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.
Rosi Miller/Good, originates from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Previously, the Director of a nature based summer camp, “Zestful Gardens Farm Camp”; Currently your administrative assistant for Chavitos on the Farm! She also sits on the board for 2 non-profit community health clinics: “Hearth Naturopathic Medicine”, and “Vashon Island Midwifery”.
Building healthy communities, by facilitating the growth of healthy “whole-hearted” families, has been at the center her work in the community, and her deepest dedicated work as a parent!
3 words to describe Rosi: quiet, creative, compassionate…(and “cats”, lets throw that in too!) She loves animals, drinks jasmine tea in the mornings, is a novice herbalist, bee-keeper and backpacker, and loves to get crafty. She enjoys her sweet, out-door loving family, and has been dedicated to facilitating growth mindset, social-emotional learning and nature education both personally and professionally.
Rosi (she,her,hers) is our elementary admin.
Scout is originally from Baltimore, MD but has lived in various parts of the west coast since 2017. She has taught elementary Special Education for 6 years in DC public schools and Tacoma public schools. Scout has been lucky enough to play with kids in nature during the last ten years while working at various summer camps, school garden programs, community
gardens, and more. She has also worked on several farms, including one on Vashon where she completed the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten Training.
After traveling and living in a camper van for two years, Scout and her partner settled down in Tacoma in 2019. Here, Scout enjoys finally having a space to grow lots food and flowers, backpacking with her dogs, and finding great mountain views.
Immersion in nature is where Scout is most at peace and most herself. Seeing children find freedom in the outdoors and guiding them as they learn and grow is as good as it gets!
Scout (she,her,hers) teaches Thursday afternoons at the preschool.
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 Tuesday-Friday afternoons at the preschool. She speaks Spanish.
My name is Seleste and I’m so excited to be apart of the 2022/2023 school year. My partner, Mariah, and I are both newcomers to Tacoma WA. I was born and raised in Provo, Utah. I grew up in the outdoors; snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, and kayaking. I am the oldest of 8 kids, I was the neighborhood babysitter for similarly large families, and I was a live-in nanny for my first year attending The University of Utah. Mariah and I have two kittos named Phoebe and Ralphie. We enjoy tending to our patio garden, walking Titlow beach, and road-tripping around the state exploring the outdoors. I’ve spent the last year working as a park ranger for a non-profit in Grapeview. As I have recently retired from nomadic tiny-home living I have embraced the the apartment life once again. I was elated to find a Montessori school in the area where I will be able to continue enjoying the outdoors while working with your littles ones; seeing life anew from their fresh eyes once again. I look forward to sharing my love and devotion to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and I believe it is of the utmost importance to guide our younger generations down a path paved with love and acceptance. Chavitos school is doing amazing work here in our community and I look forward to meeting you all.
Seleste (she,her,hers) teaches Monday full day and Tuesday-Friday mornings at the preschool.
Victoria has spent most of her life in Washington state where she studied both Speech Therapy and Education and Social Justice. After receiving her degree in Education and Social Justice, she fell in love with the powerful nature of alternative education.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest cultivated her love for the outdoors and gave her a healthy relationship and respect to nature. She has spent the past 3 years in Boston running an outdoor Waldkindergarten program on a farm. She was absolutely blown away by the preschoolers' resilience to the extreme weather and watched them grow in relationships with each other and the outdoors over the years together.
Upon moving back to the PNW, she knew Montessori schools were her passion and is incredibly thankful and excited to have found Chavitos Nature School. Cultivating a safe, inquisitive, and creative learning space in nature is truly her passion.
In her free time, Victoria enjoys being outside in any capacity. She loves to rock climb, mountaineer, run, ski, and bike. If she can bring along her dogs too, then even better! She loves being active but also greatly appreciates the time in her life when she can slow down and rest. She is thankful for the opportunity to have both in her life.
Victoria (she/her/hers) teaches electives and Math at the elementary program.
Mark Walker has enjoyed teaching for high school students of Michigan, university students of Indiana, and college students here in Washington, all through natural science and nutrition courses. Notably, Mark and his wife Gaby also shared these sciences and many health care services with approximately 500 students in the Mchinji District of Malawi, Africa in 2010.
Before their son, Francisco, was born in 2011, Mark and Gaby experienced as much of the world as they could, visiting several European and African nations through friend or volunteer connections. Other travels often include spending time with family and friends in many states of Mexico. When in Washington, the family enjoys the garden, music, studying, ice hockey, Tae Kwon Do, and as many outdoor activities as possible.
Prior to the Covid-19 closures, Mark was an assistant teacher in the Chavitos forest while Meag’s family lived and worked in Guatemala. All of these experiences have shaped him for the exciting opportunity to learn with the elementary children of Chavitos Nature School once again. Mark is thankful for all of the people he has known in the Chavitos Community so far, anticipating a wonderfully productive and positive school year.
Mark (he/him/his) teaches electives at the elementary program. He is a Spanish speaker.
Lupe was born in Mexico City and immigrated to Washington state when she was 2 with her mom & siblings. She has a passion for guiding kids and helping them grow emotionally. She would describe her self as a mother to all, who makes sure learning is fun and silly. Seeing kids grow and learn through laughter and play in a safe place is what brings peace and joy to her heart and soul.
Lupe and her husband Alex are both fluent in Spanish. They share two amazing kids, two dogs and have started their homeschooling journey this year.
In their down time they like to ride bikes in their neighborhood, play and watch baseball, sit around lots of bonfires cooking carne asadas, and drinking her husband & daughters secret recipe ponchè in the winters with their families.
Lupe (she/her/hers) teaches Spanish at the elementary program. She is a native Spanish speaker.
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.