JUNIPER EARLY LEARNING CENTER
Holly Schafer, Director/Owner
Holly is a licensed Early Childhood Educator and Montessori Primary Teacher with over 25 years of experience working with young children in many different capacities.
Prior to attending the Early Childhood Education Program at Okanagan University College, Holly taught preschool in New York, NY where she ran a program for two to three year old's called the "Two Group." Upon completion of her studies in the Early Childhood Education field in 1993, she was hired as an Assistant Teacher at the Okanagan Montessori Preschool in Kelowna, B.C. This was a wonderful experience! Having been exposed to many preschool and daycare environments, Holly found, what she believes, to be excellence in Early Childhood Education. Holly found her niche in the Montessori classroom and could never imagine a career that could be as fulfilling and inspiring as working with children in a Montessori environment.
Holly went on to take her St.Nicholas practical training and examination at the Pacific Montessori School in Victoria during the summer of 1995. In March of 2002, she completed The Montessori Foundations Level 1 Certificate at the Western Montessori Teachers College in Port Moody, B.C. Because of her dedication and love for children, appreciation of the Montessori Method, and the desire to offer such a program to the families of Kamloops, she made the decision to open the Kamloops Montessori Preschool/ Kindergarten and Kamloops Montessori Academy in 1998. After 18 years of providing excellence in Child Care in the Aberdeen and Sahali areas of Kamloops, Holly was excited to extend her Childcare Centers into the Juniper community.
Holly-Ann Fraser - Administrative Assistant
Holly-Ann is our Administrative Assistant. She came to us at the end of the summer 2018, and brings with her many years of administrative experience, from working in several medical offices, as well as many other capacities. She moved to Kamloops from Alberta, shortly before starting work in our office. She has also worked with children in many capacities over the years. She has 4 grown children of her own and 5 grandchildren; has acted as a Sunday School Teacher, Youth Group Leader, and provided childcare from her home at different times, over the past 35 years. She and her husband were Directors of Torch Trail Bible Camp in Northern Saskatchewan for 3 years, where she also gained extensive experience in Administration and working with children of all age groups.
Grace Gorman, Manager/Head Teacher in 3-5 Full DayProgram
Grace was born in Kamloops and attended Kamloops Montessori as a child herself. From a young age Grace knew she wanted to pursue a career with children. After graduating from South Kamloops Secondary School, Grace completed her Early Childhood Education diploma at TRU and has received her Montessori level 1 training. Grace is very interested in the development of children and learning how their creative minds work. Going through the Montessori program as a child, Grace knew that she wanted to work in a Montessori classroom and share her knowledge and experiences with her students. Grace is the Manager at Juniper Early Learning Center, as well as, the Head Teacher of the 3-5 Full Day Program.
YounNam Lee, Teacher 3-5 Full Day Program
YounNam holds an Early Childhood Educator Assistant Certificate and Level One Montessori Foundations Training Certificate. She has worked in Montessori Education environment for over 4 years and has found her joy of working with pre-schoolers. Prior to working with very young children, she volunteered in childminding and after-school programs for 3 years in Kamloops. She attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and taught kindergarten, elementary, young adults and adults for decades back in Korea. She completed a Diploma program in Applied Linguistics with University of Victoria, where she enjoyed learning how to teach languages. She is currently working with children in our 3-5 Full Day Program. She arrives each day with the goal of taking care of all children as if they were her own.
Sarah Wenzoski- Teacher 3-5 Full Day Program
Sarah has her certificate as ‘Early Childhood Educational Assistant', and is currently working to complete her ECE online with TRU, while working in the 3-5 Full Day program. She loves bugs, plants and cleaning up garbage at the park. She also love to take care of our classroom fish. She says “Your children are always welcome to grab a book and ask me to read” as she loves reading. She looks forward to being a teacher for your children and greeting them along with their parents every morning!
Sydne Mitchell, Assistant Teacher 3-5 Year Old Full Day Program
Sydne grew up in Hope British Columbia, surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers. She attended Columbia Bible College in 2016 and earned her 'Educational Assistant' certificate. After graduating from CBC, she traded in her ‘small town’ life to move to Vancouver, BC and continue her education. During this shift, she uncovered her love for Early Childhood Education, while working at a child care centre in North Vancouver from 2017 to April 2020. This discovery led her to enroll in Capilano University ECE program, in 2018. It is here that Sydne attained her 'Early Childhood Assistant' certificate. She moved to Kamloops in 2020, and says that she is “More than excited to be a part of Juniper’s Montessori program!”
