Farm & Nature Discovery School
Danielle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rasmussen College in Chicago with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Leadership. She has over fourteen years of experience with all ages while working in the Early Childhood Education Field. She spent these years gathering as much information about child development, varying curriculum styles, and teaching strategies as she could to further supplement her education. Danielle feels that with the combination of her education and experience, she can provide the quality of care that each child deserves. She believes it is an honor to have such a significant impact on each individual child and is eager to interact with all the families in our community. Danielle is thrilled to have the opportunity to direct the Farm and Nature Discovery School and looks forward to teaching, playing, singing, dancing, and being outdoors with your children each and every day!
Lead Teacher & Director Designee
Ms. Maggie is our 3 year old Preschool teacher and Director Designee. She graduated from Concordia University Chicago in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She has been with The Farm & Nature Discovery School since 2019. She says she absolutely loves it here. She loves being outside, visiting the farm, and being able to explore so many different places outdoors. She grew up in Frankfort, IL and is the youngest of 4. Every Summer she spends her time nannying, and spending time outdoors as much as possible. She loves swimming, boating, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephews. She can’t wait to meet all the new families!
Ms. Kerry says she is excited to start her first year with us at the Farm and Nature Discovery School. She
has 5 years of experience in early childhood education. She graduated from National Louis
University in 2023 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Educational studies. Ms. Kerry has also completed an internship at the Northeast Los Angeles Forest School in 2019 where she fell in love with play and nature-based approaches in early childhood education. Ms. Kerry grew up in Ohio and moved to Illinois in 2015. As a child. She could be found exploring in the woods or
playing in a puddle with her sister and neighborhood friends. Today you can find her enjoying nature, creating art, and spending time with her partner (Bob), dog (Homer) and 2 cats (Bella and Squirl Girl). Fostering a love for learning, promoting curiosity, and building confidence is very important to her. She describes herself as a teacher that invites the natural world and curiosity into the early childhood educational environment all while aspiring to connect herself and students to nature through play and wonder through meaningful experiences. Ms. Kerry is
excited to meet all of the children, their families and to start our adventures on the farm!
Kelly Smetana received her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, in 2012z. Kelly has been with The Farm & Nature Discovery school since 2021.second year teaching our 4-year-olds at the Farm and Nature school. She grew up in Palos Park and spent her summers working with children as a water ski instructor at Culver Military Academy on Lake Maxinkuckee. She is passionate about the outdoors and working with our young learners in this fantastic school setting.
Mrs. Winona, also known as Mrs. Nona, graduated from Moraine Valley with her Associates in Arts in 2015. She continued her education at Governor’s State and received more credit hours in Early Education. She started working at the Farm and Nature School in 2013 as a teacher’s assistant for eight years until 2020. She continued working at The Center as the Chapel Coordinator from 2021 until 2023. She realized that teaching is her passion and wanted to continue her path with children as an educator. She appreciates working with young children because she believes they continue to teach her to enjoy life’s little things. She enjoys to be a part of their educational and personal growth as they grow so much within the school year. Mrs. Nona lives in Midlothian with her husband, their newborn daughter, and their dog. She enjoys camping, gardening and being with her family. Mrs. Nona is excited to return back to teaching this upcoming school year.
Ms. Karen has been with The Farm & Nature Discovery School since 2021. This will be her first-year teaching Kindergarten. She previously taught 3-year-old and 4-year-old preschool classes. Karen
received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Augustana College, Rock Island. She worked as a
microbiologist before entering the recreation field. For the next 13 years she worked with children
ranging 3 months to 17 years, though her favorite age group to work with were the 3-6 years. She
organized and led various activities as a Climbing Wall Instructor, Kid’s Activities Supervisor, and Youth
Activities Counselor. In 2020 she moved into Early Childhood Education as a Montessori Teacher
Assistant before coming to the Farm. Here Karen gets to combine her love of the outdoors, science, and
Ms. Keighley is very excited to start her 2nd year at The Farm & Nature Discovery School. She has always enjoyed babysitting for her neighbors and knew early on that she wanted a career working with children. While in high school she worked at The Little Bulldog Preschool. She enjoys getting to know all the different personalities of the students and building a relationship with each individual child. In her free time, she loves to go to concerts, read, and spend time outdoors. She just recently vacationed in Colorado where she hiked and went horseback riding in Garden of the Gods!
Sabrina LaFlame received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Governors State University. She has been with The Farm & Nature Discovery School since 2019. She has taken a break from her lead Kindergarten position, but will still substitute as needed. She has a passion for sparking the educational interest of young minds. She enjoys spending time outdoors with not only her students but her family as well. She is happily married to her husband Bryan and has a teen aged daughter and an elementary aged son. Her objective is to create a fun and safe learning environment so that each child can become the best version of themselves while learning about the world around them.
This is Ms. Haley’s first year at The Farm and Nature Discovery School. She is currently attending Moraine Valley in pursuit of a paraprofessional educator degree. She has been working with children for five years. She has worked as a swim instructor, in a preschool classroom, a camp counselor, and an after school care giver. Some of her hobbies are painting and baking.
Ms. Bella is joining us for her first year at The Farm and Nature Discovery School for the 2023-2024 school year. Early Childhood Education has been a passion of hers since she can remember. She hopes to spread a loving, peaceful educational experience for children. She has had several years of experience working in classrooms across several towns with all age groups. She is moving toward continuing on to get her ECE degree through Moraine Valley college in the near future.
Ms. Heidi is excited to begin her first year at the Farm and Nature Discovery School as a teacher’s aide but is not a stranger to the program as all three of her children attended school here. Helping children build a love for learning, in addition to a love of nature, is a passion of hers and why she chose to pursue her degree in Early Childhood Education. She was a girl scout co-leader and has over six years’ experience volunteering in classrooms that range from preschool to 5th grade. Ms. Heidi loves the outdoors, camping, traveling, coffee, and spending time with her family and new puppy, Comet.
Alex DeMarchi is looking forward to being back for another great school year at The Farm and Nature School. He is currently on his second year studying Early Childhood Education. Alex joined our school for the 2022-2023 school year. He has always had 2 passions; working with children and working with animals and nature. He has always had a huge menagerie of animals (he has over 100 currently) and his mom has always done babysitting from home, so he says working there with the children and in nature is the best of both worlds. He also does educational animal shows and teaches classes for a home school co-op in which he teaches about animals and nature. He always loved working in the Early Childhood Education field because he says young children’s natural excitement and energy make it hard to be in a bad mood, no matter what comes your way.
Ms. Kylie graduated from Valparaiso University with a BA in Creative Writing and French, and some dabbling in Studio Arts and the Humanities. She’s spent years babysitting, running various children’s programs at her church, and working as coordinator of an after-school care program. Since the 2022-2023 school year, she has also been a teacher’s aide here at the Farm and Nature School! She loves working with kids and getting to see them grow and engage with the world. She says spending time with kids where she can help them have fun and learn, and maybe learn something from them, is a joy. Her favorite hobbies are reading, writing, and drawing. She has three younger brothers. Her favorite children’s book is The Rainbow Goblins. Her favorite movie is either Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves or How to Train Your Dragon. She also loves pizza!
Sal has been with the Farm and Nature School since 2022. While he has moved to the reception position at The Center, he will still be substituting for us as needed this year. He is currently enrolled at Moraine Valley to further his education degree. Sal loves working with children, and has passion being a positive influence on his students. Sal has prior work experience in a Day Camp setting, and makes safety and having fun his top priority.