Natural Start Preschool

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"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as
one of the most important events in their lives."
-Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth

About Us



Natural Start Preschool At South Bellevue Community Center

The goal of Natural Start Preschool’s teachers and staff is to create a warm, nurturing learning environment that offers young children daily opportunities to explore nature and provides them with a unique, hands-on learning program designed to build a solid foundation for future school experiences. Our staff are certified in First Aid and CPR and have passed a Washington State background check. Our student/teacher ratios are typically 1:7 and never less than 1:10. 

Natural Start Preschool Teachers

2015-16 School Year


Stephanie Hoener

Preschool Director and Co-Founder

Teacher, Explorers & Junior Explorers Classrooms

Stephanie is a Naturopathic Physician specializing in pediatrics and family medicine. She has spent the last 16 years working with children and teaching families about health and nutrition. She has extensive training in childhood health and safety, and has completed additional training in early childhood education and development. Stephanie has a lifelong interest in nature and is an avid hiker, bicycler, gardener, and birdwatcher. In her spare time, she loves reading, knitting, practicing archery, cooking healthy meals, spending time with family and friends, and going for long nature walks with her son.


Jenny Chandra

Co-Lead Teacher, Explorers Classroom

Jenny is a certified Elementary Education teacher with a background in primary education. She has worked with children, as both a teacher and a nanny, for the past nine years. Jenny is passionate about age-appropriate teaching practices that meet children where they are. In her spare time, she loves to read, cook, create (especially scrapbooking, soap making, and knitting!) and spend time with her friends and family. She enjoys working in her yard, visiting bookstores, and going on as many picnics as possible. She lives in Redmond with her husband and infant son, along with a cat, dog, and a coop full of chickens. 

Victoria Remer

Co-Lead Teacher, Explorers Classroom

Victoria grew up in Michigan, where she developed an appreciation for the outdoors throughout the four seasons. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and has teaching experience from preschool up through the middle school level. This is Victoria’s third year at NSP, and when she’s not teaching preschool, she enjoys volunteering at her boys’ elementary school, hiking, traveling, gardening, and most recently started learning to play the guitar. Victoria lives in Issaquah with her husband David and sons David and Dane.



Katy Berg

Assistant Teacher, Explorers Classroom

Katy has been working with young children for a number of years, both as a teacher and nanny. She has also been a competitive jumproper for 15 years, having won both national and world championship titles. Katy has been teaching jumprope for over 6 years and recently took on the role of Assistant Coach for her jumprope team, Hot Dog USA. She has traveled nationally and internationally, hosting jumprope competitions and teaching workshops, including trips to Bermuda and Kenya where she worked with street children to run a jumprope workshop and competition. Katy is also a full-time student with hopes of helping children with cancer and becoming a radiation therapist. Katy enjoys spending time with her family and working out at the gym. Her favorite thing to do outside is to go for long walks (rain or shine!). She also enjoys hiking. Katy lives in Kirkland with her parents and 2 dogs. 


Kerry Glassburn

Co-Lead Teacher, Junior Explorers Classroom

Kerry has been working with young children in various settings for the past 13 years.  She loves spending time with preschoolers because of their curiosity and authenticity – they just say whatever is on their minds!  She grew up appreciating nature in Colorado and then moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Washington (go Huskies!), where she decided it felt like home.  She now lives in Kirkland with her husband and daughter, two cats and four chickens.  She enjoys photography, traveling, gardening, camping and reading, and enjoys sharing those passions with her students.


Meri McDougall

Co-Lead Teacher, Junior Explorers Classroom

Meri grew up in San Diego, CA and has two boys, ages 12 and 7. She and her family recently moved to Washington State, where her husband is originally from. When Meri's now 12-year-old son was diagnosed with an intellectual disability at age 18 months, she began her journey of learning about child development. She has worked as an aide in both general and special education in several school districts and has worked with students from preschool age to high school. Meri's education consists of an AA in Liberal Arts and a BA in Childhood Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Administration. Meri enjoys volunteering, especially for Salmon Days, disability organizations, the YMCA, and her boys' schools. Her favorite things to do are eating out, watching movies, and continuing to learn more about early childhood education through new science experiments, songs, games, art, and movement. Being outdoors is important to Meri because it helps her to balance her mind and body. Meri says, "I love helping children grow and create because they also help me to grow and create".  



Sandra Dash

Assistant Teacher, Junior Explorers Classroom

Sandra was born and raised in Bellevue and has been married for 15 years to a retired Special Forces soldier. She has two children, Breanna (age 9) and Braeden (age 6). Sandra has worked with young children for many years and has completed coursework in Early Childhood Education. She is certified in First Aid and CPR. Sandra is passionate about health, nutrition, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Her favorite pastimes include music, running, hiking, CrossFit, swimming, biking, and playing outdoors with her children.



Amy Buerman

Assistant Teacher, Junior Explorers Classroom

 Amy was raised on a farm in Nebraska and then attended the University of Minnesota. She graduated with a degree in Psychology with a focus in Child Psychology. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Amy worked as a college enrollment trainer and manager at a university. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time reading, playing, and exploring the great outdoors with preschoolers. She is a born nature lover and spends time hiking, backpacking, camping, and exploring our beautiful mountains with her family. She also enjoys running, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends.  


Kelly Butler

Business Manager and Co-Founder

In addition to working with the preschool for the past six years, Kelly been a small business owner and worked for the federal government as an International Trade Specialist. She has a BA in Business Administration and has completed additional training in child development, child guidance and behavior, and health and safety. She loves the outdoors and has been an avid camper, hiker, cyclist, mountain climber, rock climber, and cross country skier. 


Natural Start Preschool
Bellevue, Washington

Natural Start Preschool focuses on the whole child through creative explorations in nature,
art, music, play and Kindergarten readiness activities.