Our Staff

Betsy Thagard - Lead Teacher

As the mother of two children and a trained Waldorf teacher, Betsy brings a deep understanding of early childhood development to Willow Garden Preschool.  Betsy trained as a Waldorf teacher at the Center for Educational Renewal, has taken many Waldorf teaching courses at Rudolph Steiner College, and is currently completing the Lifeways Training.

Betsy knows how important it is to protect small children's sense of magic and wonder in the world and to provide them with ample opportunities to imitate the home-making activities of adults.  As a credentialed California teacher with roots in the Waldorf charter school movement, Betsy also ensures that her students are ready for a joyful kindergarten experience.  

Mostly, Betsy adores sharing with small children her love for the natural world.  Little ones at Willow Garden learn math by counting the eggs they collect and the potatoes they harvest.  Language arts develop through farm songs and stories about bunnies eating blueberries.  The children learn community values by sharing with each other and their families the fruit and vegetables they grow on the farm.  A little heaven on earth -- that's what children experience daily at Willow Garden Preschool and Urban Farm.

 

Brenna Smith - Assistant Teacher

As a gardener, outdoor educator, and trained Waldorf teacher, Brenna delights in bringing the wonder of the natural world to young children. Brenna completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at The Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2014.

Her style of teaching little ones is gentle and filled with a joyful humor.  She holds space for children to be their wise and capable selves.  

In her spare time, Brenna can be found surfing the California coast with her 10 year old son, hiking in the redwoods, or getting her hands in the Earth in her organic garden.