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Teach With Us

Work in a Continuity of Care Model

The Explore and Discover staff is made up of caring and knowledgeable teaching professionals, each with an educational background in early childhood education and hands-on teaching experience. We provide teachers with exciting professional development opportunities each year to maintain program excellence. Staff turnover is low and allows children to develop consistent and strong relationships with their caregivers.


The bonds between young children and their caregivers take years to develop and should be nurtured and valued. Our staff maintains these relationships, moving with children in their caregiving groups when the children are ready to change classrooms. We refer to this system as “Continuity of Care”. Staying with groups of children also enhances the relationships formed between caregivers and parents.

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Top 10 Reasons to Join our Team


We have an incredible community of kids and families


We have a small, tight teaching team


We offer competitive pay


We care about your professional development with 5 building professional development days per year including a staff retreat


Our benefits lead the industry

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Our parents are our partners in the cooperative model


We offer 8 hours of vacation per month + ~10 hours of built-in vacation days.


We use an Emilio Reggio style curriculum


We spend so much time outside!


We support each other as a community for the children!

We are always hiring

We offer a $1000 sign-on bonus. For more information on the position click to learn more. Interested in joining the team? Please email your resume to and a member of our administrative team will be in touch shortly.

Meet Our Staff


Emily (Emmy) Lichtenstein, Executive Director
With E&D Since September 2014

​I'm a Boulder Colorado native who has lived within 30 miles of my childhood home my entire life. My mom, dad, and brother still reside in Boulder while I now live in Arvada to be closer to work. I am a dog lover at heart and enjoy camping, hanging out with friends, swimming, doing puzzles, and a good old game night. My dog Toby keeps me active as he loves to go on adventures, to the dog park, and most importantly lots of long walks.  It took me a few years to decide what I truly wanted to do, but after getting a job in childcare back in 2005, I quickly realized that I wanted to work with young children for years to come. I then enrolled in college courses to earn my Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education. After completing my AA, I knew I wanted to be a Director/ Administrator and had dreams of having a center of my own. After getting my AA degree, I wanted to learn more from an administrative perspective and continued to further my education, in Human Development and Family Studies. During my time in school, I was a nanny for six years for three great children who were 3 months, 3 years, and 4 years old. Now, years later they are still a huge part of my life.  I am currently the Executive Director at Explore and Discover and have been since 2016. Before taking over as Director, I was the Assistant Director/ lead teacher of a caregiving group from 2014 to 2016. I love being the Executive Director of this community and hope to continue to help E & D grow to its full potential and provide quality childcare to the Wheat Ridge area. ​ At times it seems surreal that I have spent over a decade teaching young children, but I am more than ecstatic to have found my true calling in life. Being a director working with children, teachers, and parents, while continuing to better my community is a true passion of mine that will continue to grow each day. Being able to be a part of the early childhood field and seeing the relationships you build with children is priceless.


Becca Birkeland,
Assistant Director

With E&D Since November 2020

I am a Minnesota native and I am honored to be a part of the Explore & Discover teaching team. I have always wanted to be a teacher in some capacity, so I put myself in situations where I could be around children as I ventured into adulthood – babysitting, teaching swimming lessons, going to college for early childhood education, and eventually earning a Master of Arts degree in Education and Human Development. In 2017, my ideas about teaching and children’s role in education shifted dramatically when I first worked at a Reggio Emilia-inspired childcare center. I appreciate that the Reggio Emilia philosophy sees children as strong and capable and encourages teachers to follow children’s curiosities. A few of my favorite things are iced coffee, sparkles, sunshine, and comedy.


Rhianna Hanson

Continuity of Care Teacher

With E&D Since May 2017

I am a Colorado native and have always loved children. I was the child that always brought my baby doll everywhere. I am an avid reader and enjoy listening to music and watching movies. I have earned three certificates and my AA Degree from Red Rocks Community College. I plan on continuing my education in the future but presently I am excited to focus on my work with children. I look forward to watching children grow, learn, and become their own little people with their own personalities.


