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My name is Magdalena Phillips.  I was born and raised in Poland and moved to Munich, Germany as a teenager.  My life took an another unexpected turn after meeting (my now husband) Charles, allowing myself to follow my heart, and move to the US in 2014.

I received my Master's in Early Childhood Education from the University of Montana.  I also hold a B.A. in Political Science from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich.  The feeling of progress and constant development is crucial for me and is foundational to my teaching philosophy.  I do not see myself as an expert having all the right answers but much rather enjoy discussions, exploring different possibilities, and learning among and about the students.  Currently I am working on my Master Naturalist Certification.

It has been my passion for years to work with children (15+ years of experience).  My own kids were my focus in the past few years, but now I am ready to dedicate my time and knowledge to other families as well.  I am an outdoor enthusiast myself and love being active outside. However, the decision to open an outdoor preschool was the outcome of my observations and assessment of children in various educational settings.   I believe that nature is the ideal learning environment to inspire curiosity, build self-confidence, and develop healthy relationships with others and the world around us.



At Ponderosa Outdoor School we provide environments in which children’s imagination, natural curiosity, free spirits, and social interactions can flourish.  We focus on meaningful, firsthand experiences that can be connected to everyday life.  Original ideas and thoughts are developed when students can explore, interact, and move freely.  In this way, children construct meaning and therefore knowledge.  Our activities are initiated by children as well as the teacher.  Whether counting carrots or making worm observations, learning happens organically and involves many disciplines without singling them out.

In order to challenge their skills, gain confidence, and to become more resilient, children need to be able to take risks.  Therefore, at our school you will see kids jumping, climbing, balancing, handling animals, etc.


Play is a fundamental part of our program.  Cognitive development, literacy or self-regulation skills are all being promoted when children are playing.  There is no better way for children to develop and improve their social competence than during play.  Play is often planned, rules are negotiated and followed, roles are carried out and conflicts solved.  During play, children are given a wonderful opportunity to practice their social and language skills while achieving physical fitness and performing executive functions.


Providing plenty of opportunities for children to explore their environment, allowing rough-and-tumble play with peers, engaging children in pretend play are all fun activities with high learning value.

Swinging in Rubber Tire
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