In the 1960s before working for the federal government, Dr. Stevanne Auerbach was an elementary and special needs teacher (St. Johns Child Development Center) and reading and language Arts Specialist in Schools in New York City, Silver Springs, Maryland, and in Washington, D.C., where she was also affiliated with Arena Stage Living Stage Program bringing Theatre Games into the Classroom in Bowen Elementary School in the Southwest area.
She earned a BA in Education and Psychology from Queens College (NYC); did coursework in guidance, counseling, and child study at the University of Maryland; earned an MA in Special Education from George Washington University (Washington, D.C.); and then earned a PhD in Child Development and Psychology from the Union Institute (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Since completing her doctorate (1973) she has published 15 books on parenting, childcare, toys, and play. Choosing Childcare was first published in 1976, following completion of her doctoral study of childcare services in San Francisco.
While working for the American Counseling Association, Dr. Auerbach prepared the National Vocational Guidance Association “Guide to Occupational Literature” publication, and “Career in the Peace Corps” the first booklet. She was responsible for professional relations, and produced other publications. She also created the first Film Festival of Guidance films for guidance counselors held at the National Conventions.
While at GWU she prepared a report for the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation on “Physical Education Needs for the Developmentally Disabled,” which led to the launch of the Special Olympics.
While working at then, The Office of Education, now The Department of Education (1968-70) Dr. Auerbach worked for the Commissioner of Education, Dr. James Allen. She approved the first funding grant for the Children’s Television Workshop’s “Sesame Street,” and also evaluated reading and other Title One programs. She created the innovative “What Works Series” reporting on promising practices in the classroom.
She also established the first pilot childcare center for the children of federal employees, at the building which for the past 50 years has served as the model for the entire federal government.
She then moved to for the Office of Economic Opportunity, Office of the President to plan and develop a national $2.5 million research and development program on childcare she worked with Marvin Feldman, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. She planned the Childcare Forum, part of the 1970 White House Conference on Children, where childcare was voted the number one priority selected by all delegates from among all the issues on the extensive agenda.
She testified on the need for childcare before a Congressional Committee on pending childcare legislation, which was then passed with bi-partisan support, but later was vetoed by former President Richard Nixon.
Dr. Auerbach then left her career position, moved to San Francisco, and earned her doctorate while affiliated with The Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development where she conducted the first groundbreaking, “Cross Cultural Study of Childcare in San Francisco.” The study was conducted and in several languages with the help of translators. The report was later published by the Far West Lab.
She then evaluated products for the classroom for Early Childhood News and books for professionals for Day Care and Early Childhood Magazine.
She worked on the California state committee to plan the 1980 Governor’s Statehouse Conference on Children and served on the state committee to identify Holistic Practices and Alternatives for Childbirth.
She worked in San Francisco to assist then Supervisor Dianne Feinstein to understand the political issues thwarting quality childcare services. She formed committees to provide more information about the services available in the city. Dr. Auerbach helped Dr. Moses Grossman and Elsa TenBroeck to create the first city-wide Child Abuse Council. She worked with Patty Segal (Founder of Child Care Switchboard) to create the city’s first Children’s Council. She organized the first San Francisco Year-of-the-Child Conference and the first Educational Resources Conference held at Marina Junior High School. She worked on the plans to create the first Children’s Resource Center and presented it to the San Francisco Public Library as a new initiative. She worked with then Mayor Dianne Feinstein to create an Office for Childcare (the first city in the country to establish such an office).
Following a five-alarm fire in her live-in work loft in SOMA where she lost everything, she then created The San Francisco International Toy Museum at The Cannery in Fisherman’s Wharf, the first museum to offer hands-on play experiences plus ongoing rotating collections and exhibits of toys. Over 50,000 children visited the Museum before it was forced to close following the earthquake of 1989.
Dr. Auerbach is a 40-year member of the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the largest professional organization in early childhood education and often spoke at their national conferences on toys and games in the classroom. She has written articles for their magazine and recently contributed to their new website for parents.
Dr. Auerbach, known as “Dr. Toy”™ for the past 30 years, has a website www.drtoy.com. She is the author of three books on toys, and her latest, Smart Play Smart Toys, has been published in 13 countries. The Arabic edition published in Cairo will be released in early 2013.
She created the original and unique Dr Toy’s Annual Award Programs for Best Toys and Children’s Products including Best Green Products, Best Classics, 100 Best and Best Vacation, that review an extensive array of the best toys, games, and play products that make the transition from home to school. The products run the gamut from baby to older children, from low to high tech and include active, creative, educationally and developmentally appropriate activities.
Her books include Toys for a Lifetime, The Toy Chest The Whole Child, Choosing ChildCare,Confronting the Child Care Crisis and a 4 volume anthology Child Care a Comprehensive Guide on a range of child care issues. She has also written a novel, The Contest, and a screenplay based on the novel.
Dr. Auerbach is a mother, grandmother, and continues to advocate on behalf of children.