FIRST CUTS

With one foot in California and the other in Japan, I remain a passionate Bilingual Educator and Speaker, Creative Artist and Producer, Voiceover Actor, advocate for children, Seniors, creative thinkers and doers, and originator of TERIGAMI.

TERIGAMI is a field-tested, scissor and fine motor-based free-hand paper cutting method that supports, enhances and improves a child’s basic skill competency level while developing flexible, creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Copyrighted by the Library of Congress is “Alphabet City Cuts”, an integral part of TERIGAMI that includes phonics cuts, basic cutting, tearing,
folding techniques, essential vocabulary terms and original upper and lowercase alphabet songs.

The more I witness children struggling to use their hands, to flex their brain muscles, to create joyfully and to learn basic skills including language acquisition, the more committed I have become in finding ways to empower children to use their imaginations, their hands, hearts and minds to become flexible thinkers and engaged learners. I am deeply indebted to kids who have impacted my life with many, many unexpected but valuable “A HA!” moments.

Aside from my illustration work, in an effort to improve and change the education of young children all over the globe, my primary goals are:

• to provide effective Training Seminars and Professional Development Workshops for
 parents, children, artists and educators including those involved in Literacy/Language
 Instruction, Early Child Education, Art Education and Educational Multi-Media

• to create Multi-Media Edutainment (educational and entertaining) materials that support
 the various methods and educational philosophy

Please click the WORKSHOPS tab for information about my workshops, seminars and classes.
I welcome creative commissions and opportunities to introduce my methods, ideas and
TERIGAMI to new friends all over the world.

                  Have SCISSORS will travel!

I was born beneath turquoise Arizona summer skies, but raised under sunny blue California
skies. I cannot explain why, but scissors befriended me at a very early age. My mom says that
at the age of 3,
I sat on the floor, Japanese-style to cut paper with scissors.I remember cutting
paper doll kings, queens and castles never realizing the impact that scissors and castles would
have on my future.

 
Here I am as a baby...
Unknowingly, I was sitting on an anthill!
My expression changed after the photo was taken!
 
Early beginnings in Arizona and California.
  

My parents affinity for Japanese art surrounded me with colors and images from a culture I
knew little about but one into which I would be completely immersed. Pursuing art, I entered
UCLA, but during my senior year, my life took a new direction following my studies at ICU in
Tokyo as a UC Education Abroad Participant. Upon graduating from UCLA with a BA in Graphic
Design I enthusiastically embraced the job market; however, my dreams of working as an
illustrator were brought to an abrupt halt with the 1973 Oil Crisis.

  
Two of my most favorite portraits of my parents.
 

Luckily, I secured work in the San Francisco Unified School District’s Japanese Bilingual/Bicultural Program as a Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher for multi-national children. Because the bilingual education boom had just taken roots in California, bilingual methods, materials and philosophies were virtually non-existent. The only supplies I received were chalk, crayons, scissors and paper!

A sustainable bilingual program meant emphasizing the 5 senses and including activities that encouraged kid's natural inclinations to play, create, move, dance, sing and socialize. Children's basic needs laid the foundation for curriculum development; their energy for life and zest for learning provided ongoing impetus to develop action-based, hands-on methods that integrated art, creative expression, movement and music. A bilingual educational springboard for confident language acquisition and flexible thinking skills was born. Later, I was awarded a government grant to study, while teaching, concurrently at the University of San Francisco. In 1977 I received a Masters of Education in Cross Cultural Education and Bilingual Specialist Credential.

I am a native speaker of English but accredit my bilingualism and teaching methods to my HANDS. I learned Japanese using scissors while studying traditional doll-making at the Tokyo Doll Academy and puppetry under Taiji Kawajiri at the Puk Puppet Theater.