Natasha Saunders

Playworker

All my life I've loved being a mentor for younger children. Growing up, I went to a Montessori school in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here, this type of leadership was not only accepted but encouraged. Once I left my Montessori school and moved on to a public high school, I realized how much I had missed being around younger children. Fortunately for me, my mom was the second and third grade teacher. Her position allowed me to come back whenever I wanted. I've found that being around younger children has always allowed my mind to be still. Their presence gives me a sense of inner peace that little else can provide.

I continued working with children in Sewanee, Tennessee where I attended University. I earned my Bachelor of Arts for Cultural Anthropology in December of 2017. Throughout my studies, I loved to think about how children are culturally blank slates- constantly learning the intricacies of our culture. Knowing that our youth today will create our future tomorrow, I decided I wanted to continue my work with kids.

Instead, I continued playing with kids! In the summer of 2017, I volunteered for Americorps. In Sewanee a colleague and I, ran two different free play projects; five days a week. We provided the children with loose parts, allowed them the freedom of child-directed play and watched as they re-discovered their world through free play. After seeing the effectiveness of this method, I couldn't step away. I contacted the few adventure playgrounds across the nation and ended up with KOOP! (And I'm so glad I did!)

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