Marie Catrett, she/her
Marie has been working with young children and their families in Austin, Texas for over twenty years, providing Reggio-inspired childcare since 2011.
Marie started Tigerlily Preschool as in-home program, named to celebrate the spectrum of child imagination and expression. From our fierce tiger selves to the gentle lily, thoughtful caregivers must respect children’s right to their ideas, feelings, wonder, and play while also helping the children find ways to be with each other in a way that makes our school a good feeling place for everyone.
Today Marie’s work centers on daily teacher reflection to support the continued growth of a joyful and life giving community. She is inspired by her fellow early childhood educators, Reggio-inspired practice, child growth and development, and all the fine children who “come to teach.”
Marie’s professional contributions include co-presenting workshops at NAEYC’s National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development, Portland State University, and mentoring Early Childhood interns from Texas State University. Tigerlily is featured in the beautiful book Seeing Young Children with New Eyes: What we’ve learned from Reggio- Emilia about children and ourselves by Sydney Gurewitz Clemens.
Lulu Bautista, she/her
Lulu has been working with young children and their families in Austin, Texas since 2012, and for the last 4 years in her own home-based program, Corazón Neighborhood Preschool, in South Austin.
After graduating from Texas State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, she explored different career paths until 2012, when she took the opportunity to step back and assess the common threads connecting each of her professional experiences, and what she loved about each of those roles. It was during this time she discovered that she was drawn to development and guidance, especially as it related to working with families and children. She began working for the YMCA of Austin as a Site Director for After-School and Summer Camp programs at the elementary school level.
It was during this time that she became fascinated with the world of Early Childhood Development, and she was selected to spearhead implementation of the YMCA’s new grant-funded Early Learning Readiness program, which focused directly on engaging caregivers in navigating the early years of development with the children in their care. It was this up close observation of babies learning to walk, toddlers learning to talk, and preschoolers learning to navigate social relationships that propelled her to dive headfirst into her own experience as a parent and caregiver. While working at the preschool level and raising her own young daughter, she completed additional college coursework in Early Childhood Education and became certified in the field of Children’s Yoga and Mindfulness.
Through that collective experience she began to develop the vision for what became Corazón, but is also a vision she carries with her through any child care setting she encounters: to place a high value on play-based learning with a major emphasis on the natural world around us; where children are given the chance to explore social and emotional connections, acquire language and literacy skills, and develop motor skills in a well-prepared environment that will set the stage for a lifetime of learning.
Lulu’s favorite prehistoric creature is the Parasaurolophus, she is the head landscaper and gardener for her home, and being a big fan of stop-motion animation, she has the dream to one day visit a major animation studio called Laika. You can read more about the community Lulu built with Corazón here.
What families say:
Marie Catrett is a child whisperer. I have never learned so much about my kid, how he learns, and how to help him learn than I did in his three years at Tigerlily. Those lessons stand our family in great stead as he progresses. Marie teaches children to read and make, but mostly, she teaches them how to become themselves. –Caroline
“Lulu is an exceptional guide to young children; she has an amazing knack for supporting and encouraging children’s curiosities and is highly attuned to their needs. She also emphasizes the importance of connection and reflection in learning, which I love.” -Nicole H.
We are so very grateful for our son’s time with Marie at Tigerlily. We love her little school so much, it’s hard to put into words. Marie is gentle, kind, and incredibly understanding with the children. She delights so much in the magic and wonder of early childhood, and creates an environment where children are empowered to imagine, create, and be exactly who they are. Our son blossomed so much at Tigerlily. –Brooke
Marie is absolutely magical with this age. Two years after my daughter’s time at Tigerlily, I can still see so many things she learned there blossoming in her. Being with Marie laid the foundation for her confidence, problem-solving skills and empathy.–Piaf
“…Lulu is so caring and wonderful and our son looks forward to school each day. He’s grown so much in his learning abilities and shares each day all the things he’s learned. The opportunity for exploration and hands-on creativity has been wonderful to see. “- Jessica F.
Tigerlily was the perfect introduction to school for our energetic and curious boy. Marie takes great care to reach each child where he or she is, and to provide parents with loving, thorough documentation of the group’s learning. From the beautiful, well thought-out learning environment, to the kind and respectful attention to children, Tigerlily is an excellent preschool; we couldn’t have been happier with our choice.–Paige
“We cannot say enough great things about Lulu – and more to the point neither can our almost-four-year old who comes home every day mulling over new things he’s learned, projects he’s gotten to work on, friends he’s made, and ideas he’s been introduced to. Lulu does such an amazing job of reaching all the kids on their level and making complicated feelings and interactions and challenges make sense. What a wonderful space she has created!” – Abigail R.
Marie Catrett is the most present, connected, thoughtful, intentional, magical teacher I’ve ever met. I am so, so grateful her beautiful school came into our lives and started W on her educational journey. It’s shocking to me that there is not a multi-year long wait list for this gem of a school. If you want a classroom leader who sees and celebrates each child with love and compassion, while surrounding them with creativity, curiosity, and kindness then this is the place for you. –Karen
Marie—you are such a gifted, loving, present soul with the children; I so TREASURE Eli’s time spent with you. –Laurie
Tigerlily was like a little oasis for our daughter. Every morning after drop-off time, you could feel the magic building up for the day, and you could see its effect on her face at the end of the day when we picked her up. Every week, she would surprise me with some piece of learning that she had gained that seemed beyond her years. Her transformation during her time at Tigerlily Preschool is something that I will cherish forever, and I know that I will appreciate it more as I continue to recognize Tigerlily’s influence on the cool person that my daughter is becoming. I consider Marie the Jedi Master of child-raising. Having her around to guide my daughter during such a tender time was so important to our family. I still try to “harness my inner Marie” when I am struggling with how to be a good parent, and I still use the lessons that I picked up from watching her conduct her little orchestra of learning at Tigerlily. –Ryan
We love Tigerlily! Marie is able to connect with our children in a gentle and nurturing way and guide them through their interactions with other little ones. My son loved spending so much time in Marie’s magical garden! –Tara
Marie is SO warm, wise, and wonderful, with a brilliant creative spark and the kind of authentic joy in working with children that can only come naturally. My son truly blossomed in the year he spent at Tigerlily. He was nurtured, respected, and loved. Heartfelt attention was paid to his emotional and social development, gardens were tended, songs were sung, art was made, and laughter and play were the order of the day! We LOVE Marie and we LOVE Tigerlily! –Kami