Key School

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Cathy Walters

Faculty Information
Location(s) Lower School, Key School
Title(s) Lower School Pre-K
Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x395
Other Information

Cathy Walters is a Pre-K and a Key School global studies teacher in the Lower School and Key School. Cathy has been working at Carolina Day School since 1994. Her younger sons, Seth ‘04 and Mason ‘06 attended CDS from fourth and second grades, and her husband, Bob, taught English in the Upper School for nine years. Her oldest son’s wife, Kate Brown Walters, graduated from CDS in 1999. Her grandson Asher has been here since Pre-K and will be entering third grade in the fall of 2014. Cathy began her teaching career in a middle school special education classroom in 1977. Since that time, she has taught in public schools, private schools and even taught her three sons at home. She has also coached middle school and high school cross country and track for over 10 years, Odyssey of the Mind for five years, and the CDS Chess Club for six years. Cathy has received the Betty Lou Davis Award, the Melissa Ogden Award and the Golden Apple Award. She has presented at NCAIS twice and many times for CDS at the Pre-K Workshop and Luncheon for the Asheville community.  Nationally, Cathy competed in and won the position of 2009 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail. She presented at the Summer and Winter Iditarod Conferences in Anchorage and Willow, Alaska. Her culminating task in this position was to travel from Anchorage to Nome report on the 2009 race.  Her articles with accompanying photographs were posted on the “Teacher on the Trail” site of the larger Iditarod website. During her travels from Anchorage to Nome, she also visited the schools on the trail, most of them native schools, delivering books and making presentations.  

Get to know Cathy Walters: 

In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools?  At CDS, I am able to use my gifts and passions to create curriculum that appropriately meets the needs of the children I am teaching. This allows me freedom that I would not have in other educational settings. I can be more independent and strategic as a teacher, doing what I know is best to reach, inspire, and positively impact every child.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “There are several aspects of my job that I love at CDS, and they all center around positive relationships. I enjoy working in partnership with parents on behalf of their children; I have great respect for my fellow teachers, administrators and staff - our school has wonderful collegiality across divisions; and, I am passionate about working with children!”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “At CDS teachers are allowed to teach what they are passionate about. Our students see the passion of their teachers in every academic area - music, art, writing, math, reading, science, drama, and languages. I believe curious and courageous teachers help make curious and courageous students.”  
How would you describe your classroom? “My intent is to surround the children in beauty and embrace them in love each day. The Pre-K classroom is where children and teachers alike share the wonder of nature, the excitement of discovery, and the joy of play.  It is a place where children are guided to success through hands-on, experiential learning. The Pre-K Silver Circle is where The Golden Rule is practiced, allowing each child to experience peace, success, and deep and satisfying friendships, making many happy memories.”
What books and authors inspire you? “Dr. Jean Feldman is one of my very favorite early childhood authors. She shares innovative ideas and activities for a child-centered classroom.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.”  - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Teaching little ones is a daily adventure!”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “There are two immediate images that come to mind when folks think of me and Pre-K at CDS: monarch butterflies and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The children discover early on in their Pre-K year one of the wonders of nature as they watch the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly right in the classroom. The children watch this magic unfold, and then through stories, songs, YouTube videos, etc., they learn that these tiny creatures migrate to Mexico. To help the children understand this phenomenon we simulate our own monarch migration. The children create wings and antennae and wear them on a journey around our campus, where the middle school and high school students provide nectar to fuel our flying insects. I have also been dubbed the “Iditarod Lady” ever since I was awarded the honor of being selected as the 2009 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail. Through this month-long unit we study character education using the acronym RACE (the other name for the Iditarod is The Last Great Race on Earth) Respect and Responsibility, Attitude, Compassion, and Personal Excellence.  We use real stories from the race about men and women and their dogs to give memorable examples of what these traits look like.  We read stories, dramatize stories, sing songs, draw, and watch in real time each year’s race. My great adventure becomes the children’s adventure as their 4th grade buddies (huskies) pull them (the mushers) in our Annual CDS Iditarod. (This fun event is preceded by the Annual Pre-K Iditarod Presentation in the gym where the children sing their Iditarod songs to their parents and buddies.) These are unforgettable experiences for everyone. There really are miracles happening everywhere!”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “I have a passion, a need, to be out in nature. It is my time to reflect on the school day, talk to God, and to plan for tomorrow. Therefore, you will find me hiking, biking, or running in the beautiful mountains that surround Asheville daily!”
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “Two things come to mind. The first is that I believe every Pre-K unit should have music and movement. The CDS Pre-K program has it!  We have singing for information, singing for transitions, and singing for fun!  As Eric Jensen says in his book, Music with the Brain in Mind, “Music is a language that kindles the human spirit, sharpens the mind, fuels the body and fills the heart.”  The second thing I would like you to know is how important it is for children to spend time in nature. I agree with Richard Louv, in his work, Last Child in the Woods, that our children are losing that daily experience of playing outside that is necessary for healthy childhood development. Direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. In fact, there are so many benefits to playing outside that I incorporate a daily dose of enjoying the wonders of the great out-of-doors with my Pre-K friends. (I also lead several week -long hiking camps through the summer program offered at CDS for children in grades K-5.)”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “The elementary school I attended was highly structured, with an overabundance of rules and discipline. The focus was not on learning but on behaving. I never once felt like I was loved.  The social/emotional and educational atmosphere at Carolina Day School, anchored by our character education tenets at Carolina Day School is the exact opposite of what I experienced. The CDS experience allows every child the opportunity to be loved and appreciated for who he or she is. From this secure place, each child then takes off on a magical educational journey.”
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