As teachers, we always try to find a balance between seeking the deeper meaning in what we are doing while at the same time keeping a fresh “beginner’s mind” that allows us to be in the moment with the children. We meet weekly to support each other’s growth, to encourage self-reflection, to integrate what we know with what we experience, and to get feedback in order to expand our awareness of our personal edges and how our teaching can improve. At the same time we are not striving to be perfect and in fact, appreciate our imperfections, as they are often our best teachers. We think it is wonderful for children to see the adults in their life working with their rough edges, continuously growing and changing.
Kristin Lhatso, MA Educational Psychology and Human Development
Founder, Executive Director and Lead Teacher
Growing up in California, dance and theatre arts played a major role in my early life. My first introduction to teaching came in my late teens when I taught dance to children ages 3-16. After attending college in California and CU Boulder, I finally found myself at home at the Naropa Institute, where I graduated in 1994. I started Snow Lion in 1995 and this school has been an incredible blessing to me. I have been delighted, stretched, enriched, opened, and humbled by my work at Snow Lion. For the life experiences and lessons that I have learned from this school, I am grateful… every single day in the classroom I feel waves of appreciation that I get to do the work I do. Every child I have taught has been a teacher for me. I really mean that.
In my spare time I love to be with my teenage children (who have taken it upon themselves to grow me into a continuously more refined and deep version of myself), garden, and dance. I have been working with more improvisational/contact dance forms over the last years, which is helping me bring many of the things I have known conceptually out of my head and down into my body. My current practice in all areas of my life is allowing whatever is naturally unfolding to emerge and deepen and to take advantage of what is, instead of trying to always force things this way and that. I am trying to go with the energetic grain more and use natural timing to allow my work to be as deep as possible… this is all in contrast to my younger years when I would use sheer force and gusto to accomplish things. I am too old for that now! But in a good way! I love how much more genuine I feel when I can relinquish (tiny bit by very tiny bit) the facade of control I used to think I actually had in my back pocket. I am inspired by growth… smitten, really.
Nicole Ann Vollmerhausen
Assistant Director/Lead Teacher
I am originally from Trenton, Michigan. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I received my Bachelors Degree in May of 2001 in the College of English Language and Literature. I have been involved in the Snow Lion community since 2001, both as a teacher and as a parent. In August 2007, I finished the Teacher Education Program at Boulder Journey School which was a joint partnership with the University of Colorado Denver where I earned my Masters Degree in Educational Psychology. Through the same program I also received my Early Childhood Education endorsement and licensure from the Colorado Department of Education. My interests include reading, meditation and most of all I enjoy spending time with my family by playing board games, hiking, reading comic books and drawing together.
Connie Aizeki, MA Educational Psychology
Snow Lion Cubs Lead Teacher
Hello! I am so looking forward to teaching the new toddler class at Snow Lion. I have spent over the last 20 years in the beautiful Boulder area, working and raising my two children who are 12 and 16. The last two years have been spent working on my teaching license and masters in Educational Psychology through a joint partnership with CU Denver and the Boulder Journey School. I came to teaching because I love to learn and I find it absolutely fascinating to watch children learning. I just love the authentic human honesty of young children and I honestly cannot imagine a better job.
When I am not teaching I try to get out and trail run or hike along all of Boulder’s magnificent open space. When I mountain bike I mostly walk my bike up trails, but I get out there, and that’s what’s important. Being outside in a natural environment brings me joy and replenishes my spirit.
I have found my children to be my best teachers in life. They have provided me times of insane joy and times of heartbreaking frustration. Interestingly both types of experience have served to teach me the same lesson. Let go and be present. When I hold on tight to needing things to go a certain way my children have been excellent teachers. When I breathe, center myself and focus on the beautiful way the moment is unfolding just as it is, my children have been excellent teachers. When I enforce someone else’s agenda and methods, my children have been excellent teachers. When I open myself to approaching challenges from a creative angle, my children have been excellent teachers. I continue to learn every single day, and my children continue to teach me. I so look forward to implementing the lessons I have learned both formally and informally in the classroom with your children. We are going to have a wonderful, laughter filled year full of songs, and stories, and laughter and discovery.
Snow Lion Teacher
I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the Snowlion teaching team this year. Originally I am from the cornfields of Iowa but have spent the last 20 years in Boulder planting my roots firmly in the rocky soil of the foothills. I live in Boulder with my husband Mark and my two lovely littles, Penny and Tilda. Penny just graduated from Snowlion and Tilda is a former Cub in her first year as a Lion.
