About Us

Our Approach

At Learning in the Woods, we encourage you to come as you are, ready for an adventure that may include equal parts mud and understanding.  We do not have a curriculum or agenda in our programs – we truly let the participant create their own experience. You see, we believe in supporting people so that they can heal, grow, and discover.  We do this by creating an environment that has freedom, love, and trust at its core. We trust that you, the participant, know the best path for your learning.  We offer a space with freedom to discover that path and love to see you through the difficult emotions that come with self-discovery and learning.

Our Story

Learning in the Woods started in 2015 as the first program in the We Learn Naturally, a group dedicated to bringing unique, Self-Directed Education programs to local families.

We began as a group of moms, looking for a multi-age experience where our kids could play in nature with enough support to help our kids deal with difficult emotions that arise in play but enough freedom for self discovery and ownership of their experience.  When no program existed, we created our own!

As Learning in the Woods grew, we discovered parents and caregivers were also looking for opportunities to grow and learn in the woods.  Today we have programs in every season and every age group.  We are honored to grow and learn along with you!

Meet the Team

The Learning in the Woods facilitators truly bring our philosophy to life.  Here are the people who make our programs happen.

 

Tanya Collins Appleton

Director

Tanya is a self professed “Born Again Naturalist” who has fallen in love with the natural world all over again alongside her son. She is a strong believer in the transformative power of nature connection. Tanya is a former high school teacher and current homeschooling mom.
Before teaching, she worked at performing arts camps with children and teens and facilitated anti-discrimination workshops with middle-schoolers throughout Halton. Tanya is passionate about child-led learning and creating respectful and peaceful relationships with children and adults.

Soren Cowie

Learning in the Woods Facilitator

Soren is passionate about urban farming and he brings his knowledge about outdoor survival skills and foraging to Learning in the Woods.  He grew up in an unschooling family and understands how to balance needs in multi-age environments.  Soren is also musically creative and we look forward to finding ways to incorporate his many talents into the fold at We Learn Naturally!​

 

 

Grace Workman-Porecki

Learning in the Woods Facilitator

Grace appreciates the humor and “in the moment” experiences she gains from hanging out with learning and developing brains. When Grace has free time she enjoys playing the ukulele and piano, teaching her dog new tricks and hanging around on her aerial silk. She is a lover of animals, nature and having a good time. She is always up for an adventure. She loves traveling, talking, meeting new people and making new experiences. She is excited to get to know everyone in the We Learn Naturally community!!!

 

Hannah Ralph

Learning in the Woods Facilitator

Hannah is a lover of music, experiencing it as a way to relax, recharge and build community. You can often find Hannah with a bag full of yarn and knitting needles, working on one of her many projects, and dreaming about shearing her own alpaca. Sometimes, to make a little money, and have a little fun, you might just see Hannah busking on the streets or rocking it out on stage or screen. Make sure to have an empty stomach, cuz Hannah loves to feed others with her delicious vegan and gluten free food. Hannah brings her passion for entrepreneurship and creating to We Learn Naturally.

Rachel Rose

Learning in the Woods Facilitator

An educator and a mom, Rachel is passionate about creating trusting relationships with parents and children. With a view of children as eminently capable and competent, she believes that learning works best when it is self directed and driven by interests. Through play, experimentation and exploration of our world, children and adults alike gain experience, knowledge, connection and community which stay throughout their lives. Aside from education, Rachel is an avid reader and enjoys a variety of activities such as hiking, camping, knitting and experimenting in the kitchen, particularly with soups!

Julie Kuipers

Learning in the Woods Facilitator

Julie is a certified teacher with experience teaching in HWDSB’s SAGE program.  She is a mom of 2 and is learning much from her kids and from her journey as a parent.  Her interest in respectful parenting and her passion for saying exactly what she means often have her reframing and rephrasing.  She loves to be outside, and she is continually working at slowing down and being present, by noticing more and committing to less.

 

 

More about Learning in the Woods Programs here!