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OUR TEAM

Silvia Anderson, MA

Founder/Director

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Silvia has 21 years of hands-on child development experience at various levels of the field, ranging from professor to program manager. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in child development.

 

A few highlights in Silvia's professional career include:

  • Over 13 years teaching infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children.   

  • Manager of Sacramento County's  Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

  • Coach/assessor/evaluator of early learning programs across California, mentor to teachers, administrators, and owners of early learning programs.

  • Adjunct professor at Sac City College, an instructor at California State University, Sacramento, and UC Davis Extension.

  • Founder and director of Nature's Lab, an all-outdoor early learning program.

 

Personal Background
Silvia is an avid outdoor lover. You can find her spending time with her husband and son while gardening, hiking in the Sierras, and lovingly playing with our pets (2 dogs, 2 cats, chickens, ducks,  rabbits, guinea pigs, and fishes, hahaha). Raised in Colombia, she loves to bring communities from various backgrounds together and help others learn about the benefits of outdoor play, the magic of science,  technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Silvia loves being a wife and mama. She is a wonderful resource for child development and activities to ensure all of Nature's Lab families will flourish. 

 

A few of Silvia's certifications include: 

  • Certified Infant/Toddler/Pre-K CLASS coach and assessor

  • Certified "My Teaching Partner" Coach

  • Certified MMCI Trainer for Teachers

  • Certified Environmental Rating Scales Observer (ITERS-ECERS-FCCERS)- Anchor level

  • Trainer for ASQ 3 & ASE-SE 2

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Johnathon Anderson, PhD

Adviser

Johnathon is Silvia's husband and scientific adviser. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, with 12 years of extensive biomedical research expertise. His research group focuses on developing stem cell-based therapies for neurological disorders and inflammation-associated diseases.

Johnathon is also a co-founder of a startup focused on developing novel stem cell-based drugs. He has a passion for teaching science and feels grateful to call northern California home, with all of its natural beauty. Silvia and Luke are his world and he enthusiastically helped design and build Nature's Lab School. 

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Luke Anderson

Inspiration

Luke loves traveling, water play, and caring for the family pets (our two dogs, two cats, ducks, fish, bunnies, and our ever-growing flock of chickens, hahaha ) Luke is bilingual in Spanish and English and loves listening to other languages and sharing his love for the outdoors, books, and music with other children. 

He has personally tested each area at Nature's Lab and help make the environment engaging, and challenging enough for all ages. 

Gabriela Gomez-Baranda

Preschool Lead Teacher

Gabriela has 12+ years’ experience in Child Development on various levels: student teacher’s mentor, parent volunteer, student-teacher, and instructional assistant.  Earned an associate degree in Early Childhood Education from American River College, a Bachelor’s in Child Development, and a Minor Degree in Deaf Studies from Sacramento State University.

 

Gabriela has been married for 22+ years and has 3 children, Isabel, Santiago, and Ximena, PLUS their three dogs, and five cats! Her interest in working with children began while volunteering in her son’s preschool classroom. She enrolled in two Early Childhood classes, and since then has dedicated her time to obtain the education and knowledge necessary to become a wonderful teacher and advocate for young children. Gabriela has found herself deeply involved in working to ensure children have access to the best education possible, regardless of their cultural background, language, or physical limitations – all within a nurturing focus to the overall growth of children. As her father Pablo used to say, “one should never stop learning, and never stop growing as an individual and member of a community”.

 

Gabriela is very excited to be a part of the Nature’s Lab community and excited to support children’s growth and help develop rich opportunities for learning and exploration for all.  

Sharon Lesso

Infant-Toddler Lead Teacher

Teacher Sharon earned a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Sacramento State University and prior to Nature's Lab volunteered at the Children's Museum and at her younger brother’s elementary school.

 

Teacher Sharon was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, where she grew up learning English as her second language. Throughout her education, she was surrounded by dedicated and loving teachers that marked her life in a positive way and inspired her to become a teacher herself. Her love for education, children, and her positive mindset encouraged her to pursue a career in education. 

 

“Amo educar porque es la manera mas bella de cambiar la vida de los pequeños que van a cambiar el mundo en el futuro”  Sharon L.

 

“I love education because it’s the most beautiful way to change the life of our little ones who will in return change the world in the future” Sharon L.

Teacher Sharon is part of a family of five. Her mom Ivon, which is Sharon’s middle name. Her dad Ernesto, her older brother Raul, and his younger brother Jesus. In addition, she has always enjoyed having pets and loves her sweet, loving dog, Cookie.


 

Blanca Montoya Maldonado

Teacher Assistant

Teacher Blanca is a passionate teacher born in Nayarit, Mexico who supports our bilingual program with her love to help children become bilingual. Blanca has been married for 31 years to her husband Hector and together they have three lovely children: Lissete, Xochitl, and Hector.  Teacher Blanca has a beautiful grandson with whom she has loves to spend her free time and shared her love for education and hands-on activities.

Ever since Blanca arrived in the United States, she has spent her days with children in various capacities, which included volunteering at her children’s schools for several years. As her children grew, Blanca’s passion for education, specifically in the early remained, and she decided to study Child Development.

 

Today, Blanca has a Teacher permit and continues to pursue her educational career as a teacher.

We love having Teacher Blanquita loving and caring for the kids in our Buhos classroom and appreciate her wonderful sense of teamwork and responsibility.

Angelica Viveros

Teacher

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Teacher Angelica has earned an Associates' degree in Early Childhood Education and she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development at Sacramento State. Her love and interest for teaching children began while in primary school as she watched her loving teachers make a positive impact in her life. This impact continued into high school when she decided to take her first Child Development course, and it has motivated her to be loving, caring, hands-on teacehr she is now. 

 

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and fiance. Angelica has a dog and 2 cats. She’s originally from Redding, CA, and has lived in Sacramento for 3 years now. She spends most weekends hiking, camping near the lake, kayaking, and fishing with her family.

 

Teacher Angelica is very excited to be a part of the Nature Labs team and looking forward to watching the children grow, create friendships and make memories.

Elsa Becker Galvis

Infant Toddler Teacher Assistant

.... Info coming soon

Nathalia Gonzalez

Nutrition Specialist

The maker of all our delicious organic, homemade meals

.... Info coming soon

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