StarSong LifeWays Child Care
The program is a licensed family child care home in North Boulder, conveniently located two blocks southeast of Broadway and Linden. The home is on a quiet street and has a wonderful backyard with grass, natural bushy areas, "fairy woods," sandbox, playhouse, and a large deck. Indoors, there is a den that is dedicated to the children, as well as kitchen, dining room, and living room space that are also used.
StarSong LifeWays Child Care continues the work of Faith Baldwin (http://joyfultoddlers.com/) and Rahima Baldwin Dancy (author of You Are Your Child's First Teacher), who started Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program in this location in 2008. Rainbow Bridge was "retired" and became StarSong in August 2012. StarSong has been a licensed child care home for 8 years: 7 years as a Large Family Child Care Home, with an Infant/Toddler Home license for one year, and becoming an Experienced Provider Home in 2020, which gives more flexibility around ages and ratios. Our former, resident animal friend in some of the pictures was sweet Ozzy dog (Boxer/American Bulldog), who loved to sleep in the sun and snore big snores. RIP Ozzy (8/31/19).
Julie Behnken (formerly Julie Zacharias), Director and Primary Caregiver: Before starting StarSong, I spent three years in the LifeWays Toddler program at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. Before BWK, I worked with toddlers at a more traditional, full-day child care center, also here in Boulder, which is where I felt I belonged with young children, but needed a different environment. I discovered Waldorf education as parent when seeking a good fit for my son's schooling (he was 7, and how he's 18!), found the LifeWays model of care, and thought to myself, "It would be so great to do THAT in early childhood!" My work in a Waldorf early childhood environment has been fantastic, and I have now found my calling. My experience as a parent and teacher led me to LifeWays and I am honored and blessed to work with and support very young children and their parents on their journey together.
My path to this work has been varied, having worked as a fashion designer, technical writer, college instructor, elementary Montessori classroom assistant, and toddler/early childhood teacher. I attended college at the University of North Texas, earning a BFA in Art and then a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies. I do love to learn, and I was excited to complete my LifeWays Early Childhood and Human Development Training in June 2012. I love the philosophy of “life as the curriculum,” have found joy in doing daily tasks, singing and gardening with children, and love to knit and eat good, organic food!
In June 2014, I enjoyed Touchpoints Training, an individual level training for early childhood professionals, based on T. Berry Brazelton's Touchpoints approach. It strengthened my commitment to relationship-based care and provided tools for me to better partner with you, the parent, in your child's development and to support your relationship with your child. Over summer 2018, I completed a 60-hour RIE Foundations training in Denver (the first time to be offered here!). RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) is a beautiful model of care and respect for infants and toddlers (see RIE.org for more info on the RIE philosophy, which I first learned about in my LifeWays training).
As a licensed child care provider, I continually seek opportunities to learn more and ensure my qualifications are up-to-date (including CPR, First Aid, etc.), and tend to complete more than the required 15 hours of continuing education every year.. I've taken the Expanding Quality for Infants and Toddlers (EQIT) class, and in 2014 and 2017 (a 3-year certification), the program became rated Level 2 in the new Colorado Shines program with future efforts toward a higher rating, while maintaining the integrity of the LifeWays method. StarSong is a LifeWays Representative Site.
Special thanks to Alyssa Kapnik Samuel for many of the photos on this website.