Cheryl Fontaine

About Cheryl

My love of the outdoors started young. I grew up in the Okanagan where I spent many hours in our family’s big ol’ back yard, riding my bike around the yard, gardening with my mom, eating the juicy peaches we grew, building roads and cities in the sandbox with my brother.  As I grew older I remember biking down to the nearby creek to swim, family camping trips and ice skating at the local outdoor rink. However I always loved the towering, lush green of the west coast and left the interior for the lower mainland in 1998.

Once I got to the lower mainland I did a variety of jobs in the service industry and eventually found a career as a legal assistant where I worked for about 12 years.  While work as a legal assistant was a stable and secure, I felt unfilled and I longed to leave and do something in line with one of my other passions.  My life changed directions completely with the birth of my son in 2013.  I was a new mother and did not have the heart to go back to work that I was not passionate about and leave my son in a daycare.  Of course like many families we couldn’t even find a daycare.  As a family we made the decision for me to stay at home for a time.  While my son was just one year old I decided to go down the path to open my own home based daycare so my son would have other children to play and socialize with.  It was during this time while running my own LNR daycare in East Vancouver that my eyes were opened to the world of forest school and outdoor education.  It was something I always believed to be true – that children thrive in the experience of being outdoors where their imaginations can flourish and their bodies can be challenged.  Mud, puddles and sticks! Now I was able to facilitate outdoor play in my own daycare. The path I was on felt right to me.

 After enrolling my son in an outdoor early learning program, I became inspired to go back to school to obtain my ECE Certificate and now currently hold an Early Childhood Educator Certificate. For the past four years, I have worked as an outdoor educator and have been with Muddy Boot Prints, an outdoor preschool program in Vancouver, for the last three years.

I am the owner and operator of Room to Roam Outdoor Learning. I have since worked with school aged children in my own after school program but still love the preschoolers.  I have a passion for getting children outdoors. I believe play, particularly outdoor play, is so important for little ones to explore, create and learn.

In my spare time, I enjoy biking, gardening, camping with my family and plinking on my ukulele.

About Nina

Childcare has always been a passion for Nina, raising her own nibblet while attending night school in order to earn her early childhood educator diploma with honors. She ran her own day care for eight years and is excited to join with a team who shares her values. Specifically an outside education setting which elevates the need for children’s input and child led education styles. An emphasis on play and fostering an environment which builds non-conventional education models is of specific interest, allowing children to be children. Childhood is such a unique and special time that enjoying those years can specifically build a foundation for a happy and fulfilled life.

Leila

About Leila

Miss Leila comes with a Bachelor of Education and General Studies from Simon Fraser University with minors in Curriculum and Instruction, Social Justice as well as an Elementary Generalist. She has been teaching in the Coquitlam School District this past year.  She has worked particularly well with the kindergarteners and believes in creating a positive learning environment that fosters a sense of belonging! Through her eyes, she sees nature as a gift that we can actively engage with and learn from at any given moment. One of her favourite outdoor memories was seeing her students’ imagination and creativity flourish while they pretended to cook in the forest, using rocks as blueberries and sticks to make waffles. It fills her heart with excitement and enjoyment when she is outside, rain or shine! She says, “Teaching is an opportunity to provide meaningful experiences, wherein a child can make lasting connections and develop a sense of wonder.”

The following quote from Ann Pelo has deeply resonated with her philosophy of teaching:

 “Our work as educators is to support children’s unfolding into place and the opening of their hearts to the Earth”. 

Leila has had some great teaching experience under her belt this past year but I can’t wait for you all to meet her because she is a joyful, sparkling light that cares deeply about each child she teaches.  I am so excited for Leila to be joining us this summer!

All spiritual life begins with a sense of wonder, and nature is a window into that wonder.

-Richard Louv