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Georgia Bourdens

Collaborator

My passion for early childhood education began my sophomore year of high school, on Wednesdays, when I would walk to the Sebastopol Center For the Arts after school and assist a woman in her art class run for young children. Here, I developed an appreciation and admiration for the qualities and characteristics unique to each and every child, which is oftentimes reflected in their artistic endeavors. I was given this assistant teacher role because of my love and passion for art, but quickly discovered another passion of mine: teaching and guiding children on their educational and personal journey to self-actualization. After I graduated high school in 2016, and began my college career at the Santa Rosa Junior College, I simultaneously began to babysit a one year old child weekly. Reflecting back to this experience, I am incredibly grateful to have been able to engage with a young child weekly, throughout the duration of my college career,  granting me the opportunity to witness and observe the daily life and milestones of a 1-6 year old aged child. I capitalized on the opportunity to observe her behaviors, reinforcing much of what was discussed in lectures, thus furthering my understanding of early childhood development. After 3 years at the SRJC, I transferred to Sonoma State University, where I graduated in December 2021 with my bachelors degree in early childhood development, with an emphasis in education. At Sonoma State I focused much of my personal research and senior annotated bibliography, on the associated benefits of incorporating nature into a child's life. I specifically focused on children with physical and learning disabilities such as ADHD, Obesity, and depression. To work in a preschool that immerses their students in a natural setting is a dream of mine, as I recognize the rich discoveries and learning opportunities only a natural setting can offer. I believe, in order to reach our greatest potential and self-actualization, children no matter their race, gender, sex, socioeconomic status, or varying disabilites, need an abundance of time to connect with nature. Doing so will positively influence the development of their mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as provide children with the tools needed to take responsibility, love, and care for the earth as their journey in this lifetime continues.

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Shawna Thompson

Director

I am a mother of two children (3 and 5.5) and I have been an early childhood educator for 20 years. I was privileged to be a founding teacher at some of the most innovative and excellent schools in San Francisco, such as Brightworks School, The New School of San Francisco, and Cow Hollow School.


Throughout my career, I’ve cultivated a passion for weaving outdoor excursions with a hands-on learning curriculum, nurturing opportunities for children to solve real problems using real tools. I have extensive training and experience in Reggio Emilia-inspired pedagogy, language and literacy, inquiry-based learning, parent participation, and the importance of play and choice (two human rights; both are foundational to our development!).


In addition to 14 years as a classroom teacher, I have facilitated workshops for parents and educators, contributed writings to two published early childhood education books, and co-authored a handbook as a start-up guide and training manual for a forest preschool. 

My mission is to expand our programming so that more children and families can benefit from a playful, nature-filled, co-constructed learning experience in which a happy childhood is honored and protected.