Meet The Team

Vanessa and Ryan Lavigne



We are very proud to welcome you to our school, located in the beautiful rural village of Ayampe situated in a valley surrounded by ocean, cloud forest and river. Nature is therefore incorporated into our school and the children are encouraged to spend time outside as much as possible.


Our open classrooms inspire students to connect with their environment, chase adventure, and pursue their passions. It’s a time for fun, laughter, exploration and inquiry while building relationships, expressing creativity and getting dirty.


Mindfulness is another  huge component of the school, the children are exposed to yoga, breathing exercies; all helping to teach the children to deal with their emotions, stress and educating them about their bodies and healthy life choices.  


Roots and Wings opened in 2018 and each year we are growing and improving. We have great plans for the future. 

Miriam Drahn

 Kinder Teacher 

My name is Miriam and I am so happy to be apart of the Roots and Wings team. I grew up on a tiny island off the coast of Washington state. On the island I was lucky enough to attend an alternative school that supported me in finding my unique offering to the world. My schooling also allowed me to experience the magic of nature everyday and helped me develop a deep respect and love for all life. Knowing personally the potential impact of education, I chose to become a teacher. 

   I now have my degree in Early Childhood Education from a Buddhist inspired university in the states, called Naropa. Since studying at Naropa, I have taught in schools with varying philosophies ranging from Waldorf to Montessori. 

    My approach to teaching is founded on love for the child's authentic being. I value the child's voice, opinion, and unique way of learning. I see my role as a teacher as to support and be present with my students as they discover themselves and their world. I am here to learn along side them and I am here to model self respect, respect for others, and respect for the earth. Thank you for welcoming me into the Roots and Wings family, I look forward to the adventures and learning ahead.   

Julia Borders

Julia Borders is our freshest addition to the team at Ayampe Roots & Wings. Her intrigue with forest schooling began while working with a “Forest & Farm” camp in North Carolina, USA. As she continued through graduate school, she worked with a research forest to help establish a pilot Forest School in Louisville, KY, USA. It was one of the first of its kind in the southeastern US.

Julia centers her teaching philosophy in respect for every child’s person and support for the learning process. She works to shift the focus from “teacher” to “guide” as a more helpful way of learning. She believes this shift empowers students and encourages them to build on their own knowledge, generating organic connections between theory and practice. 

Julia completed her Master of the Arts in Social Responsibility and a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability from the United States. She is a 500 RYS ® Vinyasa Yoga Instructor, and likes to spend time playing in the waves near her own home close to the Gulf of Mexico. She is excited to spend this next season learning what it takes to establish a forest school, improving her Spanish, and learning how to surf. 

Primary Teacher

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Contact Us

Tel: (593) 95 976 9346



Roots and Wings

Ayampe, Manabi, Ecuador