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Katie Banta

Lead Teacher

Finding Her Way To EBNS:

  • Childlike wonder

  • Teacher

  • Mother

  • Community Member

Educational Experiences:

  • Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and a specialization in Special Education from Concordia University Chicago

  • Kindergarten Teacher

  • 3rd Grade Teacher 

  • Completed the Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education Course at Sunbridge Institute

Early Educational Philosophy:

  • Play is the foundation to growth in a child’s early development. 

  • Inviting children to guide their own learning experience whenever possible builds confidence and their sense of wonder.

  • A focus on patiently and gently helping to navigate their social and emotional skills in the earliest years prepares children to have a more successful higher educational experience. 

  • The outdoors are a gift and we should embrace the educational opportunities offered to us naturally as often as possible. 

Hopes Within the Classroom:

  • All of the children feel loved, safe and heard. 

  • Our community thrives as we learn and grow as human beings through our many different roles. 

  • The flow of the seasons continue to guide our stories, songs and hand crafts. 

  • The rhythm of the day provides us all with a sense of comfort so that we can come to expect a certain peace when we gather.

  • That all of the children fall in love with learning and feel confident in their ability to adventure and explore what awaits them outside of EBNS.

Alana Batrowny Jackson

Assistant Teacher

Finding her way to EBNS:

  • Joining a Community of Like Minded Educators

  • Assistant Teacher

Educational Experiences:

  • BFA in Literature with a focus on Adolescent Education from Roberts Wesleyan College

  • Montessori Parent-Child Guide Certification at Ananda Montessori 

  • Play Based Education Certificate with Teacher Tom Hobson 

  • Homes Educator 

  • Dance Educator 

  • Pre-School Educator

Early Educational Philosophy:

  • A beginning that is rooted in connection, respect, exploration, and freedom builds a strong foundation for later years. 

  • Learning through self-directed play is the foundation for all learning.

  • Nature is our best teacher. 

  • “The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul.” - Maria Montessori

Hopes Within the Classroom:

  • Uphold an atmosphere where all children (and adults!) feel respected, valued, and loved.

  • Providing a safe environment in which children feel free to explore, question, grow, and thrive.

  • Bring my love for nature, neuroscience, non-violent communication, and play based learning to support all members of the EBNS community. 

  • Work closely with Teacher Katie to ensure her vision and goals come to life.

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Shannon Hess

Assistant Teacher

Shannon found her way to EBNS in 2019 when her son joined the children in his first year of preschool. He continued through three years with EBNS and their family grew deeply connected with the school and community. Shannon has background experience in art, herbal medicine, gardening, nature based education, and Waldorf philosophy. Shannon holds her BS in studio art with a concentration in painting from SUNY Brockport and has spent over 10 years working with young children in nature based settings. She worked with Shimmering Light’s Herb Haven program in Canandaigua, NY facilitating their nature based children’s program, and as the assistant teacher at the Waldorf-inspired nursery and farm school The Garden in Brockport, NY. Shannon has completed numerous trainings in Waldorf early child care through LifeWays North America. She has also completed two herbal apprenticeships as well as spending years with the women and children of Herb Haven learning together in their gardens.  Shannon believes that a warm and home-like environment centered around rhythm and ritual with celebration, work, and play creates an atmosphere of inclusiveness and meaning that is essential for us all no matter our age. She looks forward to sharing the days and seasons inside and out with the EBNS children and families.


Cori Almekinder

Board Chair

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Jenny Goldstein Prahl


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Michelle and Jess Gentner



Yasmine Qazi

Fundraising Co-Chair

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Onnie Stephan

Vice Chair

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Brittany Snodgrass



Lauren Dias



Julia Adams


Our Team: Our Team
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