Director of SCP, launching the formal structure for SCP's new altruistic project, Peace and Equity in Education - Fall 2020. Khahtee can also be found spending fun times with her beloved eleven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter, adventuring in all that the world has to offer.
ROBIN PICKERING’s role as the Director of Programming and Venni Studio Supervisor gives her the opportunity to deepen her relationship with all things Studio and Roberts Field and to serve the Studio-RFS community, including families, children, and staff, on a daily basis. As a new addition to her current role, as the Venni Studio Supervisor, she looks forward to greater levels of connection and presence in the classrooms and strongly supporting the teachers logistically and philosophically in their fulfillment of the holistic mission of Studio.
She has been an active leader for Studio Creative Play in various capacities for over ten years, from editing content for the Studio Creative Play website, to helping produce educational videos and managing other large development projects. Over this decade plus of time, Robin’s work with SCP has also extended to global ports, such as traveling to Iceland and Mexico to further share Studio’s mission and curriculum with other schools, organizations, and communities, and to build ongoing partnerships with these groups.
Director of Programming
Assistant Director of Learning
JILLIAN ROSSITTO is thrilled to be returning for her fourth year at The Roberts Field School in her new role as the Director of Interdisciplinary Learning for the Roberts Field School. Jillian will collaborate with teachers to oversee the robust curriculum and offer daily guidance to both students and families within the RFS community. With over fourteen years of experience in education, Jillian holds an early childhood teaching certificate in both Connecticut and New York, a B.A. in Psychology from Salve Regina University, and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University. She was the recipient of the Connecticut Early Childhood Education Council Annual Scholarship and has presented at Columbia University Teacher’s College for the Inclusive Classroom Project.
Jillian feels tremendously lucky to work alongside such talented educators with the shared understanding that rich, thoughtful, and intentional experiences both inside the classroom and in the surrounding community of Brooklyn and New York City have the power to leave an indelible mark on each student. She understands that it is a privilege to have a hand in the transformations that happen when education is woven mindfully with creative artistic experiences and consistent exploration in nature during a child’s formative academic career. Because meaningful education thrives with a deep home to school connection Jillian is looking forward to forging powerful partnerships with the families of our RFS school community.
ANGUS DAVIDSON began his role as Assistant Director of Studio Creative Play and The Roberts Field School in 2018 and has been involved with the school since 2015 in a variety of roles, teaching in Studio Creative Play’s Venni Threes and Fours programs, and teaching music at all levels in the organization. He led the inaugural year of the Roberts Field Symposium program, an interdisciplinary arts class for elementary schoolers. His teaching experience has spanned ESL kindergarten and elementary school, music lessons, choral direction, and classroom teaching.
Angus graduated from Hampshire College in 2014 with a BA in music and a concentration in piano performance and conducting. Angus was a candidate for the Ottorino Respighi Prize in Conducting at the inaugural New York Conducting Workshop, and he attended the Yarn/Wire Institute at Stony Brook University in 2017. Angus brings elements of drama, music, and the outdoors to his work at Studio Creative Play and the Roberts Field School. He and Studio Creative Play teacher and RFS parent Gigi Chew co-founded Spark Arts, a summer program for children drawing on their love of art, music, and nature.
KYLE FERLIC ANTHONY has been with the Studio Creative Play community since 2012, and this year marks her fourth year with Roberts Field School as a first and second grade co-teacher. In the classroom, she works to create an environment conducive to imagination, curiosity, and exploration. Enamored with the world around her and constantly striving to learn more, Kyle hopes to engage her students and stir in them the same intrepid curiosity. She looks forward to fielding and asking questions, tromping through the park in all seasons, and weaving together a community in the classroom and out in the world.
Kyle graduated with a B.A. in Art History from Ohio State University in 2008, and continued on to earn her M.A. in Art Therapy from New York University. Kyle has worked with children in a school setting as an art therapist and has also worked in many communities in New York City as a teaching artist. As a practicing artist herself, and an ardent art and art history lover, Kyle enjoys weaving art across disciplines in a hands-on, immersive way. It is Kyle’s belief that no matter what path the child takes later in life, if immersed in the arts early on they will grow up viewing the world through a creative lens and approach challenges from a unique and flexible perspective.
1st & 2nd Grade Co-teacher
KIRSTEN BAKKEN Originally from the Midwest, Kirsten holds a Bachelor’s degree in French and history from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in linguistics from Michigan State University. After graduation, Kirsten moved to Chicago and served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Asian Human Services, where she fell in love with teaching and working with children. She taught English as a second language classes to adults and tutored elementary school students in the organization’s after school program, a job she adored.
After her time with AmeriCorps, Kirsten moved to Washington, DC, where she completed the Capital Teaching Residency, a teacher preparation program in the District. For seven years, she worked as a pre-k teacher at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, an incredibly vibrant, diverse, and inspiring community of students, teachers, and families. At Haynes, Kirsten worked with the school’s youngest students to develop their early language and literacy skills. She is endlessly fascinated with children’s many ways of seeing and representing their world through play, drama, art, and construction.
1st & 2nd Grade Co-teacher
3rd - 5th Grade Co-teacher
CHRISTIE BARRON believes strongly in the power of play. Through her years as an educator, she has found it to be the catalyst, if not the source, for children to make meaning of both their internal and external world. As a facilitator of learning, Christie guides her students to work as a community moving toward agency, activism, flexible thinking, empathy, curiosity, and innovation. She encourages children to come up with more questions than answers, and to commit to stay open to new ideas and possibilities that might arise on their journey together.
