Meet The Team
Vanessa and Ryan Lavigne
Vanessa and Ryan are originally from Canada but left in 2009 in search of adventure and freedom. They found that in Ayampe. They have successfully run a Spanish, Surf and Yoga school since 2010. When their children were born their lives dramatically change. Like many parents, from early on, education was always on their minds. Vanessa begin an extensive journey thru education and many of its forms. She homeschooled her children for 2 years and in that time developed her own curriculum based on several methodologies its core foundation is in a whole education that taught not just to the mind but to the body and spirit.
Since 2013 Vanessa has been leading Yoga teacher training and wanted to bring that into her children's education. She is 200-ERYT, Ayurveda Level One and Reiki Practitioner as well as certified Thai Massage Therapist. Vanessa studied Psychology in University with a Minor in History.
As a child Ryan didn't fit into the traditional education system and struggled through out. He wanted to give his children an education that didn't label them and put them in a box. He loves sport and sees the benefits of teaching sports to children. He runs the surf portion of the school. He loves being outside and can also find a project to work on with his children.
Roots and Wings was created out of the desire to provide their children with a whole education; to bring families and communities together with the goal of providing a safe, nurturing and individualist education. Roots and Wings was established in 2018 and is growing stronger every year.
Nathan is a recent grad from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He majored in
Cognitive Science with a minor in Early Childhood Education where he was exposed to the progressive
educational philosophies of Reggio Emilia, Montessori, and John Dewey. He served as a director for Troy
Camp, a program that brings 200 children from the inner-city of Los Angeles into the San Bernadino
Mountains. He believes in the power of nature as a tool for discovery in order to fuel children’s curiosity
about the natural world. He also served as a research assistant in the Social Emotions Lab through the
USC Brain and Creativity Institute where he studied the development of purpose in life in adolescents
through story telling. In general, his philosophy about education is centered around education of the
whole person and believes that schools should be responsible for not only teaching hard skills such as
math, English, and science, but also empathy, self-awareness, curiosity, and creativity. In his free time,
he enjoys playing the guitar and is an avid surfer. The only thing he loves more than surfing is Hispanic
culture, as he has travelled to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Spain, and makes yearly road trips to surf the
waves of Mexico. He is so excited and grateful to spend the next season in Ayampe and is looking
forward to working with some awesome kiddos!
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.