Meet Tien: Mother, Coworker, & Head of Caregiving at The Garden

July 24, 2019

Tien reading to her kids on a recent camping trip.

Tien Teng is Head of Caregiving at Equal Play, overseeing all operations in The Play Garden and ensuring that the children who spend time with us feel safe, important, and genuinely respected. A magna cum laude graduate of UCLA, Tien believes in supporting and celebrating the intimate and unique bond between children and their parents because these relationships shape the foundation of a healthy, just society.

Tien brings to The Garden three years of experience working with children in various settings, from nursery co-ops to traditional preschools. She also brings us her deep knowledge of communications and a natural savvy for operations from her former life in technology public relations. The mother of two wonderful kids, Tien is thrilled to be cultivating something that will make a real difference for working families like hers at The Garden by Equal Play.

We talked with Tien about her superpowers, beliefs, passions, and goals.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you care about.

I care about giving respectful, focused, and sincere attention to people when they communicate with me, particularly young children. I care about listening carefully. I care about the quality of children’s books and love visiting my local library to discover treasures every week. I care about singing to the kids in my care and hearing their little voices sing back. I’m a mother, continually learning the ropes after eight years of practice so far, and a partner to my wonderfully kind, brilliant husband David (whom I met when we were both six!).

What’s your favorite thing about working with kids?

Young children make their opinions, frustrations, capabilities, and vulnerabilities very plain to us, without apology. They have such strong senses of self, even as they struggle to gain self-mastery. It’s an honesty I deeply respect. It humbles me every time I work with little ones.

Tien’s natural exuberance coming through!

What’s your superpower?

Making up fairytales on the fly and singing a few choice Disney songs from memory. Both are listed on my resume.

How did you first learn about The Garden, and what do you love about working there?

Last summer I realized that I wanted to get serious about building my career back up but didn’t want to hire a full-time nanny. I had to weigh my real desire to have a meaningful career against my real desire to be present for my kids (while they were still young enough to prefer my presence). Twenty-four hours later, I was scanning Craigslist and saw a job description for Equal Play, a place conceived and designed specifically so that parents can thrive professionally while staying connected to their children. Three days later, I was hired to be The Garden’s first employee.

I love the respect our team members share with each other at The Garden. No one works alone here or feels unheard. Katie brings us together with her boundless energy and positivity, not to mention her sharp vision for how Equal Play will change the game for women who are serious about building their careers AND staying close to their amazing kids.

Want to learn more about childcare at The Garden by Equal Play? Read our FAQs here. You can schedule a tour here.

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