Lin Roth, Head Teacher in the Infant/Toddler Program
A friend introduced Lin to the Montessori Method when her sons were preschoolers. She identified with the philosophy and began using many of the Montessori activities at home. Lin began teaching the Montessori method at Kamloops Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten in 2000. She brings many years of experience to Juniper Early Learning Center, where she continues to delight in sharing this positive method with the children at school, and finds it very rewarding as the Head Teacher of the Toddler Program.
In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree, Lin holds a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, including specialties in Infants, Toddlers and Children with Special Needs, which she completed in 2002 at TRU (formerly UCC). Lin has a Montessori teaching Diploma and a Library Aid Certificate, and has experience in elementary school libraries, and a background in teaching music. She has been a member of the ECE Program Advisory committee at TRU since 2000 and is a recipient of the Childcare Award of Excellence for the Interior Region, 2012.
A highlight for Lin was a trip to Italy in 2009 where she visited several Montessori schools in Rome and Naples. It was inspiring for Lin to see the site of the original Montessori school in the San Lorenzo district of Rome, which Maria Montessori began over 100 years ago. She even had opportunity to observe the classes there. Montessori truly is a universal philosophy of education dedicated to the whole development of children in all areas of life!
Daniela Becker, Teacher Infant/IToddler Program
Daniela is from Germany. She has 'Early Childhood Educator' certification from Germany as well as from Nova Scotia, Canada. Daniela has worked with children, from birth through the teenage years, for over 17 years in different countries, including USA, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Her experiences include different (bilingual, special needs) settings such as early childhood centers, after school centers, a children's home and private homes. She and her husband have started a new chapter by coming to Canada with their two cats, and she enjoys working with our team here at Juniper Early Learning Center.
Pyper Tull, Head Teacher in Preschool Program
Pyper has always loved being around children and has a passion for helping others. She decided to pursue her dream of teaching and working with children in 2016, when she moved from her hometown of Squamish to Kamloops, where she attended the 'Early Childhood Education' Program at TRU. Pyper has been working in our Preschool Program since October 2018, and has since gone back to school to attain her Infant and Toddler Certification. She recently attained her 'Special Needs' certification, as well. Pyper’s favourite moments throughout the day are seeing the results of each child’s exploration and discovery in ordinary happenings.
Lisa Gilroy, Teacher Preschool Program
Lisa was raised in Kamloops, where her parents owned a restaurant, which taught her many entrepreneurial skills and a good work ethic. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from UCC (now TRU) in 2004 and proceeded to travel to Korea where she found a love for teaching. Lisa continued her expeditions, which landed her in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 10 years, where she taught English in a private, bilingual school, as well as, owned and operated her own business. This is where she met her husband, and had her son, before moving back to Canada. When she and her husband returned to Kamloops to raise her family, she also returned to school, and has recently completed her 'Early Childhood Educator' certification. She plans to return to school to complete her 'Infant/Toddler' and 'Children with Exceptionalities' certification courses, in the near future. She believes that children are strong and capable individuals, and through trusting and strong relationships, they will learn and grow as they play and explore their world in a safe environment.
Wendy Johnson, Teacher and Bus Driver of School Age Program
Wendy was born in England and moved, with her family, to Alberta at a young age. She graduated from the 'Interior Design' program at Mount Royal College in Calgary but decided to become a School Bus driver when her two young boys started school. Wendy is currently our Bus Driver and a Head Teacher in our School Age Program. Wendy enjoys the team environment at the center, as well as, providing the children with a safe, fun-filled place to spend time after school and on Non-Instructional Days at School.
Loredana (Lu) Lazaruk, Teacher School Age Program Lu received her Early Childhood Certificate from Douglas College. She worked for many years at B.C.I.T. Daycare caring for the children of the students attending the technical institute of B.C.I.T. She was born and raised in Kamloops, with Italian immigrant parents, therefore she also speaks Italian. She loves working with children and believes in the quote that “children may forget what you say but, they will never forget how you made them feel.” She is grateful to be working with the children in the After School Program, and hopes to make their time with us memorable.
Livia Spooner-Reese, Teacher School Age Program
Livia was born in Kamloops, but went to boarding school on Victoria island. She has been interested in early childhood development all of her life, and has done a lot of babysitting in her earlier years. She has also been interested in pursuing a career as an ECE or Social Worker. Livia has taken the ‘Responsible Adult’ course and plans to further her education in the fields that will help with her ability to work effectively with children. She is looking forward to working with all the children at Juniper Early Learning Center and helping in their development by modeling, to each child, the important characteristics of love, compassion, respect and patience.