Meet the Team!

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MS.COURTNEY 
Director

B.Ed., ECE Level 3

Director/Child Development Supervisor/Early Childhood Educator 

Hi! I'm Miss Courtney, your director at Little Forest Dwellers. I've always had a passion for the outdoors, and for working with children. I have over 10 years of experience working with children of all ages, and have led several childcare programs that focused on art, play-based learning, and physical education. I hold an Alberta teaching certification, and received my Bachelor of Education degree from Mount Royal University here in Calgary. I minored in Mathematics, and the courses I took showed me the beauty of nature and all the patterns it holds.

 

I have a passion for nature-responsive learning, and learning through story-telling. I had the pleasure of doing my teaching practicum on Tsuut'ina Nation, where I learned ways of teaching children how to get resources from, and learn from, the land. After my student teaching experience I moved to England to teach full-time for two years. There I taught in an early years classroom, and found my passion for teaching in Early Childhood Education. I love watching and exploring the world through the eyes of young children, and seeing the wonder and amazement that comes with discovering the world around them.

 

After returning to Canada, I became certified as an Early Childhood Supervisor and began working at Little Forest Dwellers when it opened its doors in October 2020. I have been taking ongoing training for outdoor and play-based learning, and couldn't be more excited to turn my knowledge into meaningful learning experiences for the children.

 

Outside of Little Forest Dwellers you might find me hiking, rock climbing, doing yoga, hanging out with my dog Molly, or learning a new skill like playing the guitar or learning the harmonica! 

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MR.STEPHEN

Early Childhood Educator Level 3

Child Development Supervisor/Early Childhood Educator

Hi! I'm Mr. Stephen, one of your teachers at Little Forest Dwellers. I moved to Canada over 5 years ago from England, and have a combined honours degree in Early Childhood Development Studies, and Education Studies. I joined the Early Years field, as I discovered one of my true passions which was helping nurture and develop children, and what better way to do this than helping children explore and grow in their formative years. 

 

Through my studies I quickly found a love for outdoor learning, which is why I am very excited to be joining the Little Forest Dwellers team. I find the outdoor environment lends so many new, and different lenses to child development and exploration, and believe that children teach us just as much as we teach them. 

 

I live with my husband and our 2 cats Ollie and Oscar, and enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors, photography, and going to the movies. I am really looking forward to building meaningful, and positive relationships with the children, families, and team. 

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MS. LARYSA

LPN, ECE Level 3, Education Assistant

Child Development Supervisor/Early Childhood Educator

Hello! I'm Ms. Larysa, one of your teachers at Little Forest Dwellers. I have my Early Childhood Development Diploma and Child Development Supervisor Certificate from Grant MacEwan in Edmonton. I've worked in many different school type environments as an Educational Assistant. These placements ranged from specific special needs centres, home based therapy and in public and private schools. I have also taken courses and attended conferences to enhance my learning surrounding young children with many needs.

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

MS. MELISSA

ECE Level 1

Child Development Assistant/Early Childhood Educator

Hi! I'm Miss Melissa. I just started working at Little Forest Dwellers and I'm currently working on my bio. Stay tuned! :)

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MS. STEPHANIE

Environment and Climate Educator

Child Development Assistant & Substitute Educator

Hi! I'm Ms. Stephanie. I am an environmental educator and nature enthusiast! My primary interest lies in helping young students deepen their sense of wonder by getting outside into nearby nature. I have seen the benefits that time outdoors can bring both in my own life and in the lives of children. I am endlessly amazed by the wonders of the living world and love to help others find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Working with little ones at Little Forest Dwellers inspires me to see how young children do that every single day.

 

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

 

In my spare time, when not out birdwatching or trying to convince my family to go out birdwatching with me, I can be found with my 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!