A team of Nature Mediators and Experts

We believe in the power of nature to raise happy kids

The Nature Mediators are responsible for passing on the virus of love for nature to children, families and schools, on a weekly basis, rain or shine, in Beatripark. They are assigned an age-group over the long-term. They are trained, and have experience in positive education and education through nature. They will be inspiring nature guides for Naya Nature students. Securing, arousing curiosity, catching nature’s wonder, assisting, challenging: they master the way to create conditions of time and space for a meaningful nature experience. At the end of the year, they will appreciate each child’s progress in connecting to his/her own nature. 

Exciting mission, isn’t it?

All sessions are led in English. Nature Mediators speak at least a second language: French, Dutch, or Spanish. Once a month, experts will lead the session, as scheduled in the enrichment programme. 

Enthusiasm is a resource that increases as you use it

André Stern

Meet our Nature Mediators

Claire Bano Devautour

Education Counsellor

Master in Counselling and Mediation in Education – Certificate in early childhood education – 15 Years of Experience working with children.

It makes me hopeful and incredibly happy to see children enjoy being in nature.

From: France. Speaks: French, English, Dutch, Spanish and Tamil.

Taking part in the development of Naya Nature makes me immensely happy. It gives me the opportunity to work towards the accomplishment of two of my most important life-objectives: 1. Develop, use and spread the methods of positive education. 2. Create awareness and engagement for nature and its preservation. I have always felt I belong on the field, along with children and their families. My background is that of a teacher, an educator and an education counselor. I worked for the Eco-schools program in France and contributed to developing an eco-center in India. I am addicted to fresh air and green spaces. Naya Nature makes me hopeful for the future.

Mónica Cruz

Nature guide and biologist at Nature Walks and Hortus Botanicus, master in ethology.

 

I want children to discover how much joy and energy you get just from putting your hands in soil.

From: Angola, Portugal.      Speaks: English, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Spanish.

I was born in Angola. As a child, I would spend hours in our backyard or running through the woods, where magical creatures lived. I will never forget our family camping trips, the feeling of falling asleep to the sound of the sea and waking up to discover an army of giant crabs crawling in front of our tents! Looking back now, I can say my interest in nature arose from those moments of close contact with nature. I have children of my own and I am committed to making sure they have as much contact with nature as possible while they grow up. I believe that feeling at home in nature will increase their chances of being happy adults one day.

Claudia Carter

Positive communication & language Trainer for kids and adults at Ludica. 

I want to make children feel how magical connection to nature can be.

From: Chili.     Speaks: English, Spanish, French and Dutch.

Hoi, my name is Claudia and I was born in Santiago de Chile. As a kid, I spent all my vacations at a little farm where the « singing » chickens wake you up in the morning, where you can just go to the field and directly pick from the Earth whatever you want to eat whenever you are a little hungry… and where you can see a million stars sky at night. As a nature mediator, I try and foster discovery for kids through play and experience, guiding them to respect their feelings and those of others. I want to help them feel the same direct connection to the magic of nature, as the one I had when I was a little girl.

Natacha Benoit

Our Mediator Assistant

My moto: Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never let you down. (Frank Lloyd Wright)

From: Italy.     Speaks: Italian, English, and French.

I met the magic world of Naya thanks to Aurelia, founder and director of Naya Nature! I’m a babysitter who grew up on a horse farm in the Italian countryside. I worked for a few years in a riding school, teaching children to ride and to share all their amazing emotions with animals. Helping children play, discover and love nature is a mission that we should carry out every day.

Meet our Experts

Naya Nature is proud to provide a top-notch enrichment programme, which gives children and parents the opportunity to meet inspiring experts on a monthly-basis. Our Experts take action in their field of qualification which can be as diverse as arts, communication, botany, zoology, acting, biology, etc. The goal is to help children build self-confidence and empathy so they become aware and happy of their place in the world. Through imaginative play and fun experiments, the Experts will open their world to them and help them reflect. Not only will they create memorable outdoor moments for your children, they will also help them build their own strong sense of self. Expect sparkles in those little eyes!

All sessions are led in English. The enrichment programme takes place once a month and vary per season. Check update here.

Judith Duijn

Coach at Kidstime Coaching and baby sign teacher at Gebarenstem. 

Playing freely in contact with nature helps children stimulate their creativity.

From: the Netherlands. Speaks: Dutch, English and French.

As a coach, my work is to focus on communication with and between children. The younger children understand who they are and learn to express their thoughts and feelings, the greater the chance that they will always find their balance in daily life. They will be able to use their qualities and talents whenever they face challenges. Playing freely in contact with nature helps them in their development. In the meantime, they learn to respect nature because it is part of their own nature. Naya Nature makes this happen for children in the city and I’m glad to be a part of their programme.

Suzanne Oommen

Urban agriculturalist, vermiculturist, garden teacher and member of urban farming collective at Cityplot.org, Amsterdam.

Children enjoy growing food and learning about plants, insects and soil so we should give them the opportunity to do that!

