The goal of Natural Start Preschool’s teachers and staff is to create a warm, nurturing learning environment that offers young children daily opportunities to explore nature and provides them with a unique, hands-on learning program designed to build a solid foundation for future school experiences. All of our teachers/staff are certified in First Aid and CPR and have passed a Washington State background check. To allow for optimal supervision and individualized attention, teacher-to-student ratios are 1:6 for the Junior Explorers class and 1:7 for the Explorers class.
Stephanie is a Naturopathic Physician specializing in pediatrics and family medicine. She graduated from Seattle’s Bastyr University in 1998 and has spent the past 20+ years working with children and teaching families about health and nutrition. As one of the co-founders of Natural Start Preschool, Stephanie is passionate about fostering young children's learning and development through age-appropriate curriculum, outdoor exploration and play, and daily interactions with the natural world. She considers it an immense privilege to be able to experience each child's innate sense of wonder and curiosity come alive as they explore the forests and meadow surrounding our preschool, learn about insects and animals, plant seeds in the garden, and discover the other natural habitats of our preschool home. Stephanie lives in Bellevue (where she also grew up!) and is an avid hiker, gardener, and birdwatcher. She has a teenage son with whom she loves playing football, going to parks, traveling, and sharing a variety of outdoor adventures. In her spare time, she also enjoys reading, knitting, archery, cooking healthy meals, spending time with family and friends, and going on long nature walks.
Victoria grew up in Michigan, where she developed an appreciation for the outdoors throughout the four seasons. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and has teaching experience from preschool up through the middle school level. This is Victoria’s seventh year at NSP and she feels fortunate to be able to share the wonders of the outdoors with her preschoolers. When she’s not teaching preschool, Victoria enjoys volunteering, hiking, traveling, gardening, and strumming the guitar. Victoria lives in Issaquah with her husband David, teenage sons David and Dane, and rescue lab-mix Loki.
Mirsa received her Bachelor's Degree (Cum Laude) in Early Childhood Education at Trinity Lutheran College. Her work with young children has included volunteering at V.I.B.E.S., Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church preschool, Acorn Learning Center (an urban nature school), and Mary Queen of Peace. Mirsa loves spending time with children because of their curiosity and their unique perspective on the world. Because her father took their family out every week, Mirsa grew up exploring and playing in different natural environments that helped foster her love for nature. She currently lives in Bellevue with her husband and two children, Danny (age 7) and Ahri (age 2) with whom she enjoys playing and exploring the outdoors. Some of their favorite activities are creating "mud kitchens", watching the stars and clouds, rolling down hills, gardening, looking for "beautiful" rocks, playing in the rain, and jumping in puddles! When not playing, Mirsa enjoys reading, singing, listening to rock, hiking, wrestling, skateboarding, plucking her violin, and knitting.
Sandra was born and raised in Bellevue. She has two children, Breanna (age 13) and Braeden (age 10). Sandra has worked with young children for many years and has completed coursework in Early Childhood Education. She is certified in First Aid and CPR. Sandra is passionate about health, nutrition, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Her favorite pastimes include music, running, hiking, CrossFit, swimming, biking, gardening, and playing outdoors with her children.
Sneha joined Natural Start Preschool in the fall of 2019, after being a stay-at-home mom raising her three wonderful children. She grew up in India, where she earned her degree in child development, and has been working with children ever since her college days. Sneha has always enjoyed being around kids – keeping them engaged in activities, working on their fine motor skills, and fostering their social and emotional development. She runs a variety of summer programs out of her home, including a Kids' Camp, arts & crafts classes, DIY projects, and educational classes that encourage young minds to explore. Sneha also enjoys interacting with other moms and dads to share ideas on parenting and keeping kids engaged. Her pastimes include biking, spending time outdoors, traveling, learning about different cultures, and – most importantly – keeping her kids away from electronics.
"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives."
-Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth