Belva Stone—Director, Owner, Operator
“Exploring the outdoors through the eyes of a child is one of the most inspiring things.”
Miss Belva has been working with children for 18 years. She spent 12 years as a private nanny specializing in children aged 0-5yrs. During the latter portion of that time, she studied at VCC to get her Early Childhood Education certificate. In 2010 Miss Belva accepted her first preschool teaching job at a traditional Montessori school where she met Miss Pat! She worked there for 4 years before shifting directions and assisted in developing an outdoor preschool program in Vancouver. After 2 years of running this program it became clear to her that she should open her own program and there came the birth of Muddy Boot Prints.
Having grown up in the country, Miss Belva has a deep love for nature and the outdoors. Regardless of the weather, her mother ensured that her and her two brothers got outside every day to explore what was around them. Because of this, one of her deep rooted philosophies is that children must get outside everyday, regardless of the weather. Exploring the outdoors through the eyes of a child is one of the most inspiring things to Miss Belva as often times, children spot things or find true joy in things that adults miss—like puddle jumping! Their curiosity and sense of constant wonder is what intrigues her most about working with children because they show her that there is always something more to learn, see and discover.
Pat McGinness—Lead Teacher
“Nature can take my breath away and I think of children experiencing that feeling.”
Miss Pat moved to Vancouver in the mid eighties from Ontario. She received her ECE certification in 1991 through VCC. After working on the east side of Vancouver for several years, Miss Pat left to explore and work in other parts of BC. When she came back to Vancouver, she chose to work in her friends’ animal care company and still says hello to every dog she meets! Miss Pats love and care for all animals runs deep within her and she passes that passion of care for animals onto the children whenever the opportunity arises—which is often!
Miss Pat returned to the childcare field with knowledge of Waldorf and Montessori theories which is where she met Miss Belva, at a Montessori preschool in East Vancouver. When Miss Pat moved to PEI to connect with her family and explore life on the east coast, they both kept in close touch. Miss Pat enjoyed her time there as she worked in a centre with a manager who was also an advocate of outdoor programming which—which is Miss Pat’s true passion. It was here that she was finally able to create outdoor experiences for the preschoolers she was with and help them develop a deeper love and belief in outdoor education.
Pat has spent a lot of time in her kayak and camped in the winter with a fox family around her fire in PEI. “Nature can take my breath away and I think of children experiencing that feeling,” Miss Pat says, ”I am so excited to be working alongside Miss Belva in this outdoor adventure and look forward to sharing the knowledge I have accumulated with the children and learning new things along with them.”
Sarah Eakins – Lead Teacher – Sparrow Program
When we take away the walls and invite nature to be one of our teachers, we come closer to viewing the world through the eyes of children and truly experiencing the wonder of simple things.
– Miss Sarah
Miss Sarah completed her Early Childhood Education certification through Vancouver Community College in 2007 and is a passionate lifelong learner. She has over twenty years experience of working and learning alongside children, including nearly ten years building her own family child care program while raising her two young children.
Miss Sarah’s teaching style is rooted deeply in respectful communication and appreciation for each child as a unique individual. She believes that this approach provides each child with the freedom to develop individual interests and skills in an atmosphere of joyful learning and growth through active play and exploration.
With her love of the outdoors and her playful nature, Sarah has found great joy in her work with children: “When we take away the walls and invite nature to be one of our teachers, we come closer to viewing the world through the eyes of children and truly experiencing the wonder of simple things.”
Miss Sarah attributes her strong connection with the outdoors to a childhood spent helping in the garden, going on family picnics, and camping trips, and spending summers at the lake. She finds peace in nature and still can’t resist a picnic!
Laurie Yeomans – Teacher – Sparrow Program
Laurie Yeomans recently moved to Vancouver from the UK where she grew up. Her passion for nature and the outdoors came from a very young age where as a child she would spend nights up on the Malvern Hills in a sleeping bag and nothing else, watching the night sky and searching for shooting stars; during the daytime she would hike and cycle anywhere possible. Laurie moved to Vancouver for a new adventure, and to be closer to the mountains, forest and sea. She is excited to pursue her career as a Woodland educator. Laurie is keen to teach and learn from the children she works with, enabling them to explore what they best love in life, and help them experience nature in a way that not everyone gets the chance to in our modern society.
Laurie has a BA honors in Drawing and Applied arts from UWE in the UK, and is a certified Woodland activity Leader. While she was living in the UK Laurie gained lots of experience working as a nanny for various families, volunteering with The Hackney Pirates (a secondary school literacy program) and Muddy Boots (a Forest School) as well as working with a music therapy school for adults with severe disabilities.