Hello, Friends!

Hello there. I am so glad that you have come into my playful, simplicity seeking space. I have always had an entrepreneuar’s mind with an educator’s heart. I am a nature loving mama of a sweet little girl(3 years) and a boy (born August 2018).  I am also a lucky wife to my college sweetheart, Zach and have two lovable dogs. We live in Greenville, SC.

 I believe that childhood should be cherished, dirt is meant to be played in and songs are meant to be sung.

I research, I consult and I pour my heart into helping others learn  mindful ways to help their little ones play and grow. My focus is on helping families create a happy home through gentle habit formation, play-based learning and nature. 

I pull from many different influences to create the home environment that we have. My husband and I have found ourselves saying the phrase, “Everything is on the table, right?” before we jump into a conversation. We  pull influence from forrest schools, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, but most importantly the wisdom of our parents and grandparents.

Formal Bio:

  • Master’s degree in Behavioral Disorders, specializing in Positive Behavior Support
  • Undergrad in Special Education, K-12 Certified
  • Taught Special Education, Kindergarten-2nd Grade
  • Founded/Ran an Academic Coaching and Education Consulting Company in Tampa,FL

Current Adventures:

  • Coordinator and Founder of Playful By Design Co., a community of mindful parents embracing play and simplicity
  • Director of Roots+Wings Playschool in Greenville, SC (Launch August 2017)
  • Facebook Group Play-Based Greenville

Roots+Wings Play Promoters

Natasha, Founder “It has been a dream of mine to open a school that truly exemplifies what I want for my own child- a place where childhood is embraced, academic are taught through literature and play and time outdoors is valued. I wanted to open a school where parents were friends, student’s emotional well being and habit formation was of higher importance than their ability to compute math problems and learn phonics. My passion and focus on nature based learning is the core of Roots+Wings classes. 

What I have been given the opportunity to offer is even better than this. I have been gifted friendship with other mindful parents that want the same for their children. My Role in Roots+Wings is to support families as well as to  guide the group with fun and engaging learning. I am overwhelmed with excitement as my mom and I plan for the expansion of Roots+Wings Playschool. I have enjoyed nature alongside my mom since my childhood. I have memories of carrying rocks around the yard to help my parents construct beautiful rock gardens, pull weeds and chat about each flower that my hands touched and spend hours walking along fields and paths with my family. When I became a mom, I was again reminded of how grounded my body and soul is with nature. My mom and I spent hours bopping around her flower farm, tending to my herb garden….and sipping Sangria on the porch while hanging with my little girl. Our time outside continues to be a treasured part of my life.” 

Sandy, Curriculum Director & Roots+Wings Nature School Teacher
“Like so many of us, my love for the natural world is rooted in my family. My great-grandma planted a huge garden every year until she died in her 90s. My grandma’s pride in her summer tomatoes was not unlike someone bragging about an exceptional child.  My dad was a DIY landscape architect  and I accompanied him to nurseries, seed hunting adventures and planted saplings in return for gas money.  My mom could never grow enough flowers and was a supporter of pollinators way before it was a thing!  So you see, there was no way that I was going to escape this life without my hands in the soil!  Over the years I have planted endless gardens, started a small flower farm, worked at plant nurseries, self-studied botany and read seed catalogs like they are bestselling fiction!  I’m excited for the next step. 
Before moving to South Carolina, I worked with young children, many with disabilities, in Tampa, Florida.  I observed how a child would change when brought outside and how absorbed children become when presented with pine cones, soil, worms, sticks, leaves and so many other treasure of the natural world.  When I moved to South Carolina I enrolled in Clemson University’s Master Garden program and fulfilled a dream of becoming a certified master gardener.  I realized that there are wonderful opportunities for school-age children to participate in nature studies, but few opportunities for very young children.  My daughter and I started brainstorming and over the course of a year, we began to establish a clear vision on what we wanted for young children.  
We see every learning opportunity rooted in play. We believe in following a child’s lead as they explore the natural world.  We believe that children have extraordinary curiosity about the natural world and this should be nurtured.  We believe that when a child engages with nature something special happens that they will carry thorough out their entire life.  
Planting seeds, both literally and figuratively is what we strive to do.  Propagation, basic botany, soil and water science, parts of an insect, growing vegetables, seeding fruits and basic ecology are not beyond a preschooler’s grasp.  Building with sticks, watching the way water flows, dissecting flowers and fruits, holding a wiggly worm, looking at a grasshoppers legs with a magnifying glass…all “play”.  Math, science, social studies, literature, art, and music are possible without formality and their potential in the natural world is endless.  Working with young children and building a community that supports outdoor learning is my goal and I’m lucky to have a daughter who shares this mission.  

Laura,  Sensory Experience Teacher

Before staying home with her daughters, Laura was a therapeutic classroom teacher. Her knowledge of a sensory-rich environment is rooted in both her teaching experience and her hands-on experience as mother. She is continually finding creative ways to introduce sensory bins and motor practice. 

Mary,  Arts and Crafts Teacher

Art has always been a part of Mary’s life and she was fortunate to attend a creative arts high school that exposed her to various mediums of art. Her art philosophy is, “It may be messy, but it’ll be worth it!” Mary dreams up beautiful ways for children to express themselves. 

 

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for joining the Playful By Design Community. I am truly grateful for every one of you.