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“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."

Rachel Carson, Sense of Wonder

 

About our Teachers

  • We hire teachers with complementary skill sets in both early childhood education and environmental education. Our teachers have experience working with young children and come from progressive fields of education with emphasis on nature-based, environmental, and outdoor learning. 

  • Everyone on our team, including interns and volunteers, undergo extensive background checks. Lead teachers have current CPR and First Aid certifications and have received Nature-Based Teacher Certification through the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS.org).

  • Our team participates in ongoing professional development including: collaborative planning, team meetings, attending and facilitating PD workshops, partnerships with other nature-based schools, written publications, membership to professional associations, and work with (or as) consultants, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

 

MEET OUR TEAM

These inspiring teachers lead our programs and cherish time in nature - rain or shine!

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Daniella Yaron Bacigalupa

Site Coordinator/Lead Teacher

As a life long lover of the outdoors, Daniella loves sharing her excitement with the children that she teaches. She finished her undergraduate degree, and then accepted that studying law was not for her! That is where she began her journey with nature-based education. Daniella is also a certified instructor of children's mindfulness and Yoga, inclusive of children with special needs. Daniella continues to take an integrative approach to learning, blending movement, emergent outdoor curriculum, and mindfulness in her work with young children.

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Kiley Dare

Lead Teacher

Kiley has been caring for young children since her early teens, working as the neighborhood babysitter. She spent eight years working for a progressive, arts-integrated charter school in Baltimore City as a paraeducator. As the Kindergarten teacher assistant, Kiley was fortunate to spend a lot of time outdoors with her students. As an avid hiker and camper, she brings a deep appreciation and curiosity for all living things. She loves to photograph nature, listen to birds and sit by the river. Kiley is also a personal trainer and yoga teacher and loves to be active with children. She looks forward to meeting families and children at Notchcliff!

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Kalliopi (Kelly) Katsaros

Lead Teacher

Kelly is a long-time early childhood educator who is excited to be working outdoors. She is certified as a level 1 Nature-Based Teacher with ERAFANS and is thrilled to join the team!

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Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, M.Ed.

Executive Director of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools, Founding Director of Notchcliff

Monica is an experienced leader in nature-based education. She is the founding director/co-director of three nature-based early learning programs in Maryland (The Nature Preschool at Irvine, Wild Haven Forest Preschool & Childcare, and now Notchcliff Forest Preschool). She is also the director of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to nature-based professional development.

When she is not in the forest, Monica travels far and wide to support the growth of nature preschools as a consultant and keynote presenter. She a contributing author to STEM In Early Childhood Education (Cohen and Waite-Stupiansky, 2019), and to the Nature-Based Preschool Professional Practices Guidebook (NAAEE, 2019). Most recently, she coauthored Nature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Experiences in All Seasons (Quarto Press, 2020). She is currently writing a book about nature-based education for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) with an expected release in Spring 2022.

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Lisa Mullaney

Lead Teacher

Lisa loves sharing the magic of nature and all of its wonders with her students, as the outdoors is a natural classroom.  As an AMS accredited Montessori teacher with more than a decade of experience, she has led preschool, kindergarten, and lower elementary classrooms.  She fully embraces the Montessori philosophy that, “when children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.”  When not teaching, she loves to spend time outdoors with her family, visiting state and national parks.

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Penelope Chan

Lead Teacher

A recent transplant from California, Penelope's passion is sharing the beauty and wonder of nature with children through art and storytelling. After obtaining her degree in Environmental Science and Policy with an emphasis in wetland ecology from Califorinia State University Long Beach, she enjoyed work with children of all ages as an elementary Montessori teacher and middle and high school science teacher.