We are educators and teachers with a big heart and passion for children and nature. As we come together to support children's development and academic growth we foster the relationship to the natural world while utilizing the environment as our third teacher. Here children use all of their senses to embody their learning experiences and it becomes an integrated part of them. We understand the delicate way of listing to children's interests to build a curriculum and plan activities or projects to guiding them to greater horizons.
Director and Founder
"The Whole is More than the Sum of its Pieces."
"My deep roots and love for nature have been planted by the adults around me from the day I was born. My parents took me on walks and hikes to parks, dams, lakes, ponds, creeks, and rivers. The summers were spent in the country side in Bosnia (former Yugoslavia). This part is so remote that it just got a paved road in 2014. My hometown in Germany consists of 70% forest. And while growing up the schools and after-school care programs organized trips to the country side with scavenger hunts, large group games and overnight stays.
With all these experiences, my most fond ones are the ones in Yugoslavia. The only place were I had complete freedom as a child. I was free to walk around. Walk from my uncle's house to my great aunt's house, which were about 1/4 mile apart. And all in-between was nature. There weren't even street lights and the road was a plain dirt road.
I was free to explore, no adult telling me what to do, think, or say. I was even able to test out my own theories and make mistakes. The adults around us didn't try to 'save us' from having a 'negative' experience. Of course we were always safe and when night fell we had to stay inside.
My greatest memory of nature play was on a rainy day. My cousin and I slipped on the adult rubber shoes/galoshes and walked out the house. The rain had stopped and left a creek along the muddy, clay-like walkway leading to the house. We moved the mud and build dams. We watched the water move in different directions. We gave commands and followed requests. We got inspired and build a long wall to guide the water. The 'material', the clay-like mud was so smooth and slippery, yet strong and durable. We spend hours out there. All the adults did was to joyfully ask us if we were cold or hungry and respected our wish to continue to stay outside. So they let us be. We were submerged in our investigation and exploration; our constructing and deconstructing, our testing of thoughts and theories. We brought part of our inner self to the outer world and experienced the outer world as part of us. That day I felt very whole. And this is the magic of unstructured play."
Biljana Milasin got her Bachelor of Arts in Education in Germany and acquired the Site Supervisor Permit from the State of California. She has been working in education since 1994 and worked in schools in Germany and the United States with different approaches, curriculums, and school cultures. Her experiences range from preschools with traditional non-mixed age groups to schools with the Reggio-Approch and mixed ages in private and public settings. She created and implemented individual lesson plans and curriculums. During her time in Germany she gained experience in a psychiatric working with children and families. In the United States Biljana worked as a counselor in a boarding school for emotional growth supporting and guiding at risk youth. As one of her passions is photography she took the opportunity to teach elementary school children the same subject as well as videography in an after-school program.
Biljana spends much time outdoors in the Angeles National Forest and Santa Monica Mountains and regularly visits workshops on native plants to learn about their properties and medicinal uses.
Forest School Teacher
Callen Gordon grew up in Los Angeles, California and has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Bard College. She spent her childhood building backyard forts and fairy houses with friends, hiking through the mountains, and exploring tidepools with her family. She has worked with children (of all ages, with different needs, in a variety of settings) for the last eight years of her life; the enduring sense of joy, appreciation, and curiosity that her time spent with children instills within her means the world to her! She spent four years as an assistant teacher at Bard's Abigail Lundquist Botstein Nursery School, and over the summers back in Los Angeles, she interned at Vista Del Mar's Baron School for Exceptional Children. She is prepared to connect and engage with personalities and needs of all kinds.
Callen has extensive experience in expressive arts therapy, meditation and mindfulness practices (for kids!), and she wrote her college thesis on the importance of embracing the child-like sense of wonder that is within all of us. She is also interested in plant medicine, transpersonal psychology, yoga, and ceramics! Callen recently spent 3 months working on an off-the-grid farm in Hana, Maui. While there, she spent her days scavenging through the jungle collecting fiddlehead ferns, harvesting avocados and mangos and learning about the tropical plants.
Callen believes that (now more than ever) children need to be a part of a diverse educational community, one that fosters exploration, independence, and growth. She is so grateful for the chance to show up as a teacher, guide, and friend at LA Nature School.
Forest School Teacher
My relationship with nature, with earth, with Tonantzin (mother earth-goddess in Aztec culture), started before I was born. It started with my abuelita (grandmother) Lina. My grandmother's relationship with nature was very special and inspiring. My grandmother understood nature with her heart and spirit. She had a relationship with several seeds, plants, flowers, and trees. She used different herbs medicinally for herself and others. Growing up seeing my grandmother understand the characteristics and medicinal properties of several herbs, sparked my curiosity in wanting to understand earth's natural abundance and beauty. As a child, going on camping trips with my family, also offered me the opportunity to build a relationship with nature. Playing in the creek, hiking, and sharing with family allowed me to discover and develop a loving relationship with nature, one that continues to evolve as I continue to grow; a connection that no words can quite capture; simply a heart-felt, intuitive experience. Today, I enjoy connecting with nature in silent mediations, through play, dance, and singing whether out in the park, forest, desert, or ocean.
Rosalina Rosales received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Philosophy in 2016. She received her A.A in Liberal Arts-Social and Behavioral Science in 2014. Rosalina has very diverse past-work experiences: K-12 school system as a young adult, to working for the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department as a mental health intern, and quite recently in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
Rosalina is also a certified Yoga/Movement therapist (trained in The Thinking Body-The Feeling Mind Technique) and a certified Reiki Level 1 and 2 practitioner. Rosalina believes in the importance of a holistic, nature-based, playful approach when working with children and all walks of life.
Forest School Teacher
Having grown up in both Arizona and California, raised by two educators, Amandia Aurand had the love of education and the vastness of nature born into her early. From city life and the wonders found amidst the crevices to the desolate solace of the desert, nature has provided the background and motivation in her life. Amandia, aka Miss Dia, began as an educator early in life having started her first teaching job at 19, educating preschoolers at a private charter school in Phoenix. Prior to this experience, Miss Dia worked with children in after school care and dance education programs here in Los Angeles as well as Phoenix. While living in Northern Arizona Miss Dia was able to teach seventh grade and various high school courses while attending college. After graduation she focused on dance education and choreography as well as private education. She has worked as a tutor and homeschool teacher for grades 4 through eleven. After working so closely with students, having such an impact on individual academic programs and development, Miss Dia prefers a more focused and individual approach to education as a means to engage students and their growing interests.
Although she started young, her vibrance and colorful imagination have not faded, and she brings a child-like awareness to the classroom and the subjects taught. In other words, learning can be fun, exciting and memorable. Miss Dia’s academic background is rich and diverse, as she holds a BS in both Environmental Science and Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. During this time, in northern Arizona she developed her love for rocks and geology, flowers and natural medicine, dance and the various languages of nature, communication.
Miss Dia is a certified California Educator and has years of experience both inside the classroom and with bringing the classroom outside. There is a learning opportunity in every occasion, with Miss Dia your child will gain the preparedness and self-confidence to problem solve while making their education exciting and worth learning.