President, Board of Directors
Through many life experiences Pat has been deepening her relationship with the land and it's inhabitants in all places she explores. With sincere gratitude and humble reverence, she has been working to connect others with their relationships to land and to each other. Pat has been supporting and mentoring children since 1980, when she first began teaching swimming lessons while studying at university. In 1988, her career in public education began in the Waterloo Region and has included teaching children from kindergarten to grade 10, in Waterloo, Toronto, Australia, Essex County and currently in British Columbia.
Pat was the owner and educator of Kindermusik Creations East for 10 years. She taught an in-home preschool program and was also head teacher in Natural Pathways Learning Centre at its inception in 2009. When her three sons attended Lakeview Montessori School, Pat offered music and movement classes there as well.
In 2016 Pat completed certification in Forest School Canada Practitioner Training and began the current non-profit, charitable organization that is Natural Pathways Learning Centre. Serving first as executive director and lead educator for 5 years, Pat is currently chairperson of the board of directors for Natural Pathways. She also operates Pat Andrews Educational Consulting, offering education consultation, learning support and individual education therapy. As a lead educator with The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, Pat has the opportunity to connect with and co-create learning on the land with educators across Canada. In 2020 Pat and her husband made a big move to British Columbia to be closer to their sons who all now reside in BC. Centering family, exploring and connecting with the land, cultivating relationships, and learning to live in reciprocity and in community are the gifts that Pat is currently passionate about.
Kimberley has always had a deep connection to Nature and the Land. She has worked to help support children and adults in many different forms. Studying, learning, and growing have been a constant in her life that began with a co-op placement at the Children's Achievement Center where a fire was lit to teach and work with children.
Having a passion for children and nature, Kimberley worked at a private Waldorf school teaching Grades 1/2, Kindergarten, and Forest School days. Kimberley has completed many training courses, including Supporting Traumatized Youth, Child Observation through Lifeways North America, Nature Education through Cornell University, and is a certified Forest School Practitioner. Since joining Natural Pathways, Kimberley has had the opportunity to utilize her extensive management experience by stepping into the role of Executive Director, but she still loves to pop into the Forest to support programs.
Growing up, Kimberley spent much of her time outdoors. She has traveled and lived throughout Canada with her five children, husband, and many animal friends. Kimberley has studied holistic health care, mindfulness, and meditation, pursuing numerous courses on teaching and training. Currently she is exploring the mental health benefits of Nature, her love of gardening, forging, her ancestral roots and how they connected to the Land.
From long hours tending to animals on the family farm, to trekking the interior of Algonquin Park with her siblings, Breanna’s intense relationship with nature was cultivated by spending most of her childhood outside. Encouraged by her mother's example that an education can be garnered from nature, Breanna has always connected a love for learning and teaching with adventure and exploration.
With a Bachelor of Education, additional qualifications in special education, Waldorf training, and TESL certification, Breanna has explored a variety of teaching settings. These include a year in China teaching English, working as a Youth and Adult Development Officer in Africa, and extensive volunteer experience with refugee students and new Canadians.
Perhaps one of Breanna’s favourite earliest teaching experiences was with Northern Tier/Boy Scouts of America, where she guided groups of students on camping trips through the Crown Lands of Northern Ontario. Exploring wide-open lakes, winding rivers, rushing rapids, and trekking long moose-mucked portages, she helped children navigate using only maps, a compass, the sun, and stars. She bestowed on these future naturalists her knowledge of canoe and water safety, wilderness first aid and helped them gain a respect and appreciation for the power of hands on learning with nature.
Ayesha is a mother, artist, teacher, and gardener who loves nature. She immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of six. She has fond memories of playing at a creek near her home as a child with her brother, catching tadpoles, and excitedly watching them grow and change.
As a life-learning mother of two, she has spent the past decade providing her children with an inquiry-based, hands-on education through nature and the arts in a community-based environment, rather than a classroom setting.
With a B.A. in Psychology, Ayesha has worked as a counsellor for adults and adolescents in a variety of settings. Her art is intuitive, playing with colours and letting her hands and heart create without much planning, as the process of creating is just as important as the finished piece. Ayesha is deeply influenced and inspired by nature and sacred geometry, and she uses recycled/found materials in her work.
Ayesha has her Bachelors of Education at the primary/junior level and enjoys working with children. She offers workshops in creative self-expression for both kids and adults as a process to improve emotional well-being and promote personal development through imagination. She strongly believes that fostering a bond with the natural world through immersion, curiosity, play and exploration has tremendous benefits in all aspects of an individual’s life. Ayesha loves to learn and the forest is her favourite place to be.
Lesley Labbe is an outdoor educator, organic farmer, wife, and mother of five. Her passion as a forest school educator comes from a life-long love for the outdoors. From a young age, Lesley could be found searching for salamanders in the woods. As an adult, she realised her dream of becoming an organic farmer.
Lesley has been running an organic farm for the past 15 years. She has an Outdoor Education certificate from Humber College, has been a leader with Scouts Canada for several years, and worked as an outdoor educator for two seasons with Might Oak Elementary's forest program. Lesley enjoys helping students connect with the natural world and loves watching children discover the smallest worlds under the bark of a tree and the grandeur within the forest canopy.
Teaching among trees and nature has been one of the most rewarding experiences of Lesley's life. She loves being part of so much growth in the students, in her co-workers, and in herself... and all the fun they have climbing trees!
Sherry's love of nature began in childhood, growing up on a farm just outside the gates of Point Pelee National Park. She spent many an afternoon reading in trees, rafting along the marsh, and walking to the beach. She worked in the garden, and on the farm, making a lifelong connection with farm-to-table foods. She also worked with bird-watching tourists from around the world, serving food and packing lunches for them, and loved listening to their stories and their contagious enthusiasm for migrating species.