I love to be creative, head outdoors, run, hike, bike, garden, adventure and most importantly spend time with my family. I graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts and have professionally experienced everything from landscaping and stone masonry to slinging coffee/bagels/eggs/sushi/pasta to selling eye wear and working in the Asian travel business. I am a Jackie-of-all-trades that never felt truly grounded in a career path, ironically, until I became a mother. Having children made me realize how much I want and needed to be a part of something bigger than what I had been doing.
After spending time caring for my girls, as well as caring for others’ children while I was a stay-at-home mother, I realized I wanted to be in a classroom on some level. I was fortunate to find a place at Snowlion, first in the Cubs room and now with the Lions. In that time I became lead teacher certified and began to delve deeper into Early Childhood Education and it’s importance in our children’s lives. I am looking forward to continuing to connect with the children and helping to facilitate outlets of self-discovery. I’m excited to share my creativity, energy, love and compassion with each of your children.
In 2016 I joined Snow Lion as a practicum student while completing my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Transpersonal Art Therapy. After graduating in 2017 and working with children and families at a mental health agency in Denver, I now happily return to Boulder to re-join Snow Lion.
I am passionate about the way children are supported while learning, and I have worked with a range of children, advocating for those that other adults labeled as “problematic.” I seek to lead with heart and compassion in order to connect with each child’s true essence. I love to find creative ways to meet children’s needs and find paths for them to flourish on and express themselves unabashedly. I find children to be deeply wise and I hope to do everything in my power to allow their unique wisdom to grow and change the world for the better.
As a human you might run into me on the trails, playing ultimate frisbee, or at the grocery store singing to myself under my breath about what I’m shopping for!
Rachel Flax Kaplan
I am deeply grateful to be part of the Snow Lion community. I joined it first as a newcomer to Boulder, enrolling my twin boys as Cubs and substituting when needed. With each year, I increased my time and commitments in the classroom, and it feels warm and welcome to settle into my place here.
I moved from NYC to Boulder with my husband, Dan, and twins in 2017. In New York, I earned my MS.Ed in Museum Education with K-6 and early childhood certifications from Bank Street College of Education. I was a Head Teacher at the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, a lab school in the Psychology Department at Barnard College. My primary classroom training is focused on social emotional development and separation in toddlers. The journey children go through to discover that they are independent, capable little big beings is my favorite thing to witness. It is unique to each as well as a shared experience. Observing and supporting aha moments, resilience and the figuring out of where one person ends and another begins fills me with joy.
In addition to teaching in a classroom, I have coached springboard diving for ages six to seventy-six for over two decades. Instructing, encouraging and gently nudging people to do incredible things with their bodies and minds from a bouncy fiberglass plank into the water inspires and amazes me to no end!
Some of my best childhood memories were spent at my aunt’s lake. The time in nature I had as a child gave me the experience to connect with mother earth. I have Bachelor of General Studies Degree with a concentration in Early Childhood Education and I have a wealth of experience working with young children. I am highly creative and joyful, and I believe helping young children make secure attachments will provide them the proper foundation that they will continue to build on throughout the rest of their lives.
For hobbies, I enjoy an active lifestyle, practicing yoga and natural health.
I offer experience in providing loving compassion for children. In addition, I have training in contemplative and earth-conscious models of teaching, which places an emphasis on emotional literacy and regulation. I am passionate about reflecting the most positive aspects of humanity to children by cultivating a supportive environment wherein their independence can flourish. My philosophy: The children are our future; one can make a difference in the life of a child and create a better world.
Assistant Teacher in Cubs and Snow Lion
I am so grateful and excited to be welcomed into the Snow Lion Community this year!
Moving to Boulder from Colorado Springs in 2018, I have dabbled in a lot of things from in office jobs to behind the restaurant bars and bagel counters at 5am and am thrilled to feel finally grounded in the classroom.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work with children, in some capacity. Growing up, my mom had a home daycare and then worked as a kinder assistant in the elementary school my siblings and I went to. As soon as I was able, in middle school and into high school, I went to help in the classroom and I fell in love with it. Kids have made the days worth it for me, as they constantly remind me to see the world through open eyes. Everyday they teach me authentic honesty, happiness, and genuine curiosity for the world around them and I could not think of a better way to spend my time. It fills me with absolute joy to see the gears turning and dots connecting in their minds as they discover their emotions and their own selves. I’m honored every time I get to be even a fraction of that journey.
Outside of the classroom you can find me singing whatever is stuck on a loop in my head at the time, creating new art pieces, and spending time with my incredible found family.
As much as I have already learned and loved from my time with children, I am thrilled to begin to learn even more from Snow Lion. I strive to teach with love, warmth, and passion and work to do everything in my power to find ways for children to flourish and for them to become unapologetic and grounded in their sense of self.