My name is Christy Kinkhabwala and I founded Over the Moon Preschool in February of 2016 in order to teach young children the way I know is best: through play. I earned my degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Literacy Acquisition from U.T. Austin and I have over 15 years of teaching experience in both public and private schools in the U.S. as well as overseas. I teach with gentle guidance and aim to extend children’s play and redirect when necessary. I am proud to be able to employ parents who want to do the job they love while being able to spend more time with their own children.
I met my husband while we were both serving in the Peace Corps in South Africa, and together with our four boys, we enjoy traveling the world, exploring nature, riding bikes, and reading books.
My name is Carisa Smith and I joined the Over the Moon team in 2019. I was born and raised in Ithaca, NY. I enjoy hiking with my husband, son, and dog around the beautiful trails in the area. I also enjoy biking and kayaking. I have worked as a private nanny for many families over the last decade. I loved taking care of children so much I decided to go back to school. In 2018, I graduated from Tompkins Cortland Community College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I get so much joy working with children and creating a setting filled with respect and warmth. I’m very excited to work in a play centered environment. Cognitive development, socialization, creativity, and so much more are reinforced here at Over the Moon! Can’t wait to meet you all!
I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I started an after school science program at my sister’s elementary school in 2009 while I was working on my bachelor’s degree at LeMoyne College. I loved working with the children and helping them question the workings of our world through science. After I graduated, I went on to teach marine science with the University of Georgia and outdoor environmental education with Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills before studying at SUNY ESF for my master’s in environmental interpretation. While studying at ESF, I worked for the Montessori School of Syracuse, which is where I first developed a deep appreciation for the Montessori method and philosophies in a classroom with children. It was also during this time that I met my husband, Josh, who works for NYS Parks here in the Fingerlakes Region, and moved here to be with him. After working for the Ithaca Montessori School for a year or so, I decided to complete my master’s in science education with SUNY Oswego, and during this time I worked for the Syracuse City School District in my hometown of Syracuse, NY while completing my graduate work. Upon completion of my master’s, I began teaching science at Ithaca High School in 2014. I took a couple of years of childcare leave when we welcomed our daughter Evie in 2016, and am currently on leave again with our daughter Lucy. Lucy and I are thrilled to have joined OTM. I truly look forward to the children and our little lessons of care for each other and our environment each day together. In my free time I enjoy cooking, hiking, and running, and going out for a good latte!