Catherine M. Wallace

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

Catherine M. Wallace

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Acorn Village Forest School


Acorns Preschool Program

Tracy received her BA in social science from the University of California, Irvine and finished up her masters in the Child Development department at California State University, Long Beach.  She has completed her Waldorf teacher training through the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC) and the Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training through the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers. Through her continuing education and in the readings of several educational theorists such as Alfie Kohn, Bev Bos, Rudolph Steiner, and Thomas Gordon; Tracy has developed a philosophy for her teaching and her school that is not commonly found.  She is married and has three sons.  She moved to Los Olivos in July 2011 and soon after fell in love with the valley.  She started Acorn Cottage/Village after her second child was born.  When not at Village, she can be found playing baseball in her front yard, hiking the trails in the valley, roaming the river, or gardening.


Michelle Kaspers

Lead Teacher,

Saplings Kindergarten Program 

Michelle is excited to be a part of the forest school and community of Acorn Village.. She has completed her Masters Degree in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies through a cohort of universities in England, Norway, and Germany. Forest schools capture her interest as she continues to discover the holistic ways in which nature nurtures a child’s development. For the past two years, Michelle has been living in Germany and enjoying her work with young children in the outdoors. These experiences include being a substitute teacher at a forest kindergarten, facilitating a forest project for a kindergarten, and assisting an outdoor adventure garden for children of a community center. Michelle originally comes from San Diego and also has a Bachelors Degree in Health and Human Sciences with a focus on wellness. In her free time, Michelle likes to adventure outdoors whether it be hiking and biking, surfing and swimming, cooking and playing instruments at a campfire, gardening and gathering, or practicing yoga and crafting.

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PHILIPp kaspers

Lead Teacher, 

Woodpeckers Prechool Program

Philipp has his origins in Germany and loves to be outdoors and around young children. As a swimming instructor and forest school assistant teacher in Germany, he has worked in the field of early education for the last 12 years. Philipp has a Bachelor degree in „Sports and Health in Therapy and Prevention“  and a Master degree in "Adventure and Experiential Education“. During his studies, he had the opportunity to explore a semester of "Outdoor Pursuits“ in New Zealand and a semester of "Transcultural European Outdoor Studies“ in England.


From 2015-2018 he established and led his own adventure and nature based outdoor group for a public preschool in Germany. In his free time you can find Philipp on his bike, hiking in the mountains, or in front of a cooking stove.



Assistant Teacher

Acorns Preschool Program

Brenda was raised on the Central Coast of California, Mom ran a daycare for the better part of 35 years and Dad worked and continues to work in the agriculture business. The trials and tribulations of being raised in that child care environment would ultimately prove to be an invaluable apprenticeship. Guiding children would turn out to be a reoccurring theme in her life from early babysitting ventures, working at the YMCA as a teacher for the afterschool and summer programs, eventually becoming a Mom and currently as an assistant teacher at the Acorn Village. As a teenager Brenda had grand dreams of traveling the world and living a life of luxury. Throughout her 20’s while traveling the world with her partner in crime Jimmy, she found herself living a version of her teenage dream. Even though the life of luxury was replaced with life on a “shoe string” the experiences were real, vivid and life altering. Some of these moments involved experiences with children that highlighted the bond between family, community and how a child interacts with its surroundings. Fast forward to having her own child, feeling overwhelmed and underprepared she became dedicated to reading, reflecting and listening to as much information as possible about those child development ideas that most aligned with her own inner instincts. She realized early on in parenthood that community was going to play a vital role in her child’s development. It was from within that search for a community that prioritized children’s needs that she found the Acorn Village. In her free time Brenda most enjoys creating art and spending time at the beach with her husband Jimmy, son Owen, who is a golden acorn and their dog Lola.

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Assistant Teacher

Saplings Kindergarten Program

Juliette Lefèvre is devoted to the study and the offering of innovative early education to preschool children.  Juliette loves to create environments where children’s unique talents can emerge and thrive and establish a foundation for the rest of their lives.  She earned her degree with honors at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, followed by her certification in Early Childhood Pedagogy at the Montessori Centre International.  After moving to Santa Barbara, she joined Sunrise Montessori School, and, when her son was born, embraced her dream starting her own early education program, Sunflower Children Montessori at her home, with a focus on nature and outdoor play.  After six years, and volunteering with Wilderness Youth Project’s preschool group, this program evolved to become Earth & Sky Nature School, a 100% outdoor nature connection experience for little ones. She is particularly attuned to the highly sensitive child.


Juliette’s love of nature, art and the freedom of spirit bring joy to all the children who work with her. Juliette is truly delighted to be a part of the wonderful heart-filled team at Acorn Village Forest School and is honored to share her experiences, gifts and lifelong love of learning in such a breathtakingly beautiful environment.  She feels thankful to be a part of the rich experience of Santa Ynez’s Valley Acorn Village.



Assistant Teacher,

Saplings Kindergarten Program

Tara Trujillo is a native of the Central Coast and has worked in public education for over 10 years. She is nearly finished as a student at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California in Northridge. Her love for Waldorf Education has branched into formal training in Werbeck singing through the School of Uncovering the Voice. She has studied at and worked at Acorn Village before, and continues to be a student of many subjects, including Mediation through Non-Violent Communication. Tara earned her BA in Psychology from Chapman University and is currently working toward her degree in Early Childhood Education at Allan Hancock College.


In her spare time, Tara practices Transcendental Meditation and the martial art of Aikido, while running part-time businesses in the fields of dog training and hospitality. She loves to play and sing, especially with her 4 year-old son Tucker, who is in the Acorns class.



Assistant Teacher

Woodpeckers Preschool Program

Sarah joined Acorn Village in the Woodpecker class in 2019.  Together she and Phillip guide our newest preschool class of Acorn Village on thrilling adventures through song, craft and play. Sarah's professional forest school experience began in Jan of 2019 as an apprentice mentor with Outside Now! in San Luis Obispo, Ca but she has been hiking and crafting in the great outdoors for many moons. Sarah received her 200hr yoga teacher training certificate in 2014 and found her niche working with women in the birth community through prenatal/postnatal and healing yoga sessions.  She is an avid barefoot hiker in the hills surrounding her home which is where you'll typically find her on the weekends. She is a mother to 3 , Dylan, June and Lauren, who is a Golden Acorn this year, and will celebrate 18 years of marriage to her high school sweetheart, Darren, this summer.  When she's not tromping around the bush with your children, she's tending her medicinal garden, singing in the kitchen or losing herself in a good book.  Sarah is thrilled to be attending the Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training in Santa Barbara soon.

Tel: 714-606-2706