meet the team
I feel honored to be supported by a team of passionate & trusted educators, parents and experts in the field of child development. They are invaluable resources I turn to and collaborate with when making choices that affect your child’s education and care. Additionally, you may meet these lovely folks along the way as they offer their time hiking, assisting in the classroom or leading activities such as yoga, music and dance.
Working with preschoolers brings me overwhelming joy and fulfillment. It’s what I do best, what I love most and what I plan to devote a lifetime to.
I have spent the last 10 years working with children–as a preschool teacher for 6 and a volunteer at a therapeutic residential treatment facility during my years away from teaching. Concerns and frustrations with overly structured early childhood environments initially led me away from the field of education. I spent a few years pursuing other careers, all the while resisting the pull to return to teaching. I was thrilled to discover the existence of forest & outdoor preschools as well as the Reggio Emilia approach and quickly returned to the classroom, this time with a renewed sense of purpose, passion and focus. I’ve independently devoured much of the related literature since then, am currently working toward a degree in Early Childhood Education (my previous degrees being in Film and Business), and also enjoyed the privilege of being a teacher and assistant director at an amazing Reggio-inspired, nature preschool in Austin in the years preceding the opening of Woodland Schoolhouse.
There is nowhere I feel more alive than under a leafy, green canopy with a rushing creek beneath my feet. Nothing moves me more than rediscovering this world through the eyes of a child. I am deeply passionate about children’s need for a connection with nature and the opportunity to explore their world, unhindered. I am immensely excited and humbled to be your child’s guide.
Ellana – Assistant, Substitute & Music/Dance Teacher
I am humbled and honored to be a part of Nicole’s team in this incredibly nurturing environment for kids. I believe we can change the world with unconditionally loved little ones. The support, exposure and freedom they get during this developmentally sensitive period makes for more caring, curious and innovative adults. I am the product of an alternative preschool and elementary schoolhouse setting that created the foundation for my love of learning and love of life. I’ve worked extensively with children as an experienced nanny/babysitter, private voice instructor, Gymboree play and music teacher, director of children’s theatre and am currently with Armstrong Community Music School. I hold a BFA from Western Michigan University in music theatre performance and a Masters in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago. My passion is on the stage; I have performed with Esther’s Follies for six years now and I am loving every minute of it. I sing, dance, act, play banjo and ukulele and assist the magician. I am Program Director for our first ever School of Comedy summer camps, teaching and sharing the joys of Esther’s unique style of musical comedy.
I cannot wait to meet your little human beings- to find out what excites them, to explore the world with them and share all the fascination of imagination, play, music, dance and arts of all kinds.
Elisha – Advisor & Parent Educator
Through warm relatedness, heart-based play, and body-mind strategies, I partner with young kids and families to nurture relationships, regulate the nervous system, and address the root cause of emotional and behavioral concerns, often employing elements of the natural world. I am a certified kids yoga teacher and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate with a Master of Arts in Counseling from St. Edward’s University.
As a mental health professional, I believe that connection with the natural world is a vital part of health and well-being. Fostering a child’s relationship with nature may be one of the most important things we can do to enhance his or her social and emotional development. It is my belief that our brains and bodies are designed to receive important sensory input from the natural world necessary for growth and development. Emerging research even shows that interaction with nature can have incredibly beneficial effects, and in some cases reduces or eliminates the need for medication. My experience is that connection with nature can improve mood, emotion regulation, self-awareness, and self-worth.
In my role as a consultant and parent educator at Woodland Schoolhouse, I am honored to support your child’s most important relationships: child to self, child to parent, child to peer, child to teacher and child to nature.