Meet Our Director!

Kristen Argow-Heaton is the Founder, Owner, and Director of Active Louisville Kids, and a mother of two children.

“The school [was] started from scratch with the ideas my dad (a forester) and mom (a world traveler) had taught me about the importance of being outside and in nature, and how to, and why we need to appreciate and respect cultural diversity.”

I was born in Blacksburg Virginia and raised outside of Washington DC in Vienna Virginia.  I moved to (Boulder) Colorado in January of 2004.

I’ve worked with children for more than 20 years. In this time I have worked in both public and private schools as well as for Boulder Valley School District.  I started my first Play/Nature based Early Learning Center, Active Boulder Kids (ABK) Preschool (2008-2018) in Boulder. I expanded to Louisville (ALK) after I moved from Boulder to Louisville (2013) finally settling in Lafayette in 2015. I live in Lafayette now with my husband, dog and 2 sons. Both Active Louisville Kids!

I am passionate about being a mom to two active young boys.  Motherhood is both a challenge and reward every day.  I enjoy skiing and served on the National Ski Patrol in Virginia for 5 years before moving to Colorado.  I LOVE the great outdoors and nature.  I am at home in a forest and I am passionate about sharing my love for nature with future generations. It is essential to the future survival of our planet that young children learn to respect and appreciate nature.  It is amazing to be able to be living my lifelong dream to be able to combine my two passions: Nature and Children

Why I Teach: Young children are born ready to learn about the world and how to interact in it.  It is important to teach young children the importance of their role in preserving nature, caring for the environment, and respecting all life.  Love and acceptance of different cultures, races and species is taught. I consider it an honor to be able to participate in each child’s start to their lifelong journey of learning.  I also believe that all children should have the same opportunities to this early start to education.  Starting a school that welcomes all children is a dream and passion.

Unique Detail: I am passionate about learning about different cultures and countries.  I have traveled to all 50 states (Alaska and Hawaii being my final ones) and several countries.  Some of the places I’ve enjoyed traveling through include Italy, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Bolivia, Iceland, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Canada.
I followed my dream of working with children in Colorado after pursuing a less rewarding (for me) career in Office Management and administration in Northern Virginia and DC.  I worked just blocks from the White House in DC just before moving to Colorado.  The after effects of 9/11 effected my enjoyment of riding on the metro each day, leading me to look for new places to grow. Washington DC, Virginia and North Carolina stay close to me in my heart.

Education (Licenses, Certifications, Experience and Memberships)

Bachelors of Science: Psychology, Sociology; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University  (Virginia Tech)

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Early Childhood Education, Front Range Community College

Certificate in Early Childhood Education Director and

Colorado State Director’s Qualification Letter

Boulder County District Group of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children (BCAEYC) Board Member (Past President 2012-2013)

BCAYEC Board Member (President 2011-2012)

BCAYEC Board Member (Treasurer 2008-2011)

Certificate of Appreciation by Boulder County District Group of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Member

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) Member                     
20 years
of verified work hours completed with children ages 0-5 years in an early care and learning program.

 

Teaching Philosophy: Children learn best through ACTIVE play and exploration of their environment. Active bodies and active minds!  Children need fresh air, NATURE, movement and positive guidance and modeling from adults.  I believe in relationship based learning and encourage all teachers to start the learning process by building trust and a secure attachment with each child.  I believe in the power of learning through PLAY. During play, children learn about their world as they explore, create, imagine and figure things out! 

I have also been influenced by several early childhood education philosophies along the way, in particular Play Based -Playing to Learn/Learning to Play, Nature and Place Based, Montessori and Waldorf philosophies and the Reggio Emilia Approach.

What is Unique to You and Your Teaching?        

ABK and ALK teaching Philosophies came about with the lessons my dad (a forester) and mom (world traveler) taught me about the importance of being outside and in nature and to how and why we need to appreciate and respect cultural diversity.

