Melissa Ervin


Melissa's enthusiasm for early childhood education and the the play-based approach brought her to ​

1870 Farm Preschool. Her first visit to the farm school, with its expansive outdoor classroom and fields filled with animals, assured her that this was her new home. She is thrilled and honored to be part

​ of 1870 Farm Preschool and looks forward to collaborating with children, families and staff. Her experience in her previous cooperative school environment supported her deep appreciation for family partnerships and teacher collaboration. Melissa believes strongly in children's play-based inquiry, hands-on exploration, process art and creative documentation. She respects each child's innate desire (and competence) to learn through play and exploration. Melissa is a nurturing and purposeful teacher who learns alongside her students, inspiring independence and creativity. 


Melissa comes to 1870 Farm Preschool with her early childhood credentials and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design with a concentration in art history. Her experience includes teaching preschool, summer camps and art classes, serving on​ an ​outdoor learning spaces committee, volunteering in schools, and ​working as a freelance designer on a variety of projects, including one at a children's museums. She is actively involved with several early childhood groups, is always learning through research and is inspired by children every day. In her free time she enjoys visiting​ art museums, reading, listening to live music, attending art festivals and taking photographs. When not hanging out with preschoolers on the farm, Melissa lives in Chapel Hill with her family, including three wonderful children. 

Shelley Welch

Shelley has worked with children since 1990 in a variety of roles, including teacher, tutor, nanny, and volunteer mentor. She received a MAT from Duke University and BA in English and Storytelling from Meredith College.


In 2015, she was team lead for a group of five educators from various local schools who completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Learning Visible course. She loves working with children of all ages and has a special affinity for preschool children.


Shelley is actively engaged in contributing to the creation a world-wide network of Reggio Emilia preschool educators and works to gather resources for those engaged in Reggio teaching.


She is deeply interested in documenting, through photos and words, the learning of young children and making their thinking visible to themselves, their families and the community. She is also committed to creating a program which fully immerses families in the school environment. In addition to teaching at 1870 Farm Preschool, she teaches art to young children. She lives with her three boys in Chapel Hill.