From Kerala. Speaks English, Malayalam, Tamil, Dutch, German, Hindi

Born in India, I grew up surrounded by the intensive cultivation practised in Kerala kitchen gardens and soaked up the interdependencies inherent in holistic, organic agriculture. In Toronto, I rediscovered my calling by growing vegetables in the backyard, learning about composting, and working in the farmers’ markets. I trained with Patrick Whitefield in permaculture and now experiment with self-sufficiency in my allotment garden.

Saskia Watts

Co-founder & Mover at Memotion. Dance Scientist. Trainee Dance Therapist.

I want children to experience how nature can inspire their personal movement.

From: United Kingdom/Netherlands. Speaks: English, Dutch.

I have always danced. I believe that movement is a form of expression and can provide a new way to communicate with others. At the same time, becoming aware of how we move, what we like, or what influences us, teaches us more about ourselves and others. Moving in nature, and being inspired by what is around us, not only sparks creativity, but is also allows us to become more aware of the environment around us, and our relationship with it.

Athina Liakopoulou

Co-founder & Mover at Memotion. Child Psychologist.

I want children to dance with all the possibilities that are available around them.

From Greece. Speaks Greek, English.

I grew up in Greece, but I’ve called the Netherlands my home for eight years. In Amsterdam, I work with children as a child psychologist and I always make sure I have time to dance. My mission is to share with the world what dance can bring about: how it can change your perspective, how you view others and yourself and how you approach life in general. I believe that movement is a powerful language that is much stronger than words. With children, movement is a fun and instant experience that always makes them smile. I believe it opens so many possibilities for them and I always love it when we can share a dance.

Brigitta Huigsloot

Pedagogue at Rozen Rood Natuur Activiteiten with a bachelor of Education and Nature Mediator with a Spirits of Nature certificate

By using all of their senses in nature, children can become more aware of their inner strength.

From: The Netherlands. Speaks: English, Dutch.

I have more than 25 years of experience working with young people and am a specialist in working with highly sensitive children. I love to spend time with children in nature and increase their awareness of the influence of nature through mindfulness. Experiences in nature help children to learn to feeling grounded and get to know each other better, enabling them to make better choices at school, in their families and in society. As a nature educator, I guide children in their relationship with nature and empower them to face life’s challenges.

Natacha Bonnet

Director of theatre Company, Actress, and former primary school teacher.  Graduate in Performing Arts and trained at Conservatoire Royal de Mons, Belgium.

I like to make children travel to the most remote countries of their imagination.

From France. Speaks French, English, Dutch and German

I am a storyteller for the little ones and I play as an actress in a French puppet theatre. I am commited to pass on dreams and enthusiasm to the children. I like to reconnect with the dormant child in me to make children travel to the most remote countries of their imagination!

Wies Teepe

Nature guide at Eten uit de natuur, biologist, philosophy and yoga teacher.

Nature arises curiousity in children, and stimulates all kinds of growth, physically and mentally.​

From: The Netherlands. Speaks: English, Dutch, French and German.

I am a nature guide and nature-based education teacher for children at Eten uit de Natuur. I used to teach biology in Zimbabwe and also worked for seven years at the British School in The Hague. Even when conditions are not at best, I believe there are always new discoveries, adventures and treasures to be found in nature. When outdoors, I feel we are truly part of nature, making us connected to all living beings in a safe and positive way. Getting familiar with plants and animals gives a sensation of strength. Our resilience and physical possibilities increase. We gain self-confidence. And, most important: it is fun!  

Wies is one of our Nature Mediators and also edible food Expert.
Laurence Haffmans

Certified mindfulness instructor for children: E. Snel’s methodology ‘Sitting Still Like a Frog – Mindfulness Matters!’.  Sophrologist-Relaxologist at Sophrosan.

I believe we can learn from watching the frog sitting still and breathing in nature.

From:  France. Speaks: French, Dutch and English.

Many children nowadays struggle to focus. They do not sleep well and worry. They also find it difficult to relax, or to simply switch off. They spend a lot of time online. They are over-stimulated. Learning to be in the now, without thinking,  experiencing with their five senses, is the key to happiness. What better place than nature to do so? It’s a pleasure for me to contribute to Naya Nature’s programme with mindfulness.

Vincent Bonnet

Director and theatre teacher at Monsieur Théâtre, Founder of the theatre company Les Cochons de l’Espace, trained at Cours Florent, Paris and Conservatoire Royal de Mons, Belgium.

Learning to respect one's partners, as well as the audience, is learning to respect oneself.

From France. Speaks French, English and Dutch.

I staged more than thirty shows for amateur adults, including plays by Jean Genet (Les Bonnes), Labiche (La Perle de la Canebière), Jean-Paul Sartre (Huis Clos), etc. Passionate about theater education, I have been teaching for 15 years in primary schools, secondary schools, high schools, universities and companies. I now give drama classes for children, teenagers and adults at “L’Ecole de Français” in Amsterdam.

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