AJ (they/them) is an early childhood educator with 15 years classroom teaching experience. They have taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School and Park West Cooperative Nursery School in Chicago. They had the privilege of working with incredible mentor teachers in their fledgling years as an educator. Through these relationships, AJ carved out their teaching practice rooted in social constructivism. AJ has been inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and specifically the idea of the "100 languages of children," which illuminates the concept that expressive language is not the only language we can use to communicate. In the few years between teaching at Park West and Lab, AJ was the Curriculum and Professional Development Director at the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ+ students. In that time, AJ created and facilitated professional development for teachers, administrators and parents about creating affirming learning environments for LGBTQ+ students broadly and specifically transgender and gender expansive students. AJ loves camping, canning, board games, and reading. They spent their early years in southwestern Michigan's fruit belt.