hannah gray

hannah has been a teacher at the shelter island early childhood learning center since 2016.

after receiving a bachelor’s degree, Hannah spent time traveling and working throughout europe. she later attended st. johns university and obtained a master’s degree in childhood education. while studying at st. johns, she was one of 10 working teachers to receive a fulbright scholarship to study in vietnam. after returning from vietnam, she traveled to argentina to gain a deeper understanding of children who have and will emigrate from spanish speaking countries.

recently, hannah spent time in england studying to become a forest school educator. she strives to maintain an ethos which is both inspired by the reggio emilia understanding while allowing children to cultivate their wonder and reflect in the quiet heart of nature. she is passionate about helping children learn in the spirit of diversity, understanding and kindness.

she lives in southold with her daughter, ella and sons bereket and noah.

samantha de mar

samantha is excited to begin her first year at the shelter island early childhood learning center as assistant teacher. she has worked both as a substitute teacher and teachers assistant at sag harbor elementary school.

samantha has just recently moved back home to the east end from sonoma california. she moved out west to develop land and start an organic produce company with her boyfriend and family. she is very eager to continue to learn more about gardening, harvesting and homesteading on shelter island; more so, to combine her passion for teaching with the forest school’s natural learning approach. she believes there is no better place for children to explore than the island and that early learning is lost without nature and fun. samantha graduated from SUNY albany in 2015 with a BA in sociology. she is in the process of working on her masters degree in Infant and toddler special education.

sonomi obinata

Born Kanagawa Japan, Sonomi grew up in suburban town not far from Tokyo.  She spent much of her childhood at her grandfather's farm where gifts from nature and myths were part of everyday life. 

 Sonomi moved to NYC in1993 and eventually to the North Fork of Long Island where she found herself again with the desire to be, as she was with her grandfather, nearer to the earth. In 2011 Sonomi practiced farming on a biodynamic field where she discovered that the spirit and the philosophy behind this farming technique was very much like what she experienced as a child. 

She comes to school to help the children wonder and to wonder herself about the auspicious connection between children and nature and how they will grow together with the seeds.