Dr. Anita Solarski

I was born in Manhattan, NY and grew up on Long Island where I later taught Kindergarten in the public schools. I moved to upstate NY, Plattsburgh, where I owned and operated a preschool for 3- 5 years olds and then opened and directed an employer-sponsored child care center for the local hospital for children birth to five. I then began work with the special education population by taking a position with the Association for Retarded Citizens. I began as the director of the early intervention program and then was asked to direct a number of additional programs that served families. I was placed in charge of the respite home, the Medicaid Waiver Services Program and the Family Services Program. I worked very closely with families and built a deeper understanding of the many challenges they face each day.

Since moving to Pensacola I have been teaching at UWF in the Prek/Primary teacher education program for 10 years. My research interest is service learning and I have been integrating service learning into my courses for four years. I have been working with the community to develop placements for my students that benefit the agencies as much as my students. I was lead faculty on a service learning grant to provide tutoring to students at Spencer Bibbs and the Fricker Center. I served on the organizing committee for the Florida Association for Service Learning in Teacher Education and now serve on the Board.

I have also provided training for the State for the Early Steps (early intervention) team training and will be teaching on-line courses for Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist certification that is now required by the State. As part of an Early Steps grant, I have developed parent booklets for what to expect as young children develop and suggestions for how parents can help. These are distributed to parents of children with developmental delays and have been purchased by other agencies throughout the State.

My experiences allow me to combine all of my interest; early childhood, special education, and service learning.