Vanya has more than 15 years' experience with early learners and has embraced a nature curriculum for the last five, due to her observations that children playing outdoors have longer attention spans and a more serious attitude to their "work". It’s pretty easy to tell that a child who has been outside all day is likely to be mentally alert, have a good appetite, and sleep deeply. She treats children not as equals, exactly, but certainly as reasonable, intelligent people who can make good, supported decisions.
Vanya has been proudly serving the mission of the Kids' Ranch in Rock Springs. Her background teaching college English and art, as well as her love of music, ensures that rainy days and inside time balance the curriculum.
Vanya has a B.S. in Psychology and a Master's in Fine Arts, and has taught children in nature in California, Oregon, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In her spare time she writes, draws, and plays music with her husband Chris. She is certified in First Aid/CPR and at Level 14 on the Wisconsin Registry.
While mainly assuring that the school and mealtimes run smoothly and that the facility is cared for, Chris meets state standards to care for children and has been further trained by Vanya to conform to the specific philosophy of Greenhouse Nature School. His help is invaluable when we bake, garden, and explore the property.