Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Stephanie Goloway. She lived with her loving family in a cozy home in the suburbs of D.C., in between traveling far and wide to explore life in distant places like Iran, Sweden, and Finland. From the time her mother first read her a fairytale, the young girl was enchanted. Her play and fantasies were rich with stories of magical beings and brave princesses who always saved the day.
It seemed to her that if she wanted to play make believe as an adult, she should become a teacher of young children, since they were indeed the masters of pretend. And so she sought out the wisest sages and learned much about how children’s thinking and imagination developed as she studied psychology at Allegheny College (BA), and elementary education at Edinboro University (MEd).
She learned and played and shared stories with children in childcare centers; in public school; at a residential treatment center for troubled teens; as a children’s librarian and storyteller, and author of a fairytale newsletter, Imagination on the Move; in early intervention; and as the mother of her own two dear ones. Wherever there were children, she found ways to weave stories and play into their learning experiences, until at last she decided it would be a good idea to share what she had learned with the next generation of teachers. For, sadly, she realized that the vibrant play that she saw as the source of the sparkliest learning was too often forgotten as teachers rushed to make young children into tiny scholars surrounded by stacks of worksheets.
As a professor of education at first Montgomery County Community College outside of Philadelphia and later the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, she continued to investigate children’s thinking and the role of play and storytelling in literacy and social and emotional development.
She began, too, to investigate the impact of living with substance use disorders and trauma on young children, as she watched her husband battle the disease. As a teacher in public school, child care, and special education settings, she had enjoyed decades of great professional development. Yet not one minute of this training focused on how to support children living with alcoholism and addiction! After hearing a moving presentation at Caron Treatment Center, she realized that she wanted to do something to help other teachers understand how this debilitating and stigmatized disease affects children and families.
Her doctorate in Early Childhood from Walden University gave her the chance to dig deeply into this, and to discover how the ordinary magic of resilience could offer hope and joy to children and their teachers. She was delighted to discover that play, storytelling and fairytales were wonderful ways to nurture resilience in all children, especially those facing challenges.
Dr. Goloway is now happily ever retired in western NY where she dreams on the shores of Lake Erie in a magical cottage. She has written a book Happily Ever Resilient: Using Fairytales to Nurture Children Through Adversity (Redleaf Press, 2022), and looks forward to continuing to deepen and share her love of play, storytelling and fairytales so that all children get the happy ever afters they deserve.