My mom (Marylou Argow MEd, LMFT, LPC) taught me the importance of respecting and embracing cultural differences. She has traveled the world embracing new cultures and people along the way. Every child is unique and brings new and different family traditions, cultures, abilities, and languages into our community.  Teaching tolerance, kindness and acceptance through play, books, modeling and activities is essential. We can promote human respect and equality through education and advocacy. We all have so much to learn from each other and I am grateful we have a diverse community at ALK for us all to grow and learn in.

My dad (Dr. Keith Argow) is a Forester (PhD in forestry and political science) as well as a business and land owner. He passed on to me the love of nature and the importance of promoting the value of forestry. I was always outside in nature on our family lands and park lands across the country as a kid. I learned to respect, love and appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature.  I was taught to work the land and the importance of developing conservation practices.  There is no better place to experience hands on active learning then in the woods where a child’s imagination and play has no boundaries.

Butterfly Room, PreK Teachers

Alexis Sanera is our PreK/Butterfly Room Lead Teacher.

Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, we are happy to say she now calls Colorado, home. In her free time, you can find Miss Alexis painting, cooking, reading, or working through a puzzle.

Why I teach: To provide a foundation for lifelong skills, a love of learning, creativity, and (especially), relationships with the goal that these things will influence young lives and families beyond preschool.

Education: Elementary Education with a minor in Speech Pathology, Northern Arizona University & Metropolitan State University in Denver

Teaching Philosophy: Play based (structured & unstructured periods – purposeful play as well as individual processes encouraged). Some “cognitive based” philosophy meaning opportunities to problem solve & negotiate with others. Respect for everyone is emphasized.

What is Unique to Your Teaching? I implement a variety of teaching techniques and recognize students as individuals with individual learning styles. I believe that personal connections (between both teacher/student & student/student ) are key to a successful learning environment.

Mariah Slepicka is our PreK/Butterfly Room Assistant Teacher. Colorado born and raised, Mariah embraces the beautiful Colorado outdoors as much as possible, and works on her painting in between.

Why I teach: Teaching has been the perfect fit since high school: I love helping young minds connect the dots of the world. There is so much to learn, see, and discover, especially at a young age, and it’s amazing to be able to be a part of it.

Education: Level 2 Colorado Shines Lead Qualified
CPR, First Aid, FEMA Certified

Teaching Philosophy: Children best learn through experiences. It’s important to let them explore their environment and try new things. I work to make everything as fun a learning opportunity as possible.

What is Unique to Your Teaching? Art and creativity are always promoted in my classrooms. Whenever possible, I connect our current subjects to the art projects I bring in to keep learning as fun and engaging as possible.

Caterpillar Room, Preschool Teachers

Sammi Kurk is our Preschool/Caterpillar Room Lead Teacher. Sammi moved from Michigan, to Chicago for school, and from Chicago to Colorado to continue her schooling. With a passion for photography, education, and food, you can find her improving her skills in all or any one of these things at any time!

Why I teach: Children have a right to a quality education no matter their age or background, and I want to be a part of it.

Unique Detail: I bring in nature, it’s beauty, wonder, and excitement into the class as often as possible.

Education: B.S.: Psychology, Sociology Juvenile Justice
M.A.: Human & Learning Development
National Geographic Teacher Certified
ECE Director Qualified

Teaching Philosophy: Primarily Reggio Emilia inspired, with influence from Montessori & others as necessary

What is Unique to Your Teaching? An interest in the meaning of philosophies, art, creativity, project based activities with an emphasis on independence, practical life, and respect.

Crystal Follansbee is our Preschool/Caterpillar Room Assistant Teacher. Originally from New Hampshire, she was raised with a love and respect for the outdoors that has flourished since moving to Colorado. With a love for adventure and simplicity, she is most often wandering off to lose herself in new places whenever possible.

Why I teach: Children have such a joy for the world, and are constantly taking in new information and emotions. I want to help expand that wonder, and help them learn to navigate those emotions.

