ABOUT

Well Wilderness Kids Therapeutic Nature Center offers inclusive programs for children of all ages & abilities with the mission of supporting child development through sensory & social emotional experiences in a nature-based setting.  We are committed to serving as guardians of play for all children.

 

The program is staffed by a highly experienced team of pediatric professionals including Early Childhood Educators, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, & Music Therapists.  We also have a Social Worker, Mindfulness Facilitator, & Licensed Pediatrician that supports our team & families.

 

Programs include Playgroups for All Ages & Abilities, Private Therapies, Seasonal Camps, Mindfulness Programs, Field Trips, Birthday Parties, After-School NaturePlay, Parent/Child Workshops, Professional Seminars & Open Nature Play Hour. 

 

We also offer a Wellness Market in partnership with local farmers & makers that offers high quality foods & products that nourish the body for optimal health.

Our Early Childhood Therapeutic NaturePlay Programs run Sept – May rain or shine!

nature TEAM

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Stephanie Novacek

PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPIST & MINDFULNESS ALLY

DIRECTOR OF NATUREPLAY
Nature Element: Feathers

Stephanie graduated from Creighton University Physical Therapy Program in May 2001 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Her experience in pediatrics has ranged from many pediatric settings including Early Intervention, schools, & outpatient hospital services.  In 2015, she shifted to private therapy practice to focus on incorporation of holistic wellness care for mamas & children. The opening of Well Wilderness Kids Therapeutic Nature Center shortly followed as her vision to create a space for children of all ages & abilities in a nature-based setting came to light. She has studied the science behind the benefits of nature on the sensory system, immune system & overall brain development in children which has fueled her passion to create an inclusive nature center for families & her community.

“Birds of a feather flock together. Feathers come in all shapes, sizes & colors. They identify each bird as part of a group yet also differentiate them as individuals. When feathers are found on the ground, they are often approached with a sense of wonder & kept as a treasure to its finder. There is a story that comes along with each feather…a journey that takes them to the place where the feather landed. And most importantly, feathers serve a vital purpose in providing insulation, protection & flight. Like feathers, each child has an identity that provides them a sense of belonging to a group yet makes them each unique. Every child has a story, a journey that they can be guided on by Learning Allies who support & nurture them along the way. Children provide us with warmth, strength & navigation throughout life.  If only we approach them with a sense of wonder, we will come to see their value like that of a treasured feather."

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Kate Robson

EARLY CHILDHOOD & ELEMENTARY EDUCATOR & MINDFULNESS ALLY

LEAD KINDERPLAY ALLY & NATURE TEAM LEADER
Nature Element: Roots

Kate has been working with children for 15 years in many diverse settings. She received a certification in Early Years Practices from Northampton College, England, in 2008. While working at a Pre-Preparatory School, she earned a degree in Early Years and Education, as well as a certification as a Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator. Since moving to the United States, Kate has extended her knowledge in Children’s Mindfulness Yoga practices. Kate teaches Yoga and Meditation to children with Emotional Behavior Disorders to alleviate stress and help with anxiety.


“I have a fascination with old tree roots because to me they signify life. From the moment a child is born, they are growing and developing, anchoring their roots and laying down the foundations for their future. I feel passionate about a child’s happiness and emotional well being. Just like a tree, if we help nurture the roots the tree will grow and succeed.”


“Trust the magic of new beginnings” – Meister Eckhart

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Taylor Dany

PEDIATRIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT & MINDFULNESS ALLY

LEAD PRESCHOOLPLAY & ENRICHMENT PROGRAM ALLY
Nature Element: WATER

Taylor graduated from State College of Florida’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program in 2017. Since that time, she has worked at an outpatient/school-based setting in addition to the opportunity to teach Special Education while in Florida.  Taylor moved back to the Kansas City area in 2019 where she has served as a paraprofessional at a center for children diagnosed with Autism. Her therapy background as an Occupational Therapy Assistant allows her to integrate sensory-based play experiences in a child's natural environment.  Her passion for connecting children with nature has her beyond excited to share her blended role as a therapist, teacher, and caregiver with the children & families at Well Wilderness Kids.

