about us

Christina Schabow
co-founder, Sign Language in Play director
Christina has been working with children for as long as she can remember.  She began teaching preschool in WI over fifteen years ago.  It was then that she realized how much she loved working with families to support parent/child relationships.  Christina has her Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. She has taught families and children ages birth through middle school in a variety of settings.  She has been teaching PELP's Baby Sign Language in Play classes since PELP was founded in January of 2005.  She has always had a passion for language development, but her experience with PELP has helped her realize a calling and passion for working with new parents as well.  She especially has a heart for supporting new mothers through the early stages of motherhood and loves helping parents connect and bond with their babies.  In her free time, Christina enjoys traveling, reading, singing and exploring the Pacific NW with her family. Christina lives in SW Portland with her husband Steve, her 5 year old son, Nolan, her 2 year old daughter, Scarlett, and her feisty dog, Parker!

Kara Chabot DeGiovanni
co-founder; Spanish Language in Play developer/consultant
Kara was born and raised in North Reading, MA. She has been working with children since her teens, with her first formal experience as an educator being at Preschool of the Arts in Madison, WI, following the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Later, she obtained a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology, and has worked primarily with children ages birth through 9yrs old in a variety of educational settings. A love for languages and travel inspired Kara to live and teach abroad in Bolivia, Argentina, and Italy, as well as travel throughout South America. Combining her training in Speech & Language with her love for Spanish, Kara developed the Spanish Language in Play curriculum. A large part of her life's work is to find ways to empower children to bravely carve out their own path in life, while using compassion to guide their decisions.  In her free time, she likes to dance, garden, spend time with her extended family, and get educated on food and environmental issues. She lives in a quaint bungalow in NE Portland.

Jessica Swartz Amezcua
Owner, Adventures in Spanish; Director, Spanish Language in Play
Jessica has found her niche in directing and teaching Spanish Language in Play, as it provides the perfect venue for her two passions: early childhood education and Spanish. Throughout her life, Jessica has been drawn to teaching; whether as a Teacher’s Assistant in Spanish at Earlham College, as a substitute teacher, or as a volunteer in her children’s classrooms. Jessica has studied abroad and worked in Mexico, a great personal success, as she was eager to create a life abroad, working and speaking Spanish while immersed in her community. Jessica has earned her M.A. in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, worked at a binational, non-profit environmental organization as well as a substitute teacher in bilingual and immersion classrooms. Jessica believes that one of the most important aspects of teaching Spanish is to heighten children’s awareness of other cultures. When not teaching, Jessica can be found playing racquetball, reading, cooking, or taking advantage of Portland's many cultural offerings. She has three wonderful children: Raquel, Daniel, and Amanda.
Anna Baldwin-Sanders 
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Anna grew up in Portland, Oregon and attended the same schools that she now enjoys teaching at. Teaching is a family profession and a passion for her as she has spent the last 10 years working with children of all ages, backgrounds, and special needs. For the last 7 years she has enjoyed being a lead teacher for Albina Head Start. It is through these experiences she has immersed herself in a variety of best practice teaching techniques and methods. Of these she has utilized Reggio and R.I.E theory, along with implementing many other teaching strategies in her classrooms. Through these practices Anna provides an individualized, experiential, creative and fun learning environment for all children. 
Anna is excited to merge her passion of teaching and her love of the Spanish language. Similar to her students, her Spanish began at an early age as part of her academic studies as a student at Alameda Elementary School. Anna continued her studies in Spanish at University of Barcelona, Spain and Portland State University, earning a Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood and Family Studies and a minor in Spanish. Anna lives in NE Portland with her husband and children. Her youngest, Jovani Sanders, is learning Spanish, English and sign language. She looks forward to getting to know her students and their families.

Nina Kelley
Operations & Administrative Assistant
Nina was born and raised in Kansas City. She attended Kansas State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She taught preschool, fourth grade and sixth grade while living in Kansas. After moving to Portland six years ago she became a volunteer in her children’s schools, organizing programs like Battle of the Books and One School One Book. This was a great fit since she loves to work with kids and she loves to organize big projects. When she isn’t running her kids to soccer, basketball and whatever else they have going on, you can find her working with the middle school youth at church, volunteering at the local food pantry, searching for her new favorite book at the library, or taking the family dog on walks. 

