We’re very thankful to have a group of talented directors teachers interact with your child daily at Kids Garden. We would love for you to get to know them.
Michelle Klaus, Director
Mount Pleasant Kids Garden
Michelle leads all activities at our Mt Pleasant, SC location and has been a part of the Kids Play Garden family from the beginning.
Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Alabama but grew up in Columbia, SC. Not too far from home.
How did you end up at Play Garden?
I moved to Charleston a little over two years ago, without a job lined up. I was ready for a change and to be by the beach. I was so fortunate to have found Maren and Play Garden! I was frantically looking for a teaching job and fell in love with the concept of Play Garden and the opportunities it provides for families. Once I started, I immediately knew it was the place for me!
What do you enjoy most about working here?
I love getting to know so many different families and their sweet kiddos! Play Garden provides such a fun and welcoming environment, promoting play and creativity. Not only do I get to witness such creative minds at work, but I also get to be a kid myself and learn from them as much as they learn from me. It has been AMAZING to see how much Play Garden has grown since I started here.
Any favorite memories so far?/What is the funniest thing a child at Play Garden has said to you?
That’s a tough one! My days are always full of laugher and I’ve had so many great memories at Play Garden so far. I once asked a child who the president of the United States was. He told me it was the Gamecocks..haha.
What is something funny or interesting about you?
If you don’t know, the philosophy of Play Garden is based around the Reggio Emilia approach. When I was in college, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy and had the opportunity observe in their preschools and elementary schools. It’s a beautiful place and I feel so grateful to have seen the approach firsthand from where it originated!
What did you want to be “when you grew up?”
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher! My elementary school teachers used to give me their old workbooks and I even had a huge chalkboard hanging up in my room. My stuffed animals were alway such good students.
Maren Anderson, Founder & Director
Charleston Kids Garden
What inspired you to create Kids Play Garden?
Maren Anderson, Play Garden founderI discovered a large need when trying to find a safe, stimulating, secure, and nourishing environment for my son unless it was at his Godmomma’s house. And she already has 3 kiddos! I saw an opportunity to combine my three greatest passions—education, the environment and holistic health—and help fellow parents in the process.
Why “Kids Play Garden”?
Kids learn best through play, and the name “Play Garden” encapsulates what our learning center is all about: a community space where parents can feel confident taking their kids, and where kids get excited about learning.
What’s something parents may not know about you?
I think a lot of the parents are familiar with my educational background: I have a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish and a Master’s in Education. But they may not know I was also the person who opened Charleston’s first Fair Trade shop, Global Awakening Market. Or that I have a degree in Holistic Health. And that I once left most of my material possessions behind to work on an organic farm in Costa Rica, where a typical day involved harvesting bananas, lighting candles for electricity and bareback horse riding over hills to use the phone or hopefully find a block of ice.