Sally Haughey is an internationally acclaimed early childhood education specialist. She is an inspiring lecturer and teacher educator, founder and owner of Fairy Dust Teaching, and CEO of Teaching Mastery Institute, Inc. Sally is also an accomplished author; having co-authored her first book, Through a Child’s Eyes, she has several more in the works.
Sally was born Sally Ann Fowler on December 20, 1959 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. She graduated from Memorial High School in 1978 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was here she fell in love with all things art and won early recognition for her artistic talent. She also began an earnest study of Jungian therapy and the concept of archetypes, an important facet of her journey as an educator.
In 1996, Sally, a secretary and mother of three, was drawn to apply for a position in a Mother’s Day Out program. She was hired on probation, with her only experience being caring for her own and her friends’ children. When the head teacher retired the following Spring, her classroom was turned over to Sally. Sally’s heart was leaping as the artist in her had her crawling on the floor to see the room through the children’s eyes. She spent the summer glorifying and bringing magic to the once drab and mundane classroom. It was transformed into a beautiful, enchanted space where she would love to teach and that would intrigue and fascinate the children. On her first day, as the children gathered around her in the child’s garden she had created just for them, they gazed at one another in wonder and delight. At that moment, a profound and extraordinary experience came over Sally. The teacher within in her awakened, and in her heart, she knew she had found her mission and purpose in life.
After teaching preschool for three years, she was Director of Education at Congregational Church in Tulsa for one year. In 2001 she began work teaching at the Tulsa Head Start program.
Simultaneously, Sally completed three years of Waldorf Early Childhood teacher training in Boulder, Colorado, which confirmed and expanded the heart of her teaching pedagogy. She also earned an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Tulsa Community College and Bachelors of Education Degree from Northeastern State University, all culminating in 2004.
In the fall of 2004, Sally began teaching Pre-K for the Tulsa Public School District. Here she quickly gained notoriety as a local “Mary Poppins of Early Childhood Education.” Teachers and administrators alike noticed her enthusiasm and began to copy her teaching style. In 2005, she was honored with the Teacher of the Year award at her school. Sally “moonlighted” from 2005 to 2013 at the Philbrook Art Museum as a “Teaching Artist” where she initiated a successful new art program called Eye Spy Museum.
In 2006, she won a Funds For Teachers fellowship to study European styles of Early Childhood Education in Winterthur, Switzerland, Paris, France, and Italy. She was inspired to further develop her pedagogy of infusing arts integration and storytelling in her classroom.
During this period, Sally was recognized multiple times in the Tulsa World newspaper for her groundbreaking teaching strategies in Early Childhood Education. She began facilitating trainings and workshops for teachers in collaboration with Oklahoma State University in their Project Creates program. At the same time, she became a fellow with A+ Schools, facilitating on-site professional development to network schools.
In 2008, Sally took a kindergarten class in the Bixby Public School system. The same year, she was drafted to be a part of a special Master Teacher Cohort for the State of Oklahoma.
In 2009, she earned her National Board Teacher Certification.
While teaching kindergarten in Bixby, Sally was surrounded by peers who all used conventional teaching methods. This meant she was expected to use worksheets in her teaching. So she inspired her students to collaborate in their own educational process by working together to create their own worksheets. The children became profoundly excited to be engaged in their own learning process. They began to take possession and ownership of their own student destiny. The success that she inspired out of these provocations made her see that teachers needed help teaching children how to learn instead of trying to get them to memorize facts, such as the alphabet and numbers.
In 2010, Sally had the inspiration to create a simple blog as an easy way to share her fun and creative learning methods. In the blog, each project that was posted contained just a few pictures and a brief set of instructions. She called her new blog “Fairy Dust Teaching.”
In 2011, Sally began offering teacher trainings through her blog. At the same time, she was training teachers in person at the University of Tulsa research project (SENSEsational Science), featuring ideas for merging science with art through STEAM training.
In 2012, Sally received another FUNDS for Teachers fellowship that took her to Rudolph Steiner College of Waldorf Education in Sacramento, California, where she studied Early Childhood pedagogy through puppetry and puppet making. While in California, she also was inspired by a visit to a kindergarten classroom at Creative Arts Charter School in San Francisco.
In 2014, Sally’s Fairy Dust Teaching program was growing exponentially, and she hosted her first Online Virtual Conference. These now bi-annual conferences, featuring interviews with famous (as well as remarkable but as yet unknown) teachers and educators are extremely popular. With thousands of participants worldwide, they bring together the educators of the world from over 60 countries in marathons of intriguing interviews and demonstrations in emergent educational systems.
Fairy Dust Teaching conferences feature experts, ideas, and philosophies inspired by Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf and other play based teaching pedagogies, as well as Sally’s signature teaching method, known as Wonder Based Teaching TM.
The mission and purpose of the Wonder Based Teaching pedagogy is to promote the importance of educating through what Sally calls Deep Play TM as the architect of the brain and as a tool to help develop and unfold the multiple types of intelligence in young children.
Sally Haughey is currently the Founder and CEO of Fairy Dust Teaching and Teaching Mastery Institute, Inc. She co-authored Through a Child’s Eye and has several more books currently in the works. She offers an online exclusive membership club called “The Wonder Tribe” through Fairy Dust Teaching. Her online courses, master classes and biannual conferences have produced extensive Original Content serving, inspiring, and educating thousands of teachers worldwide.