Chavitos! Nature School
Chavitos Guides for 2021-2022
Meag Diamond is a Cedarsong certified Forest Kindergarten teacher. For 16 years she has taught in the public and private school environments in Washington and in Lagos, Nigeria. Before starting Chavitos she spent six years at a local public Montessori school as a Lower Elementary Teacher (grades 1-3). Meag holds her National Board Certification in Literacy and also possesses a Montessori certification. When she saw her older son's love for nature she started to think creatively about a solution that would get both of them into the woods together more often. Now she has witnessed the powerful magic of the forest with her 5 year old. Chano has been in the forest since he was one month old and it's hard to get him to come inside.
Meag is passionate about plant medicine. She has started growing herbal medicine in her wild garden and uses them in her home apothecary. Her and Jose dream of a homestead where she can grow veggies, medicine and plants of natural dying. Her goal in life is to slow way down.
Meag (she/her/hers) teaches daily at the Elementary program. She speaks basic Spanish.
Jose Estrada is originally from Guatemala where he spent six years teaching physical education and coaching soccer, lacrosse and swimming. For four years he worked at Safe Passage where he worked with some of Guatemala's neediest children. It was here where he met Meag who was volunteering for a week. His passion is to incorporate play and recreation into education with an emphasis on exploring nature in our diverse community. Jose and his sons Keats and Chano love to learn through cooking, dancing and biking to the farmers market.
He has been drawn to the Waldorf philosophy and has started his teacher training. This is his second year studying with this program.
Jose (he/him/his) teaches full days at the preschool in September-May and is a Native Spanish speaker.
Jessica has been in Western Washington since she was 16 and first found solace in the supportive embrace of the Key Peninsula forests. Before that she bounced between California and spending time with her maternal family in Mexico. After completing her BA from the University of Washington in East Asian Studies, Jessica traveled through India, France, and Thailand and has taught English in Japan.
Studying East Asian philosophy taught her about compassion and the belief in the life spirit of everything around us. Traveling has taught her about the beautiful diversity and possibility in the world.
Following teaching English abroad, Jessica interned and has been an organic farmer for over five years locally on Vashon Island and also in the Puyallup Valley. In farming, Jessica realized the healing power of loving the earth like a relative and wanted to share her passion for nourishing ourselves by connecting with and honoring life all around us. Participating in the care and nurturing of children is an act of hope and resilience. She looks forward to growing and playing with the children in the forest and connecting with fellow nature lovers in community.
In her free time, Jessica loves to garden, practice yoga, rock climb, cook, and be her wild animal self by playing as much as possible.
Jessica (she,her,hers) teaches Monday-Friday Full days at the preschool. She is a basic Spanish speaker.
Valeria is originally from Mexico where she studied biology. Being a biologist allowed her to have countless field trips where she explored almost every type of vegetation in Mexico. Perhaps it was when she was following the migratory route of the monarch butterfly or when determining the habitat of the military macaw when she realized how much she loves to share about nature. As a way to involve the public in science she became an environmental educator at a kindergarten. Her love for kids and desire to learn English brought her to the United States through a cultural exchange.
It was in Washington where she fell in love with the evergreen forest of the Pacific Northwest (and her husband too). Her passion for learning and helping out led her into many volunteer opportunities and her current jobs as an education specialist for the Vashon Nature Center and a naturalist for the Environmental Science Center. On her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking and biking.
Vale (she, her, hers) teaches full days on Wednesday and Friday at the preschool, September-May. She is a Native Spanish speaker.
Abril is originally from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. At the age of 3, she and her family moved to Southern California where she lived until she joined the U.S Army after Highschool. She fell in love with nature while she moved from base to base, exploring what each region had to offer. After the end of her service, she found her passion for working with children and got her certification in early childhood development. Abril is currently working on getting her degree in Psychology in Washington.
In North Carolina, she worked as a school-age teacher and an assistant nature teacher at a Montessori learning center. In her free time, Abril enjoys rock climbing, yoga, hiking, painting, and cooking.
Abril (she,her,hers) teaches Monday-Friday mornings at the preschool. She is a native Spanish speaker.
PNW born and raised, Hannah comes from a family of scouts and mountaineers. From summers canoeing out to island campsites, to winters digging snow caves, Hannah loves to immerse herself in the natural world. She desires to pass on a value for empathetic loving treatment of nature and humans alike to her children and the children she guides. She is a mom educated in early childhood development, and tutored Spanish language and culture studies during college. She also lived in Spain during part of her own preschool years and has spent time in Mexico and Chile.
Hannah’s other hobbies include writing, dancing, and singing. She has written and directed a play, and is working on several novels. You can find Hannah supporting Tacoma based writers on the editorial board of a local online creative writing magazine. Before covid, Hannah frequented multiple local swing dance clubs. As far as singing goes, she mostly sticks to lullabies and at home karaoke, and looks forward to singing the calabasa song with your preschoolers.
Hannah (she,her,hers) and Theo teaches Monday-Friday afternoons at the preschool. She speaks Spanish.
Jeff Brahe started learning Zimbabwean-style marimba as a child in 1997, following the tradition brought to the U.S. by Dumisani Maraire. Over the following decades, he has learned from and worked with numerous Zimbabwean and American musical greats, including the late Cosmas Magaya. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a B.A. in Music, focusing on composition and bass clarinet.
Jeff is the founder of Jekesa Marimba Studio in Tacoma, where he teaches classes and private lessons. He also directs marimba programs at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows, and teaches marimba at the Hazelwood School.
Through teaching and sharing African music in the U.S., Jeff strives to increase awareness of the African origins of virtually all forms of American popular music. He hopes that this awareness can have a positive impact on our increasingly divided society.
Jeff (he/him/his) teaches marimba on Tuesday/Thursday at the elementary program. He is a Spanish speaker.