We are a small, but growing group of families in Traverse City, Michigan who wish to provide wholesome, alternative education for our children.
Since our initial Summer Program in 2011, we have served students aged 2.5 yrs.-10 yrs. and have grown to now provide year-round programming. Our ratio for teachers to students is 1:4. Our growing faculty includes Dana Goodwin, Operating Director and Co-teacher, Janine Germaine, part-time Co-Director and Co-teacher, Tom Czarny, Science Mentor, Woodworking Instructor and Board Member, Britny Wade, Day Program Teacher, and Victoria Velting, Handwork Teacher and Education Outreach Coordinator.
Janine Germaine holds a B.A. in Art Education from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Education from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan. Janine began teaching as an elementary school art teacher with Traverse City Area Public Schools upon graduation from undergraduate studies. She held this position for 29 years. A mid-career leave of absence took her to Portugal, where she taught art to pre-K through 5th grade children and "English-as-a-Second Language" to Nigerian and Japanese students at the American International School of Lisboa. Shortly after retirement from teaching, Janine began assistant teaching (3 years) with Traverse City Area Public Schools Montessori Extended Daycare Program, where she spent the past two years as the program's co-director. She currently serves as part-time Co-director, and Co-teacher here with us at Children's Urban Garden, fosters relationships with her grandchildren, and makes art. Janine is a practicing artist with a history in the production and exhibition of her work as a painter and sculptor. She discovered needle felting several years ago and has become immersed in the possibilities this art form offers in relation to 3-D! Her home is shared with 5 dogs, 2 cats, fish, and a bearded dragon lizard. While animals have always been of interest and great importance, Janine's greatest challenges and joys have come from interacting with children. She has two sons and is "Nana" to three beautiful grandchildren whom she sees often. The roles of parent, educator, grandma, and friend have enriched Janine's life more than she ever imagined! Janine enjoys reading, cooking, sewing and a multitude of crafts -- anything that provides the opportunity to invent and create! Most recently, she has joined the Old Town Playhouse Reader's Theater, "Aged to Perfection." This involvement offers a different creative opportunity -- that of developing a character through script-reading along, without props or actual acting. "My hope is that I may grow in wisdom and understanding of myself and others, that I will continue to be an active part of my family, that I will be able to make things, and that I will always know the love of children." -JG
Victoria Velting- Handwork Teacher and Education Outreach Coordinator Victoria brings a magical, artistic touch to Children’s Urban Garden and Atelier that is evident throughout our environment. If you happen to notice that most of our linens and toys are handmade (table cloths, napkins, felted animals, hand-knitted items, story puppets, etc.) you are experiencing the creations of a true aesthete. From scratch made, healthy whole foods snacks to gorgeous, engaging, age-appropriate crafts and handwork projects for the children, she exudes the Waldorf philosophy in her work and life. Victoria holds a B.A. in Visual Arts from Calvin College, and contributes in a myriad of ways to our program with her wide breadth of professional experience and work with children and families: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Michigan ArtWorks, Blackbird Arts, Pathfinder School; Waldorf homeschool curriculum and homeschooling experience, nanny provider, and in-depth knowledge of attachment parenting and Kim John Payne’s Simplicity Parenting resources. Along with running her own business, Revamped & Recycled, Victoria is very active as an artist and designer in the local community and helps support Northern Michigan's fiber arts local hub initiative. Her current work with Children’s Urban Garden & Atelier includes the creation of a Waldorf homeschool environment handwork curriculum, festivals and seasonal celebrations calendar marrying programming, stories, verses, music and activities. Victoria will be active in our fundraising initiatives along with community outreach children’s programming, a kind of “pop-up” Children’s Urban Garden roaming satellite, that will soon be available to local schools, community organizations and events. She offers support to families wishing to balance homeschooling and stay-at-home parenting, allowing families to pursue their interests while maintaining the priority of attachment parenting. Victoria enjoys being with her son, Fyn, knitting, playing the ukelele, sewing, and helping others find balance in life while not compromising the arts. “This is my dream job” –VV
Tom Czarny is a career educator in the Sciences. Recently retired Advanced Placement Biology teacher with Traverse City Central High School, in his "spare" time helps as our Science/Botany Mentor and with woodworking projects & instruction. Check out the amazing chicken coop and our wooden disc swing! He holds a Masters of Education in Science and Mathematics from Harvard University. Among his many talents- theater arts: performer of a prolific number of roles with our local Old Town Playhouse- Cyrano de Bergerac; Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, and prominent characters through the years with Shakespeare In The Park; woodworking; cross-country skiing; and cycling. Tom is the 2014 recipient of the "Environmentalist of the Year- Educator" award by Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC). He has just a few guitars.