Marisol Meza

Continuity of Care Teacher

With E&D Since June 2018

I was born and raised in Denver Colorado. I always wanted to be a high school art teacher but life happened and I ended up going to Aveda Institute to become an Esthetician. After graduating, I realized my main passion was working with children. I started off working with Colorado Sub Agency, & that lead me to Explore and Discover.


Loren Scott

Continuity of Care Teacher

With E&D Since July 2022

I am 22 years old and have lived in the same house since I was born. I spent my childhood playing soccer, snowboarding, and playing outside with my friends. When I started high school, I became extremely passionate about child care. Junior year, I started volunteering during my off blocks at the local church preschool and knew I wanted to work with kids. After I graduated, I started working at a preschool and began classes at Arapahoe Community College in Early Childhood Education where I eventually earned my associate's degree. I hope to continue my education by working towards my Bachelor's degree. After working with young children, I have gained a huge appreciation for the very young ages and hope to inspire others with the knowledge gained from experience. In my free time, I enjoy snowboarding and traveling the world with friends and family. During the next five years, it is my goal to travel to 3 new countries I have not been to before.


Jo Thomson

Continuity of Care Teacher

With E&D Since July 2022

Hi! I’m so excited to be part of Explore & Discover! I am a Denver native who loves singing and playing guitar, crocheting, listening to music, playing pool, and spending time with my friends. I started working with young kiddos at the age of 14 helping my mom with music classes and summer camps, then I started babysitting. At 15 I was a teaching assistant at a local center helping out in classrooms with children 1-6 years old. After High School, I worked as a server at a restaurant, as well as a barista, but realized that my passion was working with kids, and that’s what led me to E&D. I value being a learning guide for the kids while forming strong bonds, and I learn from them every day. E&D is so welcoming and I’m so happy to be part of this community!


Kaelin Pate

Continuity of Care Teacher

With E&D Since November 2023

I grew up in Highlands Ranch with my mom, dad, and little sister Riley. I attended Mountain Vista High School where I graduated in 2021. I have two dogs (Nugget & Charlie) who are both pit mixes. I studied Hospitality Management at Metropolitan State University and am currently workingon going back to school to pursue Early Childhood Education. I love working with and helping children. Outside of Explore & Discover I typically am with my friends or family.

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Jay Stateler

Support Teacher

With E&D Since August 2023

I am a recent graduate of Colorado’s Early Childhood Service Corps (ECSC) Program. I greatly enjoyed being a dad and participating in raising my two daughters (now 29 and 27), particularly cherishing the time when they were very young. I signed up to be a part of the program to again have the pleasure and joy of being around young children. After visiting several child care centers in the course of my ECSC training, I found Explore and Discover to be the kind of environment and community I wanted to be a part of. I was born and raised in Rochester, NY (roughly 100 miles east of Niagara Falls, and distant from New York City!). I graduated from Bucknell University in Central Pennsylvania with a degree in civil engineering in 1977. After living briefly in the Philadelphia area, and then in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, I came to the Denver area in 1980 and have lived in Lakewood or Golden ever since. I retired from work as a civil engineer in 2021. My oldest daughter, Kristine, is married, works in the tech field, and lives in Arvada. Laura, my younger daughter, currently is in law school at Boston College. My travel for business and pleasure has taken me to 49 states (missing Alabama), and to over 30 foreign countries. At this point, travel is a big priority for me, so if you don’t see me for a couple weeks . . . Since retirement, I have done a lot of volunteer work for We Don’t Waste, a Denver nonprofit that seeks to intercept perfectly suitable and edible food that would otherwise end up in a landfill, and get it to people in need. In my younger days, I played a lot of sports, most notably soccer and basketball. I have climbed all 54 of the 14,000-foot mountains in Colorado. Currently, I mostly do biking and more modest hiking, and a little skiing and ice skating.

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