Arden Forest School
Learning. Nature. Connection
A certified teacher with a BA and MA in history and education, Hope has over 25 years of experience in teaching all ages- preschool through adult- and in creating and administering educational programs. She has taught in public schools, at progressive/nature-oriented schools, and overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia, where she also served as a teacher trainer in contemporary classroom management skills, methodologies and pedagogy. Her classroom experience involves literacy development, teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL), and general studies (all subject areas). She served as a religious education director for six years, where she created and implemented educational programming for all ages. She also established and directed an academic homeschool program for families/children from nursery age through high school, while simultaneously teaching philosophy for the University of Phoenix from 2010-2017. Hope is the mother of three amazing children- Aia, Della and Will, as well as two really big cats- Melusine and Marguerite. She loves humanity, and she adores exploring the world with learners in a holistic fashion within a natural setting that ministers to their bodies, minds, and spirits. Hope is happily serving as our school director and middle school Learning Guide!
Aven has a B.S. in Psychology, and years of experience teaching in preschool and in corporate training. He has been trained in forest school philosophy, compassionate communication, teaching in a multi-age classroom, learning styles and lesson planning, and is becoming a certified forest school practitioner. Aven has studied Ecopsychology in depth, and has witnessed the healing impact of nature on the human spirit after moving to the country and back on his family farm. He has wanted for some time to create a learning community for his own children, as well as others, one that is nurtured by our natural connection to the earth. Aven is excited and honored to work with the spirit of his land in this endeavor, and cannot wait to welcome Arden Forest's learners in person as our administrator and 3rd-5th grade Learning Guide.
Helen Nicholson is an amazing K/1/2 Learning Guide trained in K-2nd grade literacy, compassionate communication, teaching in a multi-age classroom, learning styles and lesson planning, and forest school philosophy. She is the mother of three, and an artist skilled in watercolor, acrylic, oil, glassworks, paper clay, and polymer clay. She is proficient in handicrafts- stitching, crocheting, knitting, woodworking- and she loves to share this creative spirit with our children here at Arden Forest! Helen has a wealth of experience in gardening, too, and her knowledge base of plant life, edibles, wild crafting, and native flora in this region is cherished and greatly valued by all of our learning community. An aspiring author and illustrator of children’s books, Helen is the perfect teacher for our young ones, and manifestor of this forest school dream!
Her playful curiosity and excitement for lifelong learning make Emily not only an amazing student of life but a fun and present teacher. As a daughter and granddaughter of elementary school teachers, and a mentee of forest school teacher Lynn Coleman, she has a natural aptitude for guiding children in their learning and growth. Her BA in journalism and photography hi-light her thirst for knowledge and seeking new perspectives. Emily taught forest kindergarten at a Waldorf inspired school in Florida, and lead farm and forest camp in upstate New York. She also planned and guided YMCA backcountry trips for teens in Chattanooga. She has traveled the US extensively, spending lots of time exploring the country’s varying landscapes. Her passions include practicing and teaching yoga, plant and mushroom foraging, gardening, hiking and camping. She works at Rising Fawn Gardens, helping tend the medicinal gardens there. Emily is the mother of one year old Arlo and the wife to her favorite musician, Nicholas Edward Williams. Arden Forest School is blessed to have her as a part of our team and our Wednesday Forest School Learning Guide!
Our Staff Values
Commitment – we are committed to our mission
Love – we love our students to open them up to learning
Compassion – we show concern for students, parents and each other
Patience – we are slow to frustrate; quick to be gentle; we respond rather than react
Resourcefulness – we act and offer solutions
Respect-we are conscious of diversity and thoughtful in word and deed