Dana Goodwin brought home a shiny silver flute and beginning flute methods book the summer between fifth and sixth grades. A pivotal event which she believes sparked the flame for her love of the arts and inspired a future in teaching which began while in high school as a private flute instructor. Performing with the International Symphony Orchestra, Ontario, Canada at 17 years old, she continues to make music with children today, enjoying (and preferring) a younger audience. Dana began working with pre-school-aged children upon graduation from Michigan State University (B.S., Food Systems) with a private preschool in Ann Arbor, Michigan in conjunction with working for Community School-Age Child Care with the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Her journey in education has come full circle, completing graduate studies at Eastern Michigan University in Higher, Adult and Continuing Education (M.S. Human, Environmental & Consumer Resources- abt) and instructing at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan for three years prior to starting a family. Ultimately, as she navigated the waters of her own two children's education experiences, volunteering and working in their schools, she was led back to where her heart lies, with elementary, and primary school-aged children teaching art & gardening with Traverse City Area Public School's Montessori Program for nine years, and to her current work with Children's Urban Garden & Atelier. Her most recent education includes completion of studies toward both Primary and Lower Elementary Montessori Teacher Training with the North American Montessori Center in British Columbia, Canada, Waldorf Foundation Studies & Early Childhood Teacher Training at the Waldorf Institute of Southeast Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Master Gardener Certification through Michigan State University Extension, Leelanau County, Michigan. Dana enjoys spending time with her family, playing flute with the Northwestern Michigan College Concert Band, photography, cooking and gardening with children (five years as Central Grade School's Co-Coordinator of the Little Green Fingers Garden Club serving over 200 students), Waldorf handwork, and deepening her knowledge of Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and other alternative education methods around the world. She hopes to continue learning and growing through serving children and their families, nurture Children's Urban Garden & Atelier, continue development as a permaculturalist, and to one day travel to underserved and post-disaster/emergency relief communities to work with children and the healing arts in the Waldorf vein. Dana is a member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.
Britny Tollstam Wade, devoted mother, educator, life-long learner and lover of possibilities. As a young child she attended a Nature Center pre-school and an independent Montessori program, while her own mother supplemented her Montessori experience at home. She fondly remembers growing up with a deep connection to nature, feeling most at home in the outdoors or traveling with her family. From a very young age Britny also loved being around babies and small children. While in college she rediscovered the joy of Montessori pedagogy and began the journey of becoming a guide herself. Britny earned her certification as a Montessori primary guide, for ages 3-6, in 1999. In 2012, she completed the Montessori infant and toddler certification, for ages birth-3. For eleven years Britny happily worked at The Children’s House, an independent Montessori school in Traverse City, Michigan, where her two children attended as well. In pursuit of her own personal growth she left the school to carve out new possibilities. In her spare time she enjoys adventuring, gardening, design work, reading, biking and being with her children. She holds an Associate’s degree, from Northwestern Michigan College, with an emphasis in early childhood and the liberal arts and is currently enrolled in Spring Arbor’s Family Life Education bachelors program.
Our forming Board of Directors includes our Science Mentor and Woodworking Instructor, Tom Czarny, M.Ed. Science & Mathematics, Harvard University and current A.P. Biology Instructor with Central High School, Traverse City Area Public Schools (and most importantly, doting father of Camille), Victoria Velting, designer/owner Recycled+Revamped, instructor (Blackbird Arts & group classes), and dedicated, hard-working parent, and Lisa Perrine Brown, Masters of Art, Cranbrook Academy of Art and former Waldorf educator (currently busy mom, working artist, part-time instructor at Northwest Michigan College (India immersion), and world traveler- reporting back to us with mom & daughter travel experiences. Please contact us if you are interested in serving on our Board (bi-monthly meetings).
North Wind Farm, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Supplier of our gorgeous sheep skin rugs, wool roving, and batting for dolls, fundraising products (North Wind Naturals), and general inspiration! northwindnaturals.com
Why Knot Fibers, Traverse City, MichiganWhy Knot Fibers provides quality hand-spun yarns as well as hand-dyed fibers and yarns all made with love in Traverse City, Michigan.
Spinning demonstration- sheep to yarn
Wool & Honey Yarn Shop, Cedar, Michigan
Yarn, fiber, and other sweet delights.
Wool & Honey
Oryana Natural Foods Market, Traverse City Michigan
Our snack items are in season, local and organic as often as possible and are purchased from Oryana Natural Foods Market. As part of Oryana's Community Partners Program, Oryana members receive a 5% discount on tuition at Children's Urban Garden & Atelier (not available for tuition payments received after the due date).
We are currently an independent, tuition-based school, seeking 501-c3 nonprofit status, additional partnering organizations (prospects include- Healing Tree Farm/DeYoung Farm, Maple Bay Farm/Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy's first farmer apprentice program, Light of Day Tea/Michigan's only certified biodynamic farm, and SEEDS/youth corps labor and black locust poles), as well as obtaining funds through our own fundraising and grant-writing to keep our programming sustainable and growing into the future.