Meet Linda Whitehead
She’s Called Jenner’s Pond Home Since 2021
Teaching teachers and parents
Linda Whitehead, PhD, has enjoyed a fulfilling career in early childhood education, from teaching in the classroom to developing curriculum and resource materials for teachers and parents of young children. She moved to Jenner’s Pond in 2021 at age 67 and continues to work in the field and volunteer in the community.
“People tend to wait another 10 years before choosing senior living, but I’m so glad I made the transition when I did,” Linda says. “I love having friends right down the hall. It reminds me a little of living in a college dorm!”
Linda was born at Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia, but “grew up all over the Northeast.” One of three children, she has an older brother and a younger one. Her father’s profession as a Lutheran minister took the family to the Philadelphia suburbs, East Brunswick, New Jersey, and Silver Spring, Maryland. She graduated from high school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where her father ministered to a congregation across the street from Lehigh University.
“We were very active in the churches where my father worked,” she says. “While my parents were strict, we were surrounded by love and kindness, and my mother and father gave us many opportunities to experience the world. My brothers and I learned to be creative, hard workers, but also to have fun. I think that this led me to highly value my relationship now with my adult daughter and grandson.”
After high school, Linda earned a bachelor’s degree in child development from the University of Delaware (UD) and taught young students with special needs. Then she went back to grad school at UD to earn a doctorate in family studies. While she was there, she taught at the university level and worked with home child care providers to help them provide quality learning environments for children.
The education professional
Linda spent most of her career with Bright Horizons Family Solutions, an international company that provides onsite child care for employees, often at large corporations, as well as early education and preschool. Initially, she worked in operations, overseeing several early childhood centers on the east coast.
For the second half of her career at Bright Horizons, she was Vice President of Education and Development, creating materials for parents as well as resources, curriculum and training for the teachers.
“I helped shape the educational philosophy used in the child care centers, and promoted learning in all areas of the curriculum,” she says.
Included in the many resources Linda helped develop was a program called “Growing Readers”, which recommended new children’s books every year. She also published articles on reading to infants and toddlers, and led workshops on reading-related topics to teachers and parents. The Boston Globe quoted her as an expert in an article on making travel with young children less stressful. She worked for Bright Horizons for more than 25 years and still serves on their educational advisory board.
Linda believes that the key to aging well is to “stay involved and continue to lead a life of significance, including after retirement,” she says. “Note where you can make a difference and continue to do so in every way you can.”
She follows her own advice. Linda teaches peer-counseling classes on listening skills. Linda believes that listening deeply to the stories of people of all ages and backgrounds promotes empathy, compassion, and greater harmony. She is on the board of directors at Wilmington Head Start, where one of the initiatives she is focused on is related to the importance of children’s outdoor learning. She is also a co-facilitator of Delaware Concerned Residents for Environmental Justice and has done work around racial justice.
Linda moved to Jenner’s Pond after taking a fall in her home. When she came home from rehab to two flights of stairs, single-story living started to look more appealing. Today, she volunteers at the community’s Heron’s Nest gift shop and contributes to SPLASH, the resident newsletter as well.
“Jenner’s Pond provides the perfect mixture of independent living and proximity to my daughter and grandson, who live 10 minutes away,” she says. Her daughter is a senior gardener at nearby Longwood Gardens.
Linda’s knowledge and experience is benefiting other Jenner’s Pond residents—and their grandchildren. She recently led a workshop for residents on selecting books and reading to young children.
Linda believes that the many people that you get to “touch” or who “touch” you with their stories contribute to who you become. She likes this Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Call us today at 610-869-6800 or submit the form below to see why Linda and others in academics choose Jenner’s Pond for retirement living.