|Ericka Shannon joined Mount Vernon this year as a member of the Performing Arts faculty, focusing on Preschool, following several years as a teaching artist at various schools and preschools.|
Ericka grew up in Atlanta with a love of dancing; she danced professionally for a decade in Nashville, Lexington, and Augusta and still teaches dance today. She was always interested in outreach and the arts in general and, over time, found herself drawn increasingly more frequently to the school environment and became especially fascinated with the similarities between the preschool and high school senior years, the ‘bookends’, as she calls them. Ericka was intrigued by how older students tend to light up when interacting with ‘the littles’ and how both age groups face similar milestones and challenges, only in the context of their educational and developmental levels.
At Mount Vernon, the Preschool Performing Arts curriculum weaves in social-emotional learning, math concepts and patterns, and elements of language arts. For example, for Hispanic Heritage month, students learned about Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who drew numerous portraits of feet, as she was chronically injured and had a difficult time moving. Through these portraits, children tuned into how to walk in their space in a meaningful way, authoring their own ‘foot art’ while enjoying the sunshine in the Lower school courtyard. As part of the same ‘feet and pathways’ series, the kids also enjoyed an in-person Flamenco performance, focusing on the differences in movement between half notes, whole notes, fast beats, and slow beats.
Ericka loves being a connector and relishes in the integration and collaboration that can be seen throughout the faculty, curriculum, and activities at Mount Vernon. In her free time, she loves walking through the area parks, spending time with her five children, and directing a youth dance company. Ericka also has a funny side, with includes bubble gum addiction (the sugar kind!) and singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing in all public spaces. Welcome to Mount Vernon, Ericka!