Melani Dawson-Lear


Melani graduated from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada in 1998 with a Bachelor’s in International Development. She then engaged in community and national policy work as a Mickey Leland Hunger Fellow through the Congressional Hunger Center. After living and working in Washington DC for three years, she moved to Denver, Colorado to hike and snowboard. She completed a Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver in 2004 and had her first child that same year. After spending eleven years as a child wrangler extraordinaire for two clever boys, she decided to re-enter the workforce. In the fall of 2015, Melani began the Stanley Teacher Prep program and worked in two public schools in the Denver area. She finished the program in May of 2016 and is in the process of earning her Masters in Early Childhood Education from UC Denver. Melani joined the Paddington Team in the fall of 2016 and she is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful community of families, children and staff. For the 2018-2019 she will be teaching in the Squirrel Nutkin class.


I remember dropping my own children off for preschool and having a sinking feeling in my heart as I said goodbye. Sure, I was sad because I would miss my child for the next three hours, but truly the feeling was deeper than that. I wanted to be in the classroom. I wanted to be the one reading books to kids, and talking about the grasshoppers in the grass, and singing songs about friends and frogs. I longed in my heart, not just to be a teacher, but to be a preschool teacher.

Now that I am a preschool teacher, I no longer have that feeling because I know I am where I am meant to be. I love what I do because every day is fun, every day is interesting, and every day is challenging.

I believe that your children are brilliant. Young children learn faster than any other humans, assimilating knowledge, language, and social norms at a rapid clip. I also believe that they experience the world differently from adults. Children are more present and more generally aware of their environment than adults. Spending time watching a ladybug crawl with a young child can bring an adult into the present moment. Mindfulness is the thing we are all seeking, and our children do it so naturally.

On top of being a part of such a wonderful journey in a child’s life, I also love the opportunity to work in such a warm, caring, and frankly magical place. Paddington Station is a special school. I love creating relationships with families and building a community centered on providing the best education and experiences for children.

My hope is to bring a little magic and wonder into the classroom every day. But I know that your children will do that naturally. My job is to pay attention.