Dr. Katharine Delavan

Dr. Katharine Delavan, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education

When it comes to early childhood education, Katharine Delavan is as passionate and devoted an instructor as they come. Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Mich., Katharine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan. She then attended Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. where she earned a Master of Education degree and a Ph.D. in early childhood curriculum.

While studying at the Reggio Emilia Schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, she learned the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education, which served as the basis of her dissertation.

For Katharine, education is "the key to individual freedom." This belief is what drew her to teaching and to early childhood education, in particular, a field that is still "new" in the United States. Katharine especially enjoys working with young children because, as she said, "in their eyes the world is new and exciting."

Before joining the faculty at LEC in August 2006, Katharine worked for ten years as a classroom teacher for Mom/Tot-1st grade. Earning her Ph.D., however, led her to realize that she could be a more effective advocate for early childhood education by teaching in higher education and preparing pre-service teachers. Now in her ninth year at the College, Katharine serves as associate professor of early childhood education. She teaches an impressive number of education courses as well as several topic-specific courses, focusing on the Reggio Emilia Approach and on local Underground Railroad history.

Katharine has a deep interest in the rich history of the Underground Railroad and women's suffrage in Painesville. "Many people are not aware of the courageous and inspiring people who fought against slavery and devoted themselves to helping freedom seekers along their route to freedom," she said. "Our local history is an invaluable educational resource." Katharine has presented this history at several national conferences as well as for numerous groups, and she provides tours of local sites.

Katharine's biggest passion, though, lies with teaching education. In and out of the classroom, she makes every effort to provide LEC students with real-world experiences, especially in teaching children to read.

From 2007-2010, Katharine worked with the former Maple Elementary principal and school counselor to implement TEAM-UP, an afterschool reading tutoring program that paired LEC student volunteers with a 3rd and 5th grader. This program involved bringing Maple Elementary students to LEC for a tour, a book fair and an end-of-year graduation. Katharine also embedded Project More tutoring at Maple Elementary with two reading courses for early childhood and special education majors.

From 2012-2014, Katharine brought Lake Erie pre-service teachers to Columbus to participate in the Ohio Performance Assessment Pilot Project in order to expose them to relevant state research programs. "Our pre-service teachers were the only pre-service cohort to participate in this important study," she said, which gave them exposure to important new testing standards being implemented in Ohio.

In addition to these efforts, Katharine has also been the driving force behind the Storytelling Harvest, a collaborative project between LEC early childhood majors and local elementary schools. This past year, she was awarded a Target Literacy Grant to offer the event in Willowick at Royalview Elementary School.

Katharine's work doesn't end when she steps away from the classroom. For instance, she serves as an Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Network Regional Leader of English Language Arts. She also organizes and implements the Million Word Marathon at Royalview Elementary School, which encourages children to read one million words outside of school in the span of a year. Katharine's own children attend school at Royalview, and she serves as a member of the building leadership team.

For students considering becoming pre-service candidates at Lake Erie, Katharine has several pieces of advice. "You are never finished learning; there is always more to learn," she said. "Never take yourself too seriously!" Also, "All children can learn. It is the teacher's responsibility to meet the needs of the student, not for the student to meet the needs of the teacher."