Formally educated as a Respiratory Therapist, Sherry has always loved children and has a long history of working with them. She started in her teens coaching figure skating and tennis. As a young mother, her love of travel took her to BC, where she volunteered as a teacher of spiritual exploration and a coming-of-age mentor. Her passion for the respect of children and holistic childcare eventually led her to study nature- and art-based alternative education styles and to use these methods in homeschooling her children.
Wanting to bring this style of childcare and education to more children, she began branching out and connecting with children as a Waldorf inspired home childcare provider, a farm and forest school teacher with a local alternative school, a homeschool co-operative education leader, and a Waldorf-inspired early years program leader. She has also taken her passion for travel, yoga, and children to Los Angeles, where she studied to be a certified children's yoga teacher.
Sherry is always seeking opportunities for growth and adventure and loves learning alongside (and from!) children and fellow educators. She sees working with children as a sacred task and feels blessed to be able to be in nature with them.
As a teenager, Kat was drawn to children, often volunteering for coaching and tutoring opportunities. Coming from an entire family of teachers, she was very passionate about teaching and knew she wanted to become an educator and make a difference in children's lives. More recently, Kat discovered her love for nature and all of the benefits it has to offer on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Through Natural Pathways, Kat is able to combine her passion for teaching and her love of nature as a forest school educator.
With a Bachelor of Education in Human Kinetics, Kat places a lot of value on health and wellness. In school, she studied a wide variety of topics touching on subjects such as the growth and development of children, eating and exercise habits, and complimentary and alternative medicines, to name a few. After graduating with her Bachelor of Education, Kat taught grades 1 and 2 within the French public education system, but quickly decided that it wasn't for her. She sought out other avenues for education that put more emphasis on the individual needs of children and the importance of nature and discovery-based learning, and found Natural Pathways.
When she isn't teaching in the forest, Kat works as a landscape technician and designer. Her knowledge, passion, and appreciation for nature, especially plant species and their uses, have grown considerably as a result. In her time off, Kat can usually be found somewhere in a forest, hugging a tree or walking barefoot. She also enjoys spending her time by the water with a fishing rod in hand. When stuck indoors, Kat loves to read, create art, or do yoga.
Kat's favourite part about being a forest school educator is watching the children in action in the forest. Through the lens of a child, the world is full of magic, mystery, and wonder. As we age, our lens shrinks and we're taught that magic isn't real. At forest school, whether you're a child or an adult, that magic, mystery, and wonder is alive and is always present. The children get the opportunity to teach, grow, lead, learn, discover, and play, surrounded by and within the magic of nature!
Marti connects to the forest with the eyes of a naturalist. She has been a raptor bander with HBMO since she was a teenager. She works with dogs on a physical and spiritual level. With the skills gained through her work, Marti shows children how to use all of their senses while enjoying magical walks through the woods.
Marti takes time every day to be outside, either hiking or watching the sky. Being in nature with all of the beauty and imperfections, while having an open mind and soul, fulfill our inner needs. Nature teaches us to take only what is needed, how to replenish the Earth, and to know when to leave it alone and take only a memory.
Marti is her truest self when she is with the children, seeing and playing through their eyes. She encourages everyone to live in balance with our precious land and appreciate everything it has to offer.
From a young age, Jessica knew she wanted to teach kids. Her mother
had a home daycare when Jessica was young, and she loved helping her mother care for the children, watching them learn and grow. As soon as she was old enough, Jessica started her own babysitting business and then began volunteering in daycares. She was also fortunate to spend her childhood exploring Essex County’s forests and travelling North America with her family to see inspiring landscapes, people and creatures. A deep love for immersing herself in nature began.
Jessica’s fascination with people and places led her to study ancient cultures. She
holds an Honours degree in History, minoring in Classical Civilizations. She holds a
Bachelor of Education and is a certified primary/junior educator. She has taught in
elementary schools in Essex County, worked as a private tutor, homeschooled her
children, and co-formed a learning pod incorporating forest school aspects.
Jessica believes movement and play in nature are keys to a healthy lifestyle. She
incorporates them into her days through hiking, biking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock
climbing, tree climbing, and swimming in the lake.
Jessica feels so fortunate to be an educator with Natural Pathways. At Forest School, her love of nature and her talents and passion as an educator can come together. Every day in the forest is new, exciting, and beautiful. It is truly a joy to share it with the children and to explore these magical natural spaces.
Melanie is a certified aromatherapist and holds a degree in Psychology and Gender Studies - she considers herself a lifelong learner. Through all of life's adventures, Melanie is eager to learn by doing. Making “mistakes” is a part of the journey and often the best way to embrace and come to understand yourself and the world around you.
Living life based on a holistic philosophy, Melanie has practiced natural living since childhood. She grew up spending more time than not immersed in natural settings while camping, paddling, and exploring with her family. Psithurism (the sound of leaves rustling in the wind) is Melanie's favourite sound, and one that never fails to provide a sense of comfort - this is just one of many reasons why her passion for trees runs deep.
When she's not in the forest, you'll find Melanie reading in a hammock, playing and cuddling with her cats, gardening, cooking, baking, preserving foods, or researching mycology and medicinal plants. Revitalizing a connection to the natural world is at the heart of daily life for Melanie.
Guiding young people in their exploration of the world through nature brings Melanie profound joy and contentment. She feels privileged to share in both the big and small moments of learning at Forest School. Time spent in nature can provide vital lessons to those of all ages seeking to grow and unearth meaning.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS