Meet the Team!

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MS.KATRINA

BASc., B.Ed., ECE Level 3

Program Supervisor

Katrina is a certified Alberta teacher who holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Guelph, majoring in Child, Youth and Family. She studied for her elementary teaching diploma at the University of Otago in New Zealand and has eight years of experience teaching in early years classrooms and outdoor/environmental education for grades K-8 students. She is a registered Early Childhood Educator and is also certified as a Child Development Supervisor. Katrina is studying to complete her Masters of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication with Royal Roads University. Her current research has a particular focus in the topics of nature-play, risky play, and the importance of educators modelling empathy and fostering care for the earth in their practice with preschool children in early childcare settings.

 

Katrina understands the importance of providing young children opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with the natural world through outdoor play. As a young child, she had the opportunity to roam and explore her family’s 25-acre forest on a daily basis. In her own backyard, she was fortunate to be able to tap into her sense of discovery, adventure and play freely in the natural world. Katrina recognizes how these early natural experiences have shaped her ecological identity and lead her to becoming an outdoor education teacher. She strives to provide children in early childcare settings with similar positive nature-play experiences that fosters their overall growth, learning and development. There is an abundance of research on the benefits of early exposure and time spent learning and playing in nature. Through her teaching, Katrina endorses outdoor play, encourages children to tap into their curiosity, safely test their limits, as well as models care for self, others and the natural world. 

 

In order to improve the quality of early childhood education, current research recommends increasing the availability and use of nature-based play as well as nature connectedness. Katrina hopes to support these recommendations in her teaching practice and work with children at Little Forest Dwellers. 

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MR. TYLER

EMT, ECE Level 1, Education Assistant

Child Development Assistant

Tyler is an enthusiastic and thoughtful person with a variety of experiences working with children. He earned his Education Assistant Certificate through Mount Royal University and is a Level 1 Child Development Assistant.

 

He worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for five years before making the career change to child care. Tyler started working with children at Camp Adventure, a Summer camp run by the Boys & Girls Club. Since then he has worked at Calgary Arts Academy, 2,000 Days Pre-Kindergarten, and most recently Providence, a school for autistic children.

 

Tyler likes to keep active by longboarding, playing dodgeball, and hiking. He also likes playing board games and spending time with his fiancee Rachel and their pets.

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MS. LARYSA

LPN, ECE Level 3, Education Assistant

Child Development Supervisor

Larysa has her Early Childhood Development Diploma and Child Development Supervisor Certificate from Grant MacEwan in Edmonton. Larysa has worked in many different school type environments as an Educational Assistant. These placements ranged from specific special needs centers, home therapy and in public and private schools. She has also taken courses and attended conferences to enhance her learning with young children with many needs.

Larysa is also a mother of 2 older children, where she spends lots of hours in rinks watching her children play hockey and ringette. Larysa and her family enjoy camping in the summer, going for walks and spending time with her extended family in town and out. Larysa also enjoys Ukrainian dancing and ballet classes with an adult group.  She grew in a small town where she enjoyed exploring in the forest behind her house. Many days were spent bring home buckets of rocks, frogs and many other creatures that she had to return to their homes. Larysa is looking forward to explore nature with the children from their perspective of the environment.

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MS. COURTNEY

B.Ed., ECE Level 3

Child Development Supervisor

Courtney is an Alberta certified teacher with a Bachelor of Education degree from Mount Royal University. She has worked with children of all ages for over 10 years and has led several childcare programs focused on art, play-based learning, and physical education. She taught on Tsuut'ina Nation before moving to England to teach full-time for two years. She is certified as an Early Childhood Supervisor and is participating in ongoing training for outdoor and play-based learning. She has also started to learn how to play guitar and do a few magic tricks! Courtney loves yoga, climbing, and hiking, and is excited to be back near the mountains. 

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MS.MARCY

ECE Level 1, Education Assistant

Child Development Assistant

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ms. Marcy and I am very excited to join the Little Forest Dwellers team. I am the proud Mom of two adult children and my future son in law now makes it three.

When my children were students I left the world of banking and finance to study at the University of Calgary to become an Educational Assistant. I witnessed my two children struggle within the school system with completely opposite strengths and weaknesses. I needed two separate skill sets to help and support them. I needed to learn more.

 

My daughter was a reluctant learner who finally got assessed in Grade 10 and received the accommodations she needed to support her learning. Keeping a love of learning alive was my goal when she was frustrated and discouraged. Her younger brother was a born academic who benefited from extra challenges on top of his school work to keep him challenged but also needed reminders that perfection is not the goal. 

 

I have been working with special needs students in both a school and home setting for over 10 years. Every student I have the honor of supporting teaches me something that I then bring to my next role. 

 

A love of nature and the natural environment is such an important key in child development and overall learning. I am a member of The Calgary Horticulture Society and member of Reader Rock Garden. I love my garden and outdoor space. It feeds my soul. I am excited to share that with all of the Little Forest Dwellers!

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MS. STEPHANIE

Environment and Climate Educator

Substitute Teacher

Stephanie is an environmental educator and nature enthusiast. Her primary interest lies in helping young students deepen their sense of wonder by getting outside into nearby nature. She has seen the benefits that time outdoors can bring both in her own life and in the lives of children. She is endlessly amazed by the wonders of the living world and loves to help others find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Working with little ones at Little Forest Dwellers inspires her to see how young children do that every single day.

 

Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies from the University of Calgary and is currently completing her Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication from Royal Roads University. Her research involves creating resources to support local elementary school teachers to take students outside for learning.

 

In her spare time, when not out birdwatching or trying to convince her family to go out birdwatching with her, she can be found with her nose in a book, hiking in the mountains, meditating, or training for a triathlon. 

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MS. NICOLE

B.Ed., ECE Level 3

Substitute Teacher

Hi! My name is Ms. Nicole. I have worked with children since I was a teenager, working as a swimming instructor and Parks and Recreation camp leader while I was in High School.  I continued my love of working with children and completed my After Degree in Bachelor of Elementary Education from the University of Concordia after completing my Arts Degree.  I worked in the Edmonton Public School board for 7 years in various grades and was always attracted to working with the younger grades.  My family and I moved to Calgary 11 years ago and I took advantage of staying at home with my 2 daughters and cherishing our time together.  After a few years in Calgary I started teaching at a preschool and I must admit working with young children brings me so much joy.  Watching them explore our world and learning how they interact always amazes me. 

 

When I am not teaching you will find me spending time with my family and friends doing various outside adventures.  My family, my husband and 2 teenage daughters enjoy spending time hiking, camping as well as, skiing in the winter months.  Recently we added a furry family member, an Australian Shepherd, named Bowdy.  He has brought us so much laughter and we love his crazy endless energy!  I participate in a weekly agility class with Bowdy where we both learn new skills.  He has inspired me to learn to understand how animals think and I am currently taking a course at the Cochrane Humane Society to become a Canine Behaviourist and Instructor Certificate.  I have always enjoyed learning new skills and working with animals as well.

 

I look forward to getting to know your child and the families at Little Forest Dwellers Early Learning program.  I am excited to see the students explore and watch the preschool grow!