Unique Detail: I have a basic background in construction, and LOVE working with animals!

Education: B.A.: Graphic Design, minor in Business Management, focus in Communication 
Level 1 Colorado Shines Assistant Qualified

Teaching Philosophy: Emotional health always comes first in my interactions, and everything is a learning opportunity. I am open and honest in why I ask our students to do something (or please not do something), so that they can become more aware in their actions and interactions. As often as possible, I bring in the connections we have with nature, and with each other, and how we can best respect those around us, while respecting our own feelings.

What is Unique to Your Teaching? I bring in the cycles and complexities of the world around us, and work to keep things as fun, whimsical, and downright goofy as possible while doing so.

Lil' Hopper Room, Toddler Teachers

Rosy Reyes is our Toddler Two/Lil’ Hoppers Lead Teacher. Born and raised in Miami, Fl to Cuban parents, you can find Rosy behind a camera, practicing her drawing, or cooking in her time off.

Why I teach: I love children and how they can teach and inspire the world with their actions and curiosity.

Unique Detail: 

Education: B.A.: Art Education
Colorado Shines Lead Teacher Qualified
Lead Infant Nursery Supervisor

Fluent in Spanish

Teaching Philosophy: Everything a child does, is a learning opportunity. They are constantly learning from the world and people around them.

What is Unique to Your Teaching? I love to teach using art, and allowing students to embrace their creativity. 

Talon Hodson is our teachers’ aid, floater, do-anything extraordinaire! Most of his time is spent between the toddler and infant classes,though he’ll happily jump in anywhere we need him. From Price, Utah, Talon moved to Colorado in 2011, where he continues to explore his interests in energy medicine, and holistic based health & wellness. Reading writing, hiking, climbing, and meditating round out his busy days. 

Why I teach: Teachers have been the primary role models in my life. Without their influence, my life would not be what it is today.

Unique Detail: I am a dyslexic that loves to read and write

Education, Qualifications, Skills: Colorado Shines Certified
First Aid, CPR, AED Certified
Reiki Master & Teacher
Acrunect Zoom Practitioner

American Sign Language (still learning) 

Teaching Philosophy: When you teach love and compassion from an early age, you witness the growth of a leader who will carry the love with them throughout the rest of their life. This is especially relevant to ECE.

What is Unique to Your Teaching? I believe that every child is capable of changing the world; but not until they know how to operate within themselves, first. Teaching emotional expression and management is the core to a compassionate human being.

Chickadee Room, Toddler Teachers

Pawhuska, Oklahoma- Heart of the Osage Nation. Colorado resident for the last eight years.
 
Hobbies/passions:
I moved to Colorado to climb mountains like my Dad did in his twenties. I love anything and everything outdoors! Rock climbing, bouldering, scrambling, hiking, skiing (water and snow), fishing, camping, and kayaking. 
Special Skills:
I consider myself a Jack-of-all-trades. If something breaks, I try to fix it before I replace it. Carpentry, light electrical work, plumbing, home improvement of all sorts, auto maintenance, jewelry making/chainmail/leather work for cosplaying. 
Some have said that I collect hobbies.
2 years of Biblical Hebrew and Spanish, 2 semesters of French. Currently studying Thai.
 

Why I teach: I really enjoy working with people who are too young to realize I’m being paid to hang out with them. I love the genuine, positive relationships I’m able to cultivate with my kiddos. Seeing them learn and grow each and every day and being a part of that experience is pretty special.

Unique Detail: I’ve camped in 38 states, and I am an amateur astrophotographer.

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts from Oklahoma City University.
Early Childhood Education Lead Teacher/Infant Room Supervisor Certified.
Pyramid plus, and EQIT.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language certified.

