THE HUMMINGBIRD CLASSROOM, 2-3 YEAR OLDS
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I am excited to be part of the Curious by Nature school! I am married and a mother to a beautiful, spirited daughter who keeps us on our toes! I moved to the Gig Harbor area from Nebraska in 2007 and am still in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds us. I have a passion for the outdoors I believe its important for children to develop a connection to nature. It is exciting to see children discover the wonders of the natural world.
I graduated with degree in nursing from Nebraska Methodist College and have spent my career as a Registered Nurse working in pediatrics specializing in Neonatal Intensive Care. My passion for health and wellness continues and I look forward to supporting the development and wellbeing of some of the youngest members of our community.
In my free time I enjoy Crossfit, hiking, kayaking, yoga and art.
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I was born in Ottawa, Ontario Canada but moved to the states when I was 8 years old where I spent most of my life in Georgia. My family and I have called Gig Harbor home for the past 4 years. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and was a baker for several years until I had my two sons. For the past few years I have been a substitute teacher at Curious by Nature School and a nanny. I am really looking forward to teaching at Curious by Nature this year!
THE ORCA CLASSROOM, 3-4 YEAR OLDS
Miss Deborah - Head Teacher
I am thrilled to be teaching the Orca class again this year! I am a graduate of Western Washington University and traveled the world as an Air Force kid and then as an Air Force wife. All of those many moves helped me to realize how beautiful the Puget Sound is and how lucky we are to have it in our backyard!
My experience includes teaching preschool in various states as well as serving as a preschool Director in Anchorage, Alaska. I have my Early Childhood Education credential through NAEYC. The Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education is something I have been studying and utilizing throughout my career, and I’m thrilled to join a program with this philosophy.
When I’m not playing pirates in the classroom, I am trying to keep up with my 3 boys, chasing one of my chickens or gardening! As a Pierce County Master Gardener I love to teach earth science in the classroom, especially how to grow your own veggies. I also recently received my PADI scuba certification and I’m excited for the opportunity to teach my students about our beautiful Puget Sound!
Miss Janeth - Assistant Teacher
This is my 7th year here at GGHF Curious by Nature School. I love and enjoy working here! I'm originally from the Philippines and have lived in Gig Harbor since 1990. I graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I met my husband, who was in the US Navy. We have been truly blessed with two boys, Justin and Jared. My family and I love nature and being outdoors. We grow our own vegetables and fruits, and raise chickens and we gather the natural seasonal bounty here in the Puget Sound area. I like to make crafts that reflect my interests in the natural world. I love children and have 20 years of childcare experience in the Gig Harbor area.
THE FOX DEN CLASSROOM (ALL-OUTDOOR SECTION), 4-5 YEAR OLDS/PRE-K
MAKER MONDAY & FOREST FRIDAY, 3-5 YEAR OLDS
Miss Nikki - Lead Teacher
Some people call me Nik, 3 special boys call me Mom, and now that I have joined the GGHF Curious by Nature Team as the first all-outdoor program, I get to be Miss Nikki! I began my journey on the beaches and in the pinelands of Southern New Jersey in a neighborhood where I could play outside until the streetlights came on. I fell in love with storms, trees, the ocean, and the fireflies!
My passion for the outdoors and science lead me to join the Army and earn my A.S. as a Medical Laboratory Technician. I spent many nights under the stars training in the rain, wind, and sand. Thirteen years ago my travels brought me here to Washington State. The splendor of the Great North West just took my breath away. I am proud to now call WA home.
After becoming a mother I took a good long look at the way children and nature have begun to separate. I spent many days bringing nature art projects to the children at Geiger Montessori School but I knew I wanted to do more. I earned my BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington and followed it up by earning my Massage Therapist license to balance out my studies.
Now here I am at this gem of a school tucked away in beautiful Gig Harbor! I am thrilled to come in everyday and see these wonderful young faces eager to explore their world. I truly enjoy being part of a community that still believes kids need to get out into nature. I look forward to every discovery and adventure this special place has to offer.
Miss Briana - Naturalist
I spend as much time outdoors as I possibly can. I grew up in SoCal where our dominant nature colors are blue and gold. Now that I am back up north there are stunning shades of green all around. Then, in the fall there are all those lovely golds, reds, and oranges everywhere. I love all the amazing fungus among us, the slimy slugs, and all the feathered friends that sing in the PNW forest. I first came up to this land of green to go to school at The Evergreen State College where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. I missed my golden sun and sparkly blue ocean so I returned home to thaw out. I had the pleasure of teaching at the beach, forests, and local parks. I loved it so much I knew I could never teach completely inside. The University of Washington’s Natural Scientific Illustration certificate program brought me back. I have finished the program and look forward to my Animal Behavior certificate program, which I will be completing in 2019. I am eager to use my skills to help your children learn all about our local forests. See you out there!
Kaiti Dewhirst - Naturalist
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THE OTTER & OWL CLASSROOMS, 4-5 YEAR OLDS/PRE-K
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I grew up in Hood River, Oregon in the shadows of Mt. Hood. My childhood was filled with farm animals and playing in the forest with my brothers. We had the freedom to hike and explore the hill side, just the three of us. That freedom which I had as a child started my love for the outdoors. When I was in high school I helped with the preschool which was part of our school. That was the beginning of my path into early childhood education. After I graduated I went to the Alaskan bush and was a Nanny for a commercial fishing family. When I moved back to the Northwest I started trying to find my perfect balance of my two passions (the outdoors and working with young children). I have worked for head start, private child care centers, corporate and I have even ran my own nanny share. In the twenty years of working and studying in the field of early childhood education, I think I have finally found the perfect center. The philosophy at Curious by Nature is one that I completely agree with. It was how I was raised and how I’m raising my own children. I’m a mom of three children (11,7 and 4). Having a 6th grader and 2nd grader I have seen first hand how much the schools are asking of children. I want to help prepare your children for this huge change that is about the happen next year. My goal is to help them socially, emotionally and cognitively. I would love to see them become more confident in their own abilities.
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Howdy! As a native Tacoma-n, there's something about rain-soaked trails and stoic evergreens that just feels right. My family hiked, bike, boated, and skiied for much of my childhood. I first discovered my passion for adventurous education at the Science and Math Institute, where the zoo, beach, and forest were my high school classrooms. During summers off from studying policy in college, I worked for summer programs at Point Defiance Zoo. I'll let you in on a secret-- zoo keepers might get to work with tigers and walruses, but summer camp staff have the cooler job. Each day I helped kids fuel their curiosity in and about their local environments, and I saw the importance of getting young minds outdoors. So I switched my major to environmental education and never looked back. Children need to explore and play in order to build strong identities and relationships, and my goal as an educator is to provide opportunities to do so. Although I've followed my passion for exploration from Ruston to Vermont to Japan and beyond, I'm happiest learning and growing in the Pacific Northwest. I'm thrilled to be a part of the team at the Curious by Nature School, who share my educational philosophy and passion for the outdoors.
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My name is Grace and I was born and raised on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula, where my parents raised my siblings and I to be, what my mom refers to us as her “nature children”! Growing up, we loved to go hiking, camping, exploring the seashores and swimming in the local lakes. This has grown into a love of the natural world that I still carry with me in adulthood! I have served as a program leader at a local camp where I got to really learn how to have fun with kids in all circumstances and how to be in wonder of the people and things around us! Working as a nanny and a preschool teacher I have loved to see children learn and connect with one another. I am a firm believer that there is so much we can learn from observing the world around us and I am so excited to help children discover that here at Curious By Nature!
Miss Amanda - Camp Coordinator
I am so blessed and thankful to be a part of Curious by Nature School, and have the opportunity to guide and support the growth of children in our community! In August of 2010, my family moved to Gig Harbor from Napa, California, and I have fallen in love with it the 6 years we’ve been here. Washington is such a beautiful place! I graduated from Gig Harbor High School in 2015 and am now working towards a degree in Child Psychology with a minor in Education and the goal of becoming an Elementary School Teacher. Throughout high school and into college I worked in childcare, getting to know many wonderful families in the Harbor and expanding my knowledge and experience, which led me to this wonderful school! One of my passions, outside of education, is the ocean. My favorite ways to spend leisure time is beach combing, tide pool searching, and learning new things about the ocean and the world it holds. Some other pastimes I have are learning the ukulele, going on hikes and exploring new areas, archery, watching movies and playing games with friends. I am excited to create, experience and grow as part of Curious by Nature School!