Mike Boyle, Wild Child Program Coordinator
“Nature needs few words. Fierce winds don’t blow all morning, torrents don’t pour all day.” – Lao Tzu
Mike has worked in outdoor education for the past 13 years, and loves to get outside and play in the woods. Originally from Ontario, he spends most of his time in the forest teaching youth about the exciting world all around them, or travelling, camping, and hiking all over the map! Over the past 13 years, Mike has worked with kids of all ages and abilities, and loves introducing and integrating young people into the natural world through hikes, ecology, outdoor living skills, and of course games!
Mike is an avid camper and loves embarking on and planning canoe trips professionally and in his spare time. When he is not in the woods, he is probably learning to cook something new, caring for his plants, or building/crafting something!
“Outdoor play time has been a vital component of my work with children, supporting their natural curiosity, regardless of their physical and/or mental limitations.”
Jacqui received her Early Childhood Education degree in England and continued to study and work in the field for more than 40 years! Her work has included programs for children with a variety of developmental disabilities in Canada, Portugal and Belize. She also volunteered in Thailand for 8 years, providing teacher training in Early Intervention and Inclusive Education for children with special needs, spending 4 of those years working in refugee camps on the Thai/Burma border.
During the past 2 years she has been studying permaculture with a view to incorporating some of the principles into her urban life! Many of these include a deep respect of the natural world and an interest in sharing this with the children who will inherit it!
Kayla de Groot, Wild Child Educator
“The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea: the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable.” – Richard Louv
Kayla has been working with children for nearly 10 years, and she is a passionate defender of play! Originally trained as an elementary school teacher, Kayla quickly discovered that a traditional classroom was not where she belonged. Believing whole-heartedly in the vital importance of childhood and that children are naturally curious, Kayla became an Early Childhood Educator where she embraced the benefits of an emergent, play-based curriculum. Since then, she has been embracing any and all opportunities to learn about children and to learn alongside children.
Believing in the restorative power of nature, Kayla relishes any opportunity to be immersed in a natural environment. She loves camping, hiking, and exploring new places. You are likely to find her taking hundreds of (amateur) photographs of the natural world along the way, or kicking it with a good book in her hammock. Kayla also enjoys growing her own food and testing out new vegetarian recipes. A strong advocate for combating the global crisis of climate change, Kayla is also passionate about living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Kayla is excited to merge her personal and professional passions, and to meet all of you at the Wild Child Forest School!
Emily, Wild Child Administrator and Co-chair of Sierra Club, Atlantic Canada Chapter
Originally from Massachusetts, Emily came to Nova Scotia to attend Dalhousie University where she earned her BA. Following this she went on to earn her graduate degree in Ecology Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Afterwards, she worked at an Audubon nature sanctuary, developing and leading nature based camp programming, as well as at an Outdoor Education Centre in Rhode Island, where she taught leadership, natural history, and survival skills, and coordinated a nature camp for kids.
From there she married a Canadian and moved back to Nova Scotia where she assisted in delivering after school programs for the Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. She also helped Heidi, Sally and Jacqui in the first year of the Wild Child Forest School before moving to Ottawa. After a brief stint in Ottawa and Australia, she’s happy to be back in Nova Scotia with her husband and young son and involved with the Wild Child Forest School again.