Christie worked within the public school system in NYC for eleven years in a range of school communities from The Neighborhood School, a progressive school in the lower east side, to an elementary school with 1,000 students in the Fordham section of the Bronx. During this time, Christie received a Master’s degree in Behavioral Disorders in Special Education. She chose to write and implement her thesis on the benefits of mindfulness meditation with at-risk youth in grades 3 and 4. It is through this experience where she uncovered her commitment to the whole child: body, heart, and mind. This year will mark her third year in Aquila alongside her co-teacher Jo.
Christie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education from Iona College and graduated with a Master’s Degree as a New York State Certified teacher from Hunter College. Christie is also a certified yoga instructor, poet, and a student of somatic experiencing.
JO BEST believes that children should be active participants in their academic, social, and emotional learning, and places a strong value on child-centered exploration. Working at Roberts Field has deepened her awareness of, and desire to facilitate, an interconnected curriculum that celebrates the value of the child as a whole. She strives to not only weave together different academic subjects, but also support and incorporate children’s growth as socially proactive and emotionally mindful human beings.
Before joining The Roberts Field School family, Jo worked at The Dalton School for three years, teaching both first and third grade. She also worked at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea and the Center for Architecture, teaching a variety of model-making programs for elementary and middle school children. Jo has become increasingly interested in the sciences, both to explore further in the classroom and expand in her own learning. This coming school year, she is excited to bring more science topics into the classroom and integrate a variety of hands-on activities and relevant curriculum connections that ignite students’ imagination and curiosity.
Jo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Art History from Colgate University, and graduated from Bank Street College of Education with a New York State Certification in teaching and a Master’s Degree in Museum Education.
3rd - 5th Grade Co-teacher
CAROLINE GUZMAN has been immersed in the joyful exploration and merry art-making of Studio Creative Play since 2011. This school year marks her fourth time serving the SCP and Roberts Field community as a Studio Terra Kindergarten teacher. Prior to that, Caroline acted as a Staff Supervisor for the Venni program and taught children from ages two through six. She greatly values the opportunities past and present to deepen her craft with the RFS team of educators — focusing on the use of play towards affording authentic occasions for academic discovery. She is a firm believer in the power of imagination, and gets energized every day by a kindergartner’s ability to manifest “the pretend.”
Caroline holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Connecticut College, where she also completed her Elementary Teacher Certification. When teaching, Caroline follows the credo that young minds are most active if their bodies are similarly free. In January 2012, she helped SCP to launch its Live Earth curriculum as a weekly lab in physical expression, spatial awareness, and creative dance. She is passionate about sparking a child’s kinesthetic understanding of new ideas and fostering movement as an integrated tool for comprehension in the classroom. Additionally, she feels very connected to the emphasis that The Roberts Field School places on outdoor investigation and a child’s access to nature.
Caroline welcomed her own child to the world this summer, and is reveling in the new role that motherhood has gifted her. She looks forward to introducing her infant daughter to students and families when she returns from Maternity Leave later this Fall.
ALEENA TURNER is delighted to be returning to Studio Creative Play, as an All RFS and Studio Support Teacher and Liaison. Outgoing and patient, she loves watching children share their experiences through creativity and is dedicated to supporting children in imaginative play while building on the joy and strength that comes from their peer relationships. In the classroom, she enjoys modeling kind acts and fostering communication skills that lead to productive outcomes in the children's friendships.
Aleena keeps a great sense of humor alive with both children and teachers, taking her time getting to know each friend individually. She enjoys seeing the children find their own ways of coming to a full understanding of nature, their communities, and how the world works, whether it’s through art, telling stories, or acting out ideas. Aleena also finds it fascinating to see how much can be learned from the children's own thoughts and questions.
As a native New Yorker who hails from East New York, Aleena is currently studying Fashion Design at Kingsborough College and particularly enjoys the hands-on experience of large scale painting, clothing design, and sketching. She is able to draw upon that creativity when engaging in art activities with the children in her class. She has been teaching and working with children for over 8 years and originally started her career with children as an infant teacher. It was from that experience that her passion for early childhood was ignited. She sees herself as a lifelong learner from both children and co teachers, and enjoys the opportunity to engage in reciprocal co-learning. When she is not teaching, designing, or painting you can find her singing, dancing, baking, engineering with kids in the neighborhood, or tinkering with her building materials. She is so thankful and excited to be returning to Studio!
LEIGH JOHNSON will be joining the Studio Terra coteaching team this year. A strong proponent of compassionate communication, she believes that children thrive when they are greeted by a larger community with love and respect, and are offered the freedom to explore, imagine, and create in safety. Born and educated in British Columbia, Canada, Leigh finished a B.A. in English Literature and French and completed her K-12 teacher certification at the University of Victoria before realizing her dream of moving to Paris, France—and later Istanbul, Turkey—for several years of linguistic and cultural immersion and adventure.
Leigh’s international teaching and facilitation experience includes workshop development and delivery with non-profit women’s and literacy organizations, as well as teaching and tutoring English language arts and ESL in both private and public schools. Leigh’s evolving artistic practice has led her to continued studies in diverse forms of creative expression, many aspects of which she looks forward to sharing with future Terra students. She is particularly interested in facilitating joyful learning experiences that promote the soft—and evermore essential—skills of communication, collaboration, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Honoring the Teacher
In the holistic culture and approach of our school, we seek to nurture and empower our teachers as capable and confident classroom leaders—both independently and collaboratively. A core tenant of our mission as a school is to facilitate the individual expression of our teachers’ strengths and passions as educators. Our goal is to allow these strengths and passions as educators to joyfully and naturally emerge as a guide in children’s learning.