Director, Lead Educator
We are lucky enough to live and learn in beautiful Bellingham, Washington. Our classroom expands throughout Whatcom County. We love taking field trips and spending full days in nature. We take advantage of good weather and public transportation. We like visiting our neighbors, chatting with business owners, and volunteering for local charities. We invite parents and friends to participate and share with us their passions and skills. We hold community events and throw awesome parties. We are one part of a much larger community, and we see our interactions as a huge piece of our educational experience.
Chanda has been working in alternative education and multi-age classrooms for over 15 years. She loves working with children to help them find their passions and ignite their curiosities. Chanda grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and studied philosophy at Northern Arizona University with an emphasis on Women’s Studies. She worked with Greenpeace for 5 years both in Arizona and Oregon and continues to have a deep love for environmental education. Before moving to Bellingham, Chanda and her family lived in rural Utah where they ran a small, organic no-harm farm. Chanda embraces the inherent desire of all people to discover and investigate their world. She views the natural world as one of our most valuable learning spaces. She also sees the acceptance of technology as a way of stretching our imaginations and meeting children of this generation right where they are; interested innovators of the future. She is also busy being a grandma and mother to her 4 children and one grandchild. A deep commitment to children's right to meaningful lives, full of play and joy, shapes her outlook as a parent and a lifelong learner.
Kim loves learning how people learn. She was a student of educational philosophy before becoming a parent, where her eyes were truly opened to the way our brains make sense of the world around us. She is inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of young people, and enjoys sparking their curiosity and shining a light on their inherent interests and skills. She sees herself as both a teacher and student at the Natural Learning Center. Her background is in special education, work which led to a transformative exploration of the different ways people process and experience the world. She has also worked as an art educator, in both group and individual settings, for a variety of ages. Prior to founding the Natural Learning Center, Kim homeschooled her three daughters and taught alongside them at a local democratic school. In her free time, she enjoys creating art, playing outside, dancing, studying science, practicing yoga, gardening, and making new friends.
Natural Learning Center
1207 Ellsworth Street
Upstairs Main Classroom
Bellingham, WA 98225
Our day to day activities vary according to the people we have with us, the energy we have within us, and the opportunities that exist around us. Our foundation is built on core subjects, the things we couldn't get through this world without: science, art, mindfulness, mathematics, technology, literacy and comprehension, music, global awareness, life skills, health and wellness, and interpersonal communication. We practice these subjects in a variety of learning styles: kinesthetically, verbally, visually, and any other method that works to convey information. In the classroom, this can look like hands-on experiments, student-directed lesson plans, teacher assisted research, knitting, board games, cooking, conversations, drawing pictures, listening to stories, making movies, or singing songs.
The Natural Learning Center was formed out of a deep and genuine love and respect for children, our community, and the natural learning process. We run a democratic and holistic educational program; an organic learning experience chosen by the students, for the students. We see our connections to each other and the natural world as optimal teaching tools. We work together as a family to build ourselves individually. Through meaningful connections, purposeful actions, and thoughtful questions, we grow our brains and bodies with an eye toward the future, perspective from the past, and an appreciation for our present. Our program is ever-changing and dynamic, it morphs according to the students and events of the classroom on any given day. We know that when children feel comfortable, stimulated, and authentically interested, their minds are most capable of processing and retaining information, and learning becomes a simple and joyful act.