I have lived in Ashland for over 20 years and have a family of two sons with my husband. My sons are in 11th and 8th grade at Ashland High and the Siskiyou School. I have a background in natural history and outdoor and science education (BS in Botany, MS in Environmental Education) and have a lot of experience teaching elementary through adults in different program settings.
Since having my own children, I have immersed myself in learning more about the needs of young children and the Waldorf way of nurturing their growing bodies and minds. I have done a number of early childhood trainings and conferences at the Rudolf Steiner College, and continue to take advantage of mentoring and professional workshops. In 2016 I completed the Cedarsong Nature School teacher training with Erin Kenny, pioneer of US Forest Kindergartens.
I ran and taught my own Waldorf inspired preschool in my home for more than five years and assisted the ACORN program of outdoor discovery for first graders at the Siskiyou School for two years. Co-creating and teaching Little Gnomes Nature School has been a dream come true and it is so fulfilling to see the benefits of nature immersion reflected in the children we teach.
I welcome children with a grounded and calm presence, love for the wonder of early childhood, and a passion for nature immersion, the Waldorf curriculum, movement and sensory development, and the amazing natural world that surrounds us here in southern Oregon.
Almost 20 years ago I moved to Ashland from Germany. Here I have made a home with my husband, Aaron and our four children. Kaia is 25 and lives in LA., Tristan is 21 and lives in Portland, Ronin is a 8th grader and Leonidas is a 5th grader at the Siskiyou school.
My background is in traditional pedagogy and over 15 years ago I have found my love for Waldorf education. I have taught in many different settings, ranging from nursery to high school. With time I have found that I am most comfortable with children ages 2-6. Over the last eight years I have taught a Waldorf based, in-home preschool. I regularly visit workshops to further my education, locally and annually at the Rudolf Steiner College. During my training in Germany I had the opportunity to volunteer many hours in a forest kindergarten that my daughter was attending.
The importance of nature and outdoor education have been strong in my teachings, with my own kids and others. The love that little ones have for mother nature is striking and contagious. As a teacher I am mostly driven by my motherly instincts and by the children’s need. Integrating Waldorf curriculum with the natural world is a true passion of mine for many years. It fills my heart to see the children in nature on a daily basis and brings me joy to see them grow outdoors. I am so pleased to be offering a nature immersion program to this wonderful place called Southern Oregon.
You might say that I came to early childhood education by a circuitous path. Born and raised in Canada, I attended university for physical therapy. I worked as a PT for nearly 10 years then became enamored by the pre-school setting after our daughter began attending in Placerville, California, where we lived for many years.
After taking college classes in Early Childhood Education, I started teaching preschool, environmental education outreach programs in the public schools, and then working in the children’s department of the library.
And time has moved on… now we live in Ashland (since 2016), our daughter is 25 and a biologist and I still love being with young children, especially outdoors. Being at Little Gnomes feels like the most natural and rewarding thing in the world!
Since moving to the Rogue Valley in 2020 from more urban dwellings, I became enamored with the expansive wild places and green spaces abundant in this area for us all to learn and play in. I graduated from Cornell University having studied English and Environmental Science, with a background of work experience in outdoor education and arts education. Since then, I have pursued a meaningful and diverse mix of work that includes teaching play-based early childhood education and collecting scientific data in field ecology during the summer season. I am passionate about guiding children through experiences with nature, as they develop their inherent sense of wonder and stewardship of the natural world. I love sharing information about ecology with anyone with an interested ear, but especially with the creative young minds of our children, observing and discovering the rhythms and eccentricities of nature together. This passion has led me to work with Little Gnomes Nature School, where I am so excited to continue my journey as an educator, being outside and co-creating with children--my happy place!