“I have always been drawn to water since I was a little girl. I grew up going to the beach and will always be the first one to jump into the waves! One of my husband and I’s hobbies is to find creeks in the area to go explore with our dog. Being near water is my happy place. It came to fruition while I was in the pool with a young boy with Cerebral Palsy that I nanny, that someone with such limited movement could feel so weightless, free to move in the water, independent and exhibiting pure joy. That is why I believe water to be the most powerful element in nature.”

“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time."
― Leonardo da Vinci

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Kati Dreiman

PEDIATRIC SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST & MINDFULNESS ALLY

LEAD ENRICHMENT PROGRAM ALLY
Nature Element: SKY

Kati is a native of Springfield, MO, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication Disorders from Truman State University, and is a speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). During her career, Kati has worked in school-based early childhood special education programs in both Missouri and Kansas, and she has worked with families and children from birth-age 5 by providing in-home and community based therapy services.  She is currently completing her children’s yoga teacher certification training.  Mindfulness and yoga practice are an important part of Kati’s life, and she is excited to share this passion and her experience with families to help their children become compassionate and confident communicators.  Nature-based settings provide a unique opportunity to inspire creativity, build relationships, and foster a wide variety of important developmental and communication skills for children.


Kati is a yoga enthusiast, a baseball fan, an aspiring gardener, a lake lover and avid reader. Kati, her husband, Jeff, and their two sons enjoy traveling and taking part in mission and outreach opportunities, both here and abroad.

"The sky is an open and infinite expanse of possibilities.  The night sky brings us the phases of the moon and the changing constellations of the seasons.  A bright sunny calm of a blue sky day can transform to the unpredictable energy of an impending spring storm.  From rainbows to snowstorms, sunrises to sunsets – what we see in each sky is unique and constantly changing.  I look forward to joining children and families on their journey and to support them in appreciation and celebration for each moment along the way." 

 

"Only from the heart can you touch the sky” ~ Rumi

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Kristi Hanson

BOARD-CERTIFIED MUSIC THERAPIST

LEAD ENRICHMENT PROGRAM ALLY
Nature Element: TREE TRUNKS

Kristi is a Board-Certified Music Therapist and creator of Stepping Stones KC. Kristi graduated from The University of Kansas with a degree in Music Therapy, and an emphasis in early childhood development. While at KU, she worked as a preschool teacher and also received a minor in Psychology, and Certifications in Research and Service Learning! Kristi has worked with young children in home, classroom, and community settings and has over 10 years of experience working with children of all ages with a wide variety of different needs! She has experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Delays, Down Syndrome, Emotional/ Behavioral Disorders, Attachment Disorders, and more.

 

"I am passionate about helping children reach their goals and supporting families, without boundaries!  I feel at-home in nature and love to share that passion for adventure and exploration! I love climbing trees to gain a different perspective and listening to the music that the wind and the trees create. Tree trunks represent stability, adventure, and, most importantly, growth. This is a perspective that I carry into my music sessions, allowing children to experiment, grow, and explore music naturally!"

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Melissa Lee

 KINDERPLAY ASSISTANT LEARNING ALLY
Nature Element: 

Melissa Lee

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Lisa McNally

PRESCHOOLPLAY ASSISTANT LEARNING ALLY
Nature Element:

Lisa McNally

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Hannah Quinn

PRESCHOOLPLAY ASSISTANT LEARNING ALLY
Nature Element: 

Hannah Quinn

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Lindsey Evans

TODDLERPLAY ASSISTANT LEARNING ALLY
Nature Element: 

Lindsey Evans

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Carri Kasick

EARLY INTERVENTIONIST/SPECIAL EDUCATOR & MINDFULNESS ALLY
Nature Element: lEAVES

Carri studied at Iowa State University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies with an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teaching license. She continued in Early Intervention (EI) as an Early Childhood Special Educator,Infant/Toddler Home Interventionist, Early Interventionist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, ECSE/Home-bound Educator, and ECSE Autism Educator. She gained an additional knowledge with a Master’s in Special Education/Autism. She dedicated her profession in the direction of Autism as ECSE/Autism Educator and currently has focused on her private business, CarriKasick,LLC (CKLLC). She is Responding Early for All Children (REACH) and Families with early development & learning.

