Malaika Lafferty

Malaika Lafferty

Wolf Classroom – Toddler Teacher

Malaika has decades of teaching experience, working primarily with two-year-olds. She began her work with young children in 1989 at age 18, leaving work as a barista for what she thought would be a “fun summer job.” Little did she know how hard it would be—and how much she would love it! After ten years, she changed fields to earn more money so that she could go back to school for a degree in Early Childhood Education. Life doesn’t always go as planned, of course, and she didn’t make her way back to the field as quickly as she had hoped. She spent the next ten years working for a start-up company in environmental sciences. She doesn’t regret her time there; she always jokes that serving people before they’d had their coffee prepared her for working with children, and working with children prepared her for working with scientists!

While it may have taken her a long time to return to her first love, she did eventually make it back. She has with Northwest Center since 2009, and in 2019 she completed her BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Washington. It has felt nothing less than like coming home!

In her free time, Malaika likes to ride her bike, read, knit, and go out to hear music. She loves walking in the rain, crunching through leaves, hiking, beer, snowboarding, and wearing colorful socks. She also loves her friends, cat, sushi, ice cream, and vintage cars and motorcycles.

Malaika says the best part about working with children is getting caught up in their excitement and exploration about life and its interrelated themes. She believes she is working with children to engage them in learning opportunities in which they have ownership. She also values the generosity of the families she serves, to be in collaboration with them, working as a team to provide nurturing and responsive care as we guide our children along the pathways of development. “Here they work hard at becoming the people we want to meet in the world.”