Learning with your hands and heart
What is Mighty Bambinis?
A nature-immersion early childhood program where children thrive in connection with others and nature; create and learn through play and project-based inquiry; and grow in self-knowledge and confidence.
AND a community where parents learn positive, connection-based parenting approaches and support each other during the preschool years and beyond.
We want children to spark a lifelong love of learning through a sense of belonging, hands-on emergent curriculum, and connection to nature and people.
Our goals are for children to develop:
Process over product growth mindset (wonder > experiment > reflect > repeat)
Deep connection with fellow humans and the natural world
Self-confidence and emotional agility through personal knowledge of mind, body, and heart
Our goals are for families to develop:
Parenting skills and confidence as playful, loving, yet firm leaders of their families
Supportive community for the early years and beyond
At Mighty Bambinis, we are here to guide children - to assist their process of discovering who they are, where they are going, and how they can contribute and create. In the first 5 years, 90% of the human brain develops. Children's brains are organizing, making connections, training their emotional, physical and cognitive pathways. Their body is developing, the senses are provide stimuli and feedback, emotions are refined. They are working together with teachers and peers, figuring out how to play with each other, to problem solve, how to get their needs met, learning how their actions impact the world around them. The confidence and competence they gain is the a momentum that carries them into a sense of agency (personal power) in school, relationships, and life.
Why Reggio-Emilia Approach?
THE ROLE OF THE ENVIRONMENT - A Reggio Emilia classroom environment is the "third teacher," fostering learning through inspiring wonder, creativity, and peace
THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATOR - Educators learn alongside and guide children's individual and collective interests to meet their cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical needs
PROJECT WORK - Children engage in long-term, multi-disciplinary projects (such as figuring out if you can keep a newt as a pet or growing plants from seedlings) for deep, holistic learning
CONNECTION-BASED - Through deep caring connections children learn to safely navigate their emotions, social interactions, and conflict
PARENT PARTNERSHIP - Parents are every child's first teacher and your family is the most important relationship in their life. In partnership, we can support, mentor and learn from each other to best support your child and family now and in the future
Why Mighty Bambinis?
Real-world, hands-on learning -
Children learn through play & inquiry-based emergent curriculum projects guided by expert teachers
Learning through relationships -
Low ratios and positive guidance supporting social-emotional development and active child-led problem solving (1:6 teacher to student ratio or less)
Nature-based Earth Education -
Earth as our classroom inspires life-long stewardship of our environment and connection to the living world. It calms, soothes, and nurtures our bodies, minds and hearts.
Family-focused care & Close-knit community
Parenting in the early years is full of firsts. You're setting up family routines, rituals, culture and values. Through our community events and parenting education series only for MB parents learn strategies, discuss in community, and become the parents and family you've always wanted to be. Nurture life-long sustained community with other families to support your journey now and beyond.
How children learn?
Children learn best through play in a sensory rich environment with open-ended materials (nature, our "third teacher")
Guiding and Modeling- through observation, reflecting, and learning alongside we encourage curiosity, inquiry, experimentation and reflection resulting in modeling how to learn and an intrinsic love of learning
Confident & loving connection-based teaching - Through authentic relationships based in respect, trust and acceptance children's thinking brain feels safe and ready to learn
Kindergarten academic skills (number sense, numeracy, literacy, executive functioning skills) are taught in meaningful contexts with real-world applications
"Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in his/her own play."
~Magda Gerber, founder of RIE
Being in the elements teaches us:
Children learn that they can finish a hike even if they get tired, wet, or hungry. They overcome obstacles like boulders, fallen logs, or their own feelings of uncertainty or frustration. At the end of each hike, they share their pride of achievement with the parent who greets them at the pickup location.
Through gentle modeling our educators show children how to be kind, caring, helpful, and respectful community members. Children learn the rewards of helping each other push up sleeves to wash hands, mentoring another child to climb a tree, or help come up with rules of a game they want to play. They use their imaginations and communicate to turn natural materials into play things.Very naturally our educators provide just enough support to guide children to practice essential social and emotional skills, but not too much to take over.
Children learn that they can carry everything they need in their backpacks and utilize it independently. They learn that they can figure out how to scramble over a boulder or coax a snail into their hands. They learn how to decide when it’s time to put on a warm hat or take off their rain jackets, and how to keep their gear together. Kindergarten teachers often comment that our graduates are the most organized and independent children in their classes.
In an a typical classroom, object direct their use. Children are more often to have fixed ideas about the uses of materials and want what others have. In nature -- a rock is doll, food, money, block. Nature-play encourages limitless creativity, communication and teamwork.