 

"Leaves come to fruition through strong bonds & roots. My early intervention is based upon the connections I develop with the whole family. My journey is naturally occurring, intentionally observing, and simply put, alive and present…the leaves begin to appear.
My therapeutic approaches guide and foster strength in the most delicate times of changes. As the seasons change….the leaves are evolving, understanding the elements, and are dedicated to successfully being present at the end of each branch. The dynamic relationship between mother nature and the success of a bountiful view of leaves embodies my early intervention philosophy with families. I am dedicated to this similar journey with families. I listen to families and diligently focus on how I can rhythmically move children through with confidence and engagement with their environment."​

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Dr. Carissa Stanton

HOLISTIC PEDIATRICIAN

Nature Element: SOIL

Carissa Stanton, MD is a holistic pediatrician that opened her own virtual and home-visit based direct pediatric care practice called Mindful Pediatrics in 2020. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Kansas State University, Medical Degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, completed her pediatrics residency at University of Kansas Medical Center, and online Pediatric Integrative Medicine training from the University of Arizona. 

She is passionate about the holistic care of children. Nature is an important part of caring for a child’s mind, body, & spirit.  Her collaboration with Well Wilderness Kids is in full support of using nature to expand the wellbeing of children. 

 

"The definition of soil is “a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life”. Soil is what creates and supports life. Just like a placenta provides the elements to create a human, soil provides the elements to create plants and other life on earth. My job is to help parents cultivate the “soil” that supports and creates their child’s mind, body, spirit and environment: nutrition, microbiome, water, air, rest, relationships, etc. Plus exposure to dirt is important to a child’s health as it helps build the immune system, sensory development, and boosts mood. It’s also fun, so take your child to play in the dirt at Well Wilderness, it’s pediatrician recommended!" 

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Amy Zoe Schonhoff

MINDFULNESS ALLY FOR PARENTS & PROFESSIONALS
Nature Element: earth

Amy Zoe Schonhoff is the founder of Mindfulness in the Heartland, a venture dedicated to providing training and education in the practices and principles of mindfulness. She has been a mindfulness practitioner for over 25 years, is a qualified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through UMass Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness. She is also a trained Mindfulness Educator for grades K-12 through Mindful Schools. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Iowa & has worked for many years as a nonprofit professional. It is her intention to inspire others to live as if every moment matters.

"Earth is mother; the life-giver and sustainer. When we attend to her wisdom, life grows and flourishes. Much like the element of earth, mindfulness can provide us with fertile ground to anchor our roots—a perpetual source of strength, stability, and peace that resides within each of us."

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Moe Edmonds

LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER 

MINDFULNESS ALLY FOR PRE-TEENS/TEENS & PARENTS
Nature Element: SUNSHINE

Moe Edmonds is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, having served in many capacities, including within the foster care system, an early childhood education and social services center, a pediatric hospital and currently as a high school social worker. She is passionate about holistic mental wellness, advocacy and the empowerment of children and families. 

 

Alongside her work as a social worker, Moe is a 200-HR Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor. Over ten years ago, she was drawn to this ancient practice for its ability to guide her in grounding and providing space for connecting to her mind, body and spirit. Moe is a dedicated yogi, committed to self-inquiry, study, meditation, pranayama (breathwork), karmic action and asana (yogic postures and movement). 

 

By combining these modalities, Moe offers an inviting, trauma-informed, healing approach to getting to know oneself and connecting with the world around you.

"Every day the sun rises and sets. One constant in a sea change. It provides reassurance on days that might not go as planned, that we can close the chapter on one day and rise with the sun, a new day and new opportunities the next. Some days, the sun is covered in clouds, but yet still there, still persisting through. Some days, the sun shines bright, vibrant and powerful, a symbol of light and strength. The sunshine resonates with the light that we each carry within ourselves."

© 2019 Well Wilderness Kids

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