We are Sharon and Steve, parents of two sweet and energetic girls, Makeba and Miki. After many years in the United States, we finally returned to this beautiful country and are more than thrilled to have joined Woodland Star School’s community this year. We learned about Woodland Star School from the internet and couldn’t believe our luck given that we’d be moving to a farm just 10 minutes away. After meeting and getting to know the wonderful faculty, staff and parents, it became clear that this would be a wonderful place for us.
Coming home has been bittersweet. Just as we were introducing our girls to our wonderful extended family, we lost Sharon’s Dad early this year. There’s no adequate guidebook on resettling back in Kenya and the re-adjustment process has brought many new challenges we never imagined we’d face.
Right now, we’re learning to take each day as it comes and stay focused on our goals and dreams. One of those dreams is to build a small farm based cottage industry, crafting specialty teas and beers right here in Tigoni. Pretty lofty, right? Well, just getting together with people working on similar projects to share knowledge and grow would be a great accomplishment for us.
Another big goal of ours is to help create awareness about Kenya’s amazing aquatic ecosystems and wildlife. Just about everyone in Kenya knows about the “Big Five”, but how about our diverse (and often vilified) amphibians, reptiles and water bugs? Part of Sharon’s work as an aquatic ecologist will be to bring local and international students and faculty here to conduct research on our wetlands, lakes and rivers. We’ve come to learn that it takes the whole community to sustainably protect our natural resources, not just scientists. So we will figure out ways to get as many Tigoni and Limuru residents on a team that will preserve our resources for generations to come.
One of the fun things about our family is that we also imagine ourselves to be aspiring artists. Makeba and Miki love to sing and dance and sometimes perform “concerts” for us with their own original lyrics! Steve and Sharon have entire boxes of art supplies just waiting to be cracked open. So, how about you dust off your old guitar or watercolor set and come join us making art sometime!
Zarina graduated from the University of Georgia (USA) with a Masters in Teaching Early Childhood/Elementary Education. She is also certified to teach STEM and Gifted Education. She grew up in Kenya and previously worked as a service manager in an international bank after graduating from Moi University with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology.
In between academic pursuits, Zarina has also volunteered and taught Math at a Middle school to students who speak English as a second language, as well as taught English to students at a Middle school in Italy. Nothing has challenged her as much as being a teacher. She has always had a passion for working with children and is a proud aunt to 9 nieces and nephews. She is a strong proponent of Reggio Emilia’s Hundred Languages, emphasizing that there are a hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, and of learning.
Zarina is so excited to be relocating back to Kenya (from the US) to teach and already feels a strong connection to Woodland Star and its unique approach to teaching and learning. She can’t wait to join the WSS family!
Hailing from Brooklyn, Preet has spent 3 years working in higher education at The New School, in New York. She was born in Kenya has lived and worked here in Kenya as well as England and the U.S. She joins Woodland Star as a Middle Years teacher and believes in the success of cross-curricular and theme-based teaching. Preet has a diverse background in media, including documentary film, Travel TV and Radio. She has fulfilled teaching placements in both Primary and Middle Years, teaching Science, Social Studies, plus Media and Literacy. Preet enjoys putting students in the driving seat allowing them to find their voice, release their creativity and realize their individual and collective potential.
Her strength is bringing lessons alive by integrating media and hands-on activities. She regards teaching information literacy as a central facet of today’s wired and information-loaded world. She has an international PGCE from Sunderland, an MA in Media from The New School and a BA in Business from Sheffield. Preet and her two boys are thrilled to be part of the Woodland Star Village and are excited to engage with the nature and the community at the heart of the school, while delving into the rich holistic curriculum.
My love for my partner, my family, and my friends; my love for nature – specifically spiders, scorpions, butterflies, birds, and native trees; and my love for Kenya, its diverse cultures, its learning opportunities, and its chaos – these are what make me who I am. I’m a bit of a jack of many trades and master of none, but I’m passionate about protecting and experiencing what I love.
You may not know that I am colour-blind in greens and reds – making birding very interesting indeed! I’m ashamed to say I only speak English and Swahili. Despite a number of years of French in school, almost none of it stuck!
Exciting, strange, and inexplicable things happen to me and around me on a weekly basis. That’s part of what I love about living in Kenya. The more you observe what’s going on around you, the more you notice bizarre things! As a safari guide and operations manager for ACTS and Edutours Africa, it pays for me to be observant. I’ve recently begun learning about how to identify and differentiate the 30-some species of scorpions in Kenya. Some of them are easy, while others are extremely difficult to differentiate.
If I had to change one thing about the world we live in, I would want everyone to learn a greater respect for the environments that sustain all life (including ours). Not enough people understand the connection between healthy ecosystems and healthy humans, putting “environmental matters” far down on their priority lists.
Here’s a really interesting article suggesting that children learn better when they can get outdoors …