Ms. Erica

Erica Flanigan

Erica Flanigan

I grew up in a small town on the Arizona/Mexico border and my siblings and I played outdoors from sun up ’til sundown in the warm Arizona sunshine. We practically lived in the trees at our mom’s house and when we weren’t outdoors; our talented mother taught us many wonderful skills; knitting, crocheting, sewing, gardening and baking.

At our dad’s house we were allowed to explore the abandoned railroad cars nearby and even discovered a double-decker bus that led to countless hours of imaginative play! We enjoyed camping, fishing, horseback riding, mountain climbing and swimming, and always had a garden to tend (no simple task in the harsh desert climate). It was a carefree and cherished time I will never forget!

Once I had children of my own, I realized how precious those times were and I longed for my own children have the same playful and magical experiences. I believe that when children are rushed into growing up, they miss out on the precious gift of childhood. This began a stirring in my heart that fanned into a passion for protecting childhood through playful, nature-based education.

I completed my Early Childhood Education and Family Studies degree while working at a state run preschool. While I loved working with the children, I felt there was something missing. Then I visited a Waldorf mixed-age kindergarten and realized what was missing was nature!

Working in a Waldorf early childhood classroom taught me about the important influence nature has on the young child’s development. Waldorf education offers a warm and nurturing environment in which children can bask in the joy of childhood. There is a creative balance between learning through play, real work and artistic activities. When learning includes the natural world, children develop environmental awareness and reverence for all life.

I have continued my own journey as a teacher by studying Waldorf education through the Micha-el Institute and LifeWays Teacher Training programs. I also completed Permaculture Teacher Training at the Mother Earth School.

When I am not teaching or studying, I love spending time with my husband, my two children, my granddaughter, our dogs and chickens. We enjoy swimming, hiking and especially love the beach! I enjoy many crafting activities; drawing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, felting and doll making.

 

Ms. Jeannie

Jeannie Hargreaves

Jeannie Hargreaves

I grew up in a small beach community off the coast of Maine. I explored the forests in my neighborhood and the salt marsh canals that encircled our town. Summers were spent riding bikes with my brother and friends through the historic village to the picturesque beaches of the coast. There we swam, collected shells and endlessly played in the sand. During the winter I skied, sledded down hills on toboggans, ice skated and build many snow forts under feet of snow. I spent hours on end playing outside as a child and learned to appreciate all the seasons. 

As a teenager, I moved to Oregon and fell in love with the Northwest. I reveled in the majestic mountains, trees and rugged coastline.  I feel so lucky to live in and love two beautiful states with so much natural beauty.

When I had children of my own, I realized what a gift nature played in my own childhood experiences. I strive to give my children a deep appreciation for the natural world and we spend a great deal of time outdoors; canoeing, hiking, sailing, biking, rafting and surfing.

I bring to Woodhaven School a variety of experiences, including a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design. I design marketing materials and brand identities for schools and non-profits. In fact, I designed the current Woodhaven logo you see today.

I first began working with young children when my own children attended a cooperative preschool in Hillsboro. Besides working as a parent volunteer in the classroom, I served on the board for three years as Auction Chair, Maintenance Chair and Vice President. Spending so much time with children helped me realize teaching is a natural path for me. My mother, aunts and grandparents were all teachers and so I enrolled in the Early Childhood Graduate program at PSU where I received a certificate in preschool education. 

I discovered a love for Waldorf education when my son was in his Waldorf Kindergarten and I volunteered in his classroom and at the Waldorf School where my children both attend. During this time, I had the pleasure of volunteering with Ms. Erica in the Sunflower class here at Woodhaven. I learned so much by observing the ways in which Erica nurtured the children and how she held the class by following predictable rhythms every day. Through songs, story, movement, art, cooking, nature and community I saw how the children thrived.

I used this experience to embark upon an opportunity teaching the very first Kindergarten class at the cooperative school my children attended as preschoolers. I created a warm and inviting classroom, wrote curriculum and provided an enriching, high quality educational experience for my students. But I missed the principles of Waldorf Education, so I began the Waldorf Teacher Training at the Sophia Institute and came back to work alongside Ms. Erica and share in all the wonder of learning and playing with the children at Woodhaven School.

My favorite hobbies are woodworking, sewing, painting, designing, gardening, landscaping and physical activities such dancing, swimming, biking, hiking and weightlifting.