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The Early Literacy Resource Center for Southern Arizona

Gabriela Pierson Takes Her Cues from the Children

  Gabi and her kids plant
vegetables in the Peace Garden.

Some people just always know what they want to be when they grow up. (And they stick to it!) Gabriela heard her calling from a very young age. As early as middle school, with the help of her mother, she was running a summer camp. In a very close Nogales community, Gabi and her mother planned regular cooking, arts, and playful activities for a group of her younger sister’s friends.

“Becoming an early childhood educator has changed my life,” said Gabi. “I see things now through the eyes and purity of a child.”

Because Gabi had struggled to learn to read herself, she was especially interested in children who need differentiated and individualized approaches to early literacy and reading. She worked with the America Reads Program then went on to receive a dual bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Northern Arizona University. The education program partnered with a local elementary school, which gave her the opportunity to plan curriculum early on. Next stop was the Ocotillo Learning Center in Tucson’s Sunnyside Unified School District, where Gabi has been for the last five years.

Jennifer with Cactus  
Not yet a teenager herself, Gabi
starts her first summer program.



Her most valuable education, Gabi has said, comes by way of the children themselves.
“Observing what they say and do has a profound effect on my understanding of the children and how I plan as an educator.”

Gabi is especially fond of MWFB’s Promoting Peace Through Picture Books

“If a child is not at peace with himself or herself, it’s hard for them to have the social-emotional development to reach out to others,” she said. The Peace books and activities have been powerful tools to build our classroom community and impact the social-emotional development of my 4-year-olds.”

For example, the children return to the nurturing role exemplified in “Elizabeti’s Doll,” weeks and months after the initial reading.



“If a child is not at peace with himself or herself, it’s hard for them to have the social-emotional development to reach out to others.”

‑ Gabriela Pierson

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3955 E. Fort Lowell Rd., Suite 114
Tucson, AZ 85712

Phone: (520) 721-2334