Welcome to A Child In Mind

I am excited to be able to share my years of experience in nature based education. It is my hope that my site will become a resource for adults who care for children and who are looking for ideas and resources that will help them to connect young children in their care to the natural world.

My kindergarten students drawing the landscape of Ellwood Mesa shore line.

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 with him joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.

Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

A Little Bit About Me

I am a recently retired elementary school principal and before that I taught school for 13 years as an elementary school teacher in grades kindergarten, 3rd grade and 6th grade. I worked in the school system for 21 years.  As a principal I implemented a restorative approach to discipline, school-wide empathy practices and parent education classes on health, food/nutrition/gardening, empathy, and restorative justice. As an elementary school teacher I was intentional about designing units of study for students in grades Kindergarten-6th grade that focused on developing healthy self-esteem (SEL). Whether students were out on Ellwood Mesa coastal bluffs exploring the natural habitat of the flora and fauna or back at the school site, tending the Monarch butterfly garden, feeding the worms, collecting eggs from their chickens, or harvesting crops in the garden, the ethic of care was intentionally woven into the instructional tapestry.  The Ethical Trinity, “Taking Care of Yourself, Taking Care of Each Other, Taking Care of this Place” was our classroom motto that guided our work as we created our classroom culture of caring. I also dedicated years of service to land preservation, which culminated in the Saving of Ellwood Mesa, an overwintering site for the Monarch Butterflies, in my school’s backyard on the Ellwood Bluffs in Goleta, CA. During the years as a principal I also taught history social science methods in the teacher education program. When I retired from the public school system I became the Co-Director of Teacher Education at Antioch University, Santa Barbara, where I supported and mentored teacher candidates, and simultaneously taught social science methods, and nature-based early childhood curriculum courses. I have presented at state and national conferences on the following topics:

  • In Mud Conference 2020 – Teton Science School, Jackson, Wyoming – Nurturing the Child’s Sense of Belonging in the Natural World
  • In Bloom Conference, Santa Barbara, CA
    • 2015 – Monarchs in the Classroom and on Ellwood Bluff
    • 2016 – Stimulating Nature Awareness in Early Childhood and Creating a Nature Keepsake Journal
    • 2017 – Inside and Outside Environments for Place Based Learning in Early Childhood
  • Math and Science in the Garden (K-3rd grade)
  • Garden-Based Learning Through Literature & Drama (ECE)
  • Nurturing Naturalists: Cross-Curricular Teaching Practices that Instill an Environmental Ethic (2002 Statewide Conference, Malibu, CA)
  • Nurturing Naturalists ~ Ecological Literacy Across the Curriculum