Small Wonders Team of Experts

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Ellen Doris, Ed.D.
Core Faculty, Education Department, Antioch University of New England

Ellen Doris is on the faculty of the Education Department at Antioch UNiversity New England, where she works with pre-service and in-service teachers and helps grow the nature-based early childhood program. Ellen has been an early childhood and elementary teacher, and has also served as a school administrator, museum instructor, and environmental educator. Her books include, the Real Kids, Real Science series for children, and Doing What Scientists Do for teachers.


Colleen Kelley
Education Director, Hitchcock Center for the Environment

With over three decades of experience developing and running nature immersion programs for children of all ages, Colleen Kelley has become a nationally recognized expert in early childhood development. She has perfected a specific method of teaching science that is distinguished by her use of an outdoor classroom, unstructured flow learning, child-inspired emergent curriculum and inquiry-based teaching style. This includes promoting mindfulness, respect, kindness, emotional intelligence, social connection, teamwork, cooperation and self-empowerment.


Kay Lisseck
Early Learning Specialist and Consultant

Kay is an experienced early educator, early education program directors, and the former Director of the Pioneer Valley Educational Readiness Center in western Massachusetts. She has been designing and facilitating professional development for educators with a positive impact on program quality and teacher competency for over 15 years. Kay has special interests and expertise in Social-Emotional Development, Approaches to Learning, and developmentally appropriate, reflective practice. She will serve as a key advisor to the Small Wonders project and provide professional development services as part of the Small Wonders Workshop Series, Childcare/Daycare Center Mentoring and Technical Assistance Program, and the In 2019 Bloom Conference.




Ginny Sullivan
Designer, Teacher, Educator, Author

Ginny Sullivan has helped teachers develop habitats for outdoor playing and learning for over 20 years. Ginny has a BA from Stanford University, an MEd from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master of Arts in Design from the Conway School. She has done extensive research in Children’s Environments, focusing on the child’s experience in the natural world. Her photo documentation of children’s learning as a professional development tool is published in magazines and on the web. She will serve as a professional development educator for the Small Wonders workshops, sharing her expertise in designing outdoor learning environments. In Ginny’s words “The outdoors is a space in which children’s work and play spontaneously calls upon a broad range of cognitive aptitudes, including measurement, planning, problem-solving, and sequencing skills. It is also a space in which collaboration, communication, sharing, conflict resolution, and other important social skills are required and practiced.” Lens on Outdoor Learning, her latest book, reviewed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and called essential reading for all teachers, K-12, will be made available to program participants. “…a terrific resource for teachers and parents…” – Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.

Owen Wormser
Principal, Abound Landscape Design

The story of Abound Design began where Owen Wormser was born – deep in the North Woods of rural Maine. He grew up in a small town, surrounded by the profound presence of the natural world. This marked the beginning of his ever-deepening relationship with the earth and plants. Abound Design came about as a means for Owen to share that connection with others while also further cultivating it in himself. With this as his inspiration, Owen actively practices the skills and perspectives necessary to effectively weave people and the natural world back together. Owen worked in close collaboration with Hitchcock Center educators and other experts to design and build the Center’s exciting new Nature Play and Learning Places project now being installed – a highly interactive, engaging outdoor learning environment for people of all ages and abilities. The Hitchcock Center’s new outdoor classroom is now under construction and will be substantially completed by the spring of 2019 – in time to serve as an important demonstration and teaching site for the spring workshop series and In Bloom conference. Owen will play a role in both the workshop series and In Bloom conference providing important technical assistance in how to build such places on a shoe-strong budget through community engagement, recycled materials, and in-kind donations.

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