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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.

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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.

2024-2025 Board Members


Corianne Almekinder

Assistant Teacher

Teacher Cori's involvement with EBNS began when her oldest daughter experienced three enriching years there, and her youngest daughter continues to enjoy its nurturing environment. Teacher Cori served on the EBNS board for four years, including as chair, vice chair, and registrar. 
Teacher Cori holds an MsED in Childhood Education and Museum Education. Before joining EBNS, she gained teaching experience at Hillel Community Day School, The Cobblestone School, and Packer Collegiate Institute. At Hillel, she taught grades 3 and 4, and led the General Studies department. At Cobblestone, she led an integrated 1st and 2nd-grade classroom, and at Packer Collegiate worked with grades 2 and 4. She began her journey in the education world at The Rubin Museum of Art as a museum educator, which helped her explore the wonderful world of education, outside of a traditional classroom.
Teacher Cori was drawn to EBNS by its focus on social-emotional learning, its encouragement of children to freely play and explore, and the cooperative nature of the school. She appreciates the school's philosophy, which prioritizes giving children ample time to immerse themselves in nature, follow the natural rhythms of the seasons, and cultivate an innate curiosity about the world.
Teacher Cori's educational philosophy centers on recognizing the interests, talents, and learning styles of every child. She believes in fostering a nurturing, inclusive environment, with a strong emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. She looks forward to continuing to grow and learn alongside EBNS families!

2024-2025 Teaching Staff

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Onnie Stephan

Board Chair

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Jenny Goldstein Prahl


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Michelle and Jess Gentner



Julia Adams



Natalie Honsinger

Fundraising Co-Chair


Emily Nehrt

Vice Chair

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Brittany Snodgrass



Lauren Dias



Jody Ostrander



Emily Nehrt

Fundraising Co-Chair

Our Team: Our Team
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