Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre is brought to you by:
Tiffany Tierney, RECE Director of School Age Programs
Tiffany is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and Forest School Practitioner who has gained experience working in Kindergarten classrooms with the DSBN and preschools throughout the Niagara region. Tiffany followed her passion for Environmentalism, Nature, and Education to join forces with like-minded educators to support the Child & Nature movement and offer Nature-based education to their community. She is a Certified Yoga Instructor and an advocate for living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Tiffany is excited to share her love of the outdoors while inspiring children to gain knowledge, empathy, and confidence through the world around them, helping them to grow into adults that care for the Environment and their Community.
Joelle Kanakis, RECE
Director of Preschool Programs
Joelle has always been drawn Nature and the outdoors which started when she was young, spending time outdoors with her three younger sisters going on backyard adventures or spending time in the summer camping with her family. It wasn’t until she became a mother that she really saw the importance of sharing this love of Nature with her two daughters. Staying home for 6 years to raise them and opening a successful home daycare during this time, she successfully incorporated nature in her program for learning, arts and crafts with the children in her care. While completing her Early Childhood Education Diploma in 2018 she was drawn to a space where Education and the natural environment overlap. Joelle is excited to be an Educator for the Preschool programs at Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre where she will continue to develop lifelong connections to the natural world for the children in her program.
Jaclyn Giesbrecht, OCT Director of Operations
Jackie is an Ontario Certified Teacher and Forest School Practitioner, with a background in History and English, and experience with outdoor education. She started working with children as a day camp instructor and program facilitator, which then led her to pursue her passion to become an educator. She has a passion for teaching outdoors, and engages with students in a genuine way while recognizing the learning/teaching opportunities that occur in such a rich and diverse setting. She hopes that Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre will inspire young minds to take an avid interest in nature, which will then open up various avenues for learning and inquiry.
Filomena Barilla OCT, NAMC Montessori certified
Filomena is an Ontario Certified Teacher that majored in Visual Fine Arts and minored in Art History and has a background in Canadian History. From an early age, Filomena was found with a crayon, marker, or paintbrush in her hand colouring and painting anywhere and everywhere. When she was not making art, she was outside playing in the mud and climbing trees. Her love for everything outdoors came from her Father who grew up on a farm and instilled the importance of caring for plants and trees. Growing up in a rural part of Southern Ontario Filomena considered herself fortunate to have been able to have access to large fields and forests to play and explore in. After studying at Brock and Lakehead University Filomena started her teaching career with the Niagara School Board and went on to get her Special Education certificate and worked for the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand Norfolk. It is here where she saw the benefits of being able to work one on one with a child and see how each child can grow and learn despite having to overcome tremendous adversity. Filomena moved on and continued to grow as an educator working in daycares as a preschool, toddler and infant teacher and then transitioned into Montessori learning eventually getting her Montessori teaching diploma. Filomena is also a certified Yoga Instructor and is excited to be a part of a community that incorporates imagination and creativity through outdoor learning and exploration.
Rebekah Versluis. RECE
Hello! I am Rebekah. I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator. I have been working in this field for roughly 5 years, with toddlers and infants. I truly enjoy nature, and being outside. I was drawn to this job because of the vision Greenbelt has, and teaching the children to connect with nature. I grew up with a backyard overlooking a forest, and that’s where I spent most of my days. I was constantly building forts, and playing games with my family, or by myself. Now, I spend most of my evenings and weekends outside, hiking, walking, and enjoying nature. I love being able to explore nature, and learn from it.
I believe it’s extremely beneficial for children’s development, and can provide them with so many positive experiences. I am so enthusiastic about this
school, and the learning that develops for your children, through nature.