About Us

A little about REM Learning Center's Creative Learning Program

Jacqueline Moreno Ph.D.

Jacqueline Moreno is an Administrator/Developmental Psychologist at REM Learning Center, a private NAEYC accredited preschool in Miami Florida, and the head of the Play Make Share Program. Dr. Moreno has a Florida Child Care and Education Program Director's Credential - Advanced Level with VPK Endorsement. Dr. Moreno is also an Adjunct Professor at FIU, in the Education Department, teaching classes in Child Development.

Jacqueline received her B.A. in Psychology (Summa Cum Laude through the Honors College) in 2000; her M.S. in Psychology in 2004; and her Doctoral Degree in Lifespan Developmental Psychology in 2007, all from Florida International University (FIU). As a Graduate Research Assistant, working under a NIMH funded grant, at the Child Anxiety & Phobia Program (CAPP) at FIU, she conducted comprehensive and diagnostic evaluations, and cognitive-behavioral therapy treatments (individual, family, and group) with children ages 5 to 16 years old. Other tasks also included supervision of undergraduates and overseeing the data collection, entry, and analysis, which were later used as part of her Dissertation. Jacqueline had a particular interest in the possible influence and/or role of fathers in their child’s anxieties and phobias. During her time at CAPP, Jacqueline published 2 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and 3 conference papers.

Dr. Jacqueline Moreno worked as an Ethnographer in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort in Miami Legacy for Children, conducted by Research Triangle International (RTI). Dr. Moreno also served on the ELC (Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade County) Curriculum Task Force, helping to create the review process, and reviewing curricula for approval.

Ryan Moreno Ph.D.

Ryan Moreno is currently an Administrator/S.T.E.M. Educator at REM Learning Center where, among his other duties, he serves as the Makerspace/ School Fab Lab Manager for the Play Make Share Studio. He holds a Florida Child Care and Education Program Director’s Credential – Advanced Level with VPK Endorsement.

Ryan received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 both from Florida International University. During his time at FIU’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering Ryan served as a research assistant and participated in a variety of projects. Including overseeing the construction of a Design, Build, and Test Project test section which was part of an NSF funded project designed to provide undergraduate students with early hands-on engineering design experiences. Ryan was also a member of FIU’s 2005 Solar Decathlon Team, a global competition held by the U.S. Department of Energy where teams assemble highly energy-efficient and completely solar-powered homes in a "solar village" on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During his time at FIU Ryan also published 2 peer reviewed journal papers, 3 conference papers and received a patent in the area of scalable heat transfer enhancement. In 2005 Ryan was selected to participate in the 2005 NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Research Opportunities at Kennedy Space Center. It was during his time at NASA that he became aware of the growing concern over a shortage of graduates in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and felt that he could do his part to help close the gap from an early age.

Barbara Valdes

Ms. Barbara Valdes is the lead teacher of Orange Door and a Co-Teacher in the Play Make Share Studio at REM Learning Center. Ms. Barbara joined REM in 2006 but has over 20 years of experience working in the field as a VPK lead teacher, toddler teacher and infant teacher. Ms. Barbara’s credentials date back to 1992, when she received an Early Childhood Education Certificate from Miami Dade Community College. Since then Ms. Barbara has acquired a CDA Child Development Associate, an Associate’s Degree from Miami Dade College and a B.S. in Child Development from NOVA Southeastern University and is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Early Learning Literacy at Nova Southeastern University. In 2010 Ms. Barbara was awarded the Terri Lynne Lokoff/ Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award for her dedication and her excellent work in the field of Early Childhood Education.

Victoria O-Farrill

Victoria O-Farrill holds an A.S. degree from Miami Dade College and is presently pursuing a B.S. in Child Development at Florida International University. Ms. Victoria enjoys athletics, specifically basketball and track and field. Ms. Victoria is a proud alumni of R.E.M. Learning Center, and has returned to her roots to help inspire the same life long love of learning which was instilled in her, through creating and facilitating hands on active learning experiences.

Walker Pauslen (Summer 2013 Artist in Residence)

Walker Paulsen is an alumni of R.E.M. Learning Center since the year of 2000. He has a strong background in Art and is currently studying as a student at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida. Walker has experience teaching photoshop, drawing and painting to inquiring students of varying age ranges. He is an aspiring Game Designer and wishes to work as a conceptual artist for games as an end career goal. Walker is an extremely dedicated and talented artist. You can see some of his work on his blog wpaulsen.blogspot.com.

Play Make Share is a program at REM Learning Center which investigates how the integration of methods such as design thinking, systems thinking, computational thinking, play, making, and tinkering within both formal and informal learning environments can be used to introduce 21st Century Skills and inspire a lifelong love of learning at an early age.

Yes and No...While we are introducing concepts at the core of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education we are also integrating techniques being developed by the current S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts + Design, and Math) initiative and the maker movement to combine the arts, design, and making with S.T.E.M. subjects. So you can think of it as a science lab/design studio.

Our approach uses three phases.

First, we create safe experiences for children, families and teachers to engage in multiple forms of play while they learn about and discover tools, technologies, and concepts that they are generally not exposed to in a traditional classroom environment.

Second, in the spirit of Constructivism and Challenge-Based Learning, we present design challenges, problems and/or prompts. We encourage everyone to work in teams, making creative use of the tools, technologies, and concepts they have been playing with, to design, create, and make their own solutions extending thier creative play into the physical world.

Third, we provide opportunities and encourage everyone to share both their thought process and what they have made with others using multiple modes of expression. The goal of this exercise is to provide an open forum for both reflection and feedback that will both inform their future play and inspire others.

Our current program is aimed at providing these experiences for children from age 4 until 1st grade. Our program is also exploring how to introduce these concepts to even younger students. There is also plans for expanding this into other programs such as afterschool programs, family workshops, and teachers workshops which would give us the opportunity to work with children, and children at heart, of all ages.

The Makerspace

We have transformed our B7 classroom into the Play Make Share Studio. This is Makerspace where we have created a safe environment for children to engage in multiple forms of play while they learn about, discover, and put to use tools technologies and concepts that they are generally not exposed to in a traditional classroom.

The Fab Lab

Our Fab Lab is a space where some of our more advance equipment is housed. While the equipment is available for demonstration to the students it is only trained teachers and lab staff who operate the equipment. Some of the tools that we have available for school projects include:

  • Epilog Laser Engraver
  • Shopbot Desktop
  • CraftROBO Vinyl Cutter
  • Ultimaker 3D Printer