About Moira Padfield
My interest in working with children began with a course in preschool education, which I took as an elective when I was 19 years old. At the time, I was working on an associate degree in executive- and legal-office administration at Northampton Area Community College. I decided to add early-childhood education to my studies and took classes another year at NCC to obtain associate degrees in both majors.
After obtaining my qualification as a Montessori directress, I accompanied my husband on his assignments in Texas, Alabama, Utah, Iceland and finally Alaska. In Utah, I helped to form a new Montessori school in Ogden, becoming its first directress. In Iceland, our first child (our daughter) was born and I assisted part-time at her preschool on the military base at Keflavik. In Alaska where our second child (a son) was born, I helped form another Montessori school in Anchorage and worked there until my husband obtained his release from the service and we moved to Norway in 1977.
While we lived in Norway, I co-founded and served as a teacher and headmistress (principal) of The Children’s House, a school based on Montessori principles for three- to six-year-old children of various nationalities. Our third child, another boy, was born in Norway.
Returning to the United States in 1989, I taught children’s classes about virtues while taking more college courses part-time
. I obtained certification and licensure as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and began working as a therapeutic support specialist (TSS) for Behavioral Health Associates of Weissport working with children primarily of the autism spectrum.
During this time I discovered my passion for helping children with behavioral issues and made the decision to acquire the degrees and additional experience needed to become a psychotherapist specializing in children and adolescents. I subsequently attained a bachelor of science degree in applied psychology and organizational behavior from Albright College in Reading and a master of science degree from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. While studying for the latter degree, I worked as the assistant director of the WarmLine, a division of the non-profit Family Answers mental health agency in Allentown.
It was my daughter, who has a master’s degree in school counseling, who suggested that I consider play therapy as a therapeutic specialty. The concept interested me immediately and I was able to draw many similarities between Montessori and play therapy. It excited me even more when I took an Advanced Play Therapy course with Joanne Nigito-Raftas at Chestnut Hill. While I worked as a play therapy intern in Joanne’s office, I had the feeling that my whole life--my education, my work experience, my background and my parenting--had come to fruition in a profession where I could really help make a positive difference in the lives of children and their families.