Comfort and LOVE of Nature
Children learn to be comfortable in nature. Although your child most likely goes to a playground most days, she may not have as much regular experience in nature. Children need to spend a significant time in nature in order to bond with the natural world. This helps foster their future commitment to the earth and environmental issues.
mentor for children, parents & teachers
Our Mighty Team
Your Child Is in Great Hands
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
I am very fortunate to be the director of our small, mixed-age program where I get to blend the best of best of connection-centered, project-based and democratic early childhood philosophies. Each day we strive to practice and embody respectful, loving relationships where children, parents and teachers are seen, heard and valued. We are honored to see the world through the wondrous, present eyes of children - as scientists experimenting with and discovering the world.
When I’m not poring over brain research or nature-based provocations, you'll find my family and I with nets, wet shoes, sun-kissed cheeks hiking, picnic-ing, and catching and "thinking like" newts, tadpoles, crabs and butterflies. I love paddle boarding, jogging, yoga and watching my kids surf and mountain bike with their dad while our baby and I collect rocks and try not to eat sand. I'm proud mama to Noelle (7), Teddy (5), Hope (17 months) and Nina dog (10 years).
I have spent the past 16 years helping children construct their own understandings and lighting a life long passion for learning. I've worn many hats in the field of education: infant caregiver, elementary classroom teacher, college application mentor for underrepresented youth, Director of a private school and home-based preschool. In addition to directing and teaching at Mighty Bambinis, I'm honored to serve the Bay Area early childhood community as CCSF Child Development Faculty, former Wonderschool Mentor Teacher and Advisor, and Early Childhood Matters parent education workshop facilitator.
I have a Masters in Education, California Multiple-Subject Teaching credential with an Elementary Math Emphasis, Early Childhood Education Site Supervisor Permit, and a BA in Communication from UCSD.
The wonder and creativity that children bring to this world is what I have always cherished the most. Working with children and watching them blossom into wholesome human beings is my greatest passion. I have been lead teacher at Sweet Peas Preschool in San Francisco since graduating Chico State with my degree in Liberal Studies.
Being immersed in nature is the best way for a child can have to learn not only about the way the outside world works but also, how to connect themselves with the Earth. I love to foster the children’s love for the outdoors while showing them the wonders that the world has to offer us if we treat the Earth and one another with love, kindness, respect and care.
Some of my passions include hiking, yoga, nature’s insects (especially bees), and spending time with my loved ones. Living in the Bay Area has shown me the true beauty of the outside world and all of the reasons why we need to take care of our planet so that she can take care of us in return.
Chloe was born and raised in Tiburon and spent her whole life loving and studying native and medicinal plants and wildlife, and honoring the land and native people of Marin. She has extensive education with a BS in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, Permaculture design certificates and over 520 hours of study at Cypress Health Institute. In addition she trained at the California School of Herbal Studies where she is certificated in Herbal medicine focusing on plants in our Northern California bioregion. On top of all of that she is a trained CranioSacral Therapist.
She has been an environmental educator at Sprout Up and a preschool teacher at Coastal Community Preschool in Santa Cruz.
We love sharing in Chloe’s passion for all the plants’ gifts and seeing all the world around us as truly magical and healing. The children love her kindness and playfulness, and have fully caught her passion for caring for the planet, caring for the Earth as she provides and cares for us! Medicine is all around us
Before joining Mighty Bambinis, Melinda has been a teacher at Marin Waldorf since 2010. She spent years teaching Kindergarten there and was the school’s naturalist. Before that she was a lead preschool teacher at Waldorf Preschool Mountain School.
Melinda has been teaching preschool for 20+ years at Waldorf and Montessori programs in Marin. She loves the low ratio and says that despite all her years working in some of Marin’s best schools she’s never seen children so happy when they are at school as here.
We also have been loving working with Melinda as she is a Master teacher and Mentor in all senses. She has taught all of us teachers so many amazing games, fingerplays and songs that only Waldorf teachers know. She always has a way to support every child in every situation.
Melinda loves the outdoors and spends her time hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and backpacking with her family. She has 2 grown children and is an avid backpacker and naturalist.
Michele has been teaching at Mighty Bambinis since we opened in July 2021. Michele has a Masters in Education in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College in NY and a Bachelors in Psychology and Sociology from Western Washington University. She has been a lead teacher and family social worker in New York for many years before moving to Mill Valley to focus on spending time raising her young children.
Michele is a Strawberry mom whose 2 kids attend Edna. Michele is coach to her kids softball, baseball teams and dedicated parent volunteer at school. Her family spends lots of time exploring nature in Marin!