​Heather Peterson
Newsletter & Website
Heather is a native Oregonian, born and raised in Portland. She attended the University of Oregon where she received her Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts. While in Eugene, she worked in the non-profit sector serving children and youth for eight years. Upon returning to Portland, Heather rediscovered her passion for floral design and event planning and currently works in that field. Her creative talents, superb organization skills, and ability to get-it-done are a great asset to SLiP. She enjoys entertaining, organizing, cooking, college football, lattes and trips with friends. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and their son.
Edy Gonzales Torres
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) substitute instructor
Edy was born in the Incan city Cusco, Peru and spent his childhood in the sacred valley. He began mentoring at a Catholic orphanage and worked with children ages 2-15 teaching English, Spanish and Quechua. After completing his bachelor’s degree in economics he continued to pursue his passion for helping others. He provided interpretation for medical missions and was active in supporting community members in hospice care. Through his work, Edy developed many strong relationships and started a successful non-profit organization, Desea, Peru that provided water filtration units and corresponding education to many rural communities. After the birth of his son, he realized how many opportunities being multilingual has provided him. Allowing him to connect with various cultures, communities and people in a way that is very difficult to describe but is a priceless gift. Edy is excited to continue teaching and mentoring in order to make our community better.
​Zoraya Henao
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Zoraya was born and raised in a small city near Monterrey, NL, Mexico. She started her teaching career early while still in college, teaching English as a Second Language to children and adults. She majored in Education with a concentration in Educational Psychology. Once she finished college, she went to Australia for a year in a volunteer program. Upon returning, she went on to complete a graduate degree in Gestalt psychotherapy. Zoraya moved to the United States in the 2005. Living in Washington, DC, and Maryland for the past 8 years, she began a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Zoraya moved to Portland this year, and is in love with the city! She currently works part-time with individuals with disabilities in a community inclusion program. Some of her favorite things include getting out and about around the city and exploring all it has to offer. She also loves cooking Mexican and Colombian food, especially arepas. Her mother made sure she knew how to make arepas because her father is from Colombia.
Ben Citalán
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Ben was born and raised in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where he received his certificate to teach Spanish at El Portal Spanish School. He has lived in Portland for the past five years, where his daughter was born. His daughter was his inspiration to keep moving forward with his Spanish teaching career. He volunteered in 2012 as an Assistant Spanish Teacher at Atkinson Elementary, where he had the opportunity to continue as an instructor at Hands-On Language. He is currently completing an English and Spanish Teaching Certificate at People * Places * Things. "I'm always happy for the fact that I can facilitate the crossroads of culture, ultimately helping people connect and learn, regardless of age, background or any other barrier.''
Our Fabulous Substitute Instructors
Vianney Remple  
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Vianney is a native Spanish speaker, born and raised in Mexico City, where she received a BS degree in Education. With more than 15 years of teaching experience, her passion for teaching children started with her work with the indigenous children of the Tarahumara Mountains in Chihuahua, Mexico. Vianney believes that as we live in a global world, speaking more than one language allows us to better appreciate and understand the differences among ourselves, and enables each of us to live together with respect and harmony. Vianney enjoys teaching children through songs, movement, games, and different activities that spark their natural curiosity; learning should be fun! She practices yoga, meditation, and enjoys traveling.
Delia Garcia
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Delia was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. She received her degree in Education in 2000 and also obtained a diploma in Special Education Studies. She gained experience working in an elementary school for six years, and has worked with various groups of teachers performing social services in rural areas Mexico. Teaching is one of Delia's passions, as she enjoys being a part of the learning process with young children. Delia lives in Beaverton with her ​husband, Abraham, and their three children Alejandro, Zulianny, and Sebastian. She loves spending time with family, traveling, and going to the theater.

Samantha Ramirez
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Samantha Ramirez was born in Portland, Oregon. She received an undergraduate degree in Family and Human Services from the University of Oregon, focusing on early childhood education. While in Eugene, Samantha interned for non-profit organizations that worked with Latino families, toddlers and homeless/runaway youth as well as children from Early Head Start. She also worked in Yellowstone National Park and traveled to Mexico and Ecuador visiting family and friends. Upon graduating from U of O, she continued her work in education at St Ignatius School. She lives with her husband Austin, baby boy, Noam and two cats Meiko and Nala.  
HB Barragan 
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
HB is originally from Veracruz, Mexico but grew up in Southern California. She has always loved interacting with children. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UCLA and always felt inclined to focus her studies within Child Psychology. Her growing interest in autism led her to begin helping children with autism and other developmental disabilities where she provided one on one therapy, group play sessions as well as provided assessments and parent education. Today, she continues her involvement in education by teaching and tutoring kids in various subjects. She enjoys providing a fun, playful, memorable and inviting learning environment and loves seeing children learn and grow. HB’s other passions include fashion design, salsa dancing, swimming, photography, watercolor painting, and cooking. 

Gloria Nunez
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
​Gloria, a Mexican native, moved to the states during her teen years. She has resided in Florida, Georgia and California as a military spouse and now lives in Beaverton. She received her degree in Physical and Earth Science in 2015. Gloria has taught for over 13 years, educating children and young adults in multiple subjects in both English and Spanish in the classroom as well as in-home instruction. Gloria is a committed education professional with extensive knowledge of teaching styles and in classroom management, obtaining excellent results in the public school arena, U.S. Government Installations, as well as the private sector. She enjoys exercising, solving puzzles, and spending time with her husband and three teenage children, during her free time.
Ceci (Ana Cecilia) Pratt Orozco
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor 
Originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Ceci holds a bachelors degree in Finance Administration but has always been involved in education projects. Upon moving to Portland in 2013 she volunteered for a Montessori School and for Happy Mindful People. She notes that working with kids is absolutely fun; they bring a dynamic energy to the class! Ceci is also a professional racquetball player, playing tournaments across the United States and Mexico. She loves being active and is currently attending yoga school to become a certified yoga instructor. Becoming an instructor is always something she has wanted to do and would like to share yoga with her students in the future.