Teaching Philosophy: In the one year old room and beyond, we learn through play and experience. We use all of our senses and run the full gambit of emotions each and every day. These tiny humans have big emotions that they are working so hard to process and don’t have the words to express. This room takes a great deal of patience, love, and empathy. Every moment is a learning opportunity

What is Unique to Your Teaching? It’s amazing how naturally intuitive the little ones are. I love working with children who are non- or pre- verbal for many of the same reasons I love teaching English as a foreign language. So much of our human communication is non-verbal. There are countless ways to connect with and learn from one another, even if we don’t understand another’s words. I find that the more empathy and patience someone has the easier it is to bridge language gaps.

Makayla Morton is our Toddler One/Chickadee Assistant Teacher. Born and raised in Colorado, she loves hiking, sports (especially volleyball!), and spending time outside in her spare time.

Why I teach:I love to watch them smile and see how much they learn in no time! It’s amazing!

Unique Detail: I’m the oldest of three!

Education: Level 1 Colorado Shines Assistant Qualified

I can speak some spanish and know a little bit of sign language!

Teaching Philosophy: respect our toys/things and of respecting our friends! while having a fun, safe time!

What is Unique to Your Teaching? I truly cherish the bond with every child! Knowing they feel safe and having an amazing time in the class when we’re all together!

Bumble Babees, Infant Teachers

Teri is our Bumble Babees/Infant Lead Teacher. I am married to a great man. Between us we have 4 kids (3 daughters and a son) plus 11 grandchildren which includes 2 sets of twin boys and a great granddaughter due in March. I also have 7 brothers and sisters. I love to travel and spend as much time with my family as possible.

Why I teach: One of my greatest joys is that magical moment when you see the look in a child’s eyes when they ‘get it’. When I was 12 years old I was responsible for a small group of 3-5 year old day campers at a camp I was going to outside Gold Hill CO. That is when I realized I wanted to work with children. I started in child care 38 years ago and have been working in child care off and on ever since. I was involved with my children’s school throughout their school years. I guess you can say working with children is a passion of mine.

Education: Director’s Certificate
FEMA – Multi Hazard Planning for Childcare Certified
Autism & Asperger Association World Conference & Expo
Positive Behavior

Teaching Philosophy: I try to take as many classes/trainings and go to as many conferences, etc. as I can. I love learning everything I can about children and how they learn. I believe you are never too young to learn. My goal is to make learning fun. There are so many teaching opportunities throughout the day. While I believe it is important to have a lesson plan sometimes you need to let the children become the lead, they will be more apt to remain focused and retain what they learn no matter the age.

What is Unique to Your Teaching? My favorite sound is a child laughing. Children are an important part of what and how I teach while focusing on their interests. I love doing art, science, and dancing. I believe in building strong parent/teacher partnerships to meet each child’s individual educational and development goals. Great communication is an integral part of helping a child grow. I welcome any comments, concerns, and suggestions you may have.

Liz Brant is our Infant Room/Bumble Babee Room Assistant Teacher. Originally from a small town south of Colorado Springs, Liz grew up as the youngest in the family, but always wanted to care for children. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga as well as photography specifically of nature and her nieces. 

Why I teach: Teachers have been the primary role models in my life. Without their influence, my life would not be what it is today. Ever since I was younger I dreamed of being a teacher. There is so much to discover, learn, and see especially at such a young age. I have never had a bad day working in the infant room, their smiles and laughter always brightens my day!

Unique Detail: No matter what challenges I face, I always find a way to stay positive and have a smile on my face.

Education, Qualifications, Skills: Colorado Shines Certified

Expanding Quality Care for Infants and Toddlers, Course

CPR Certified

Basic ASL

  • Lead Qualification, & Infant Room Supervisor qualifications in the works!

Teaching Philosophy:  I believe you are never too young to learn. Learning should be fun and I feel all ages should be welcomed to new experiences. I make each child feel welcomed, loved and safe. Even at a young age, I believe it is important to get outside by going on walks or reading a book/playing under a shady area. 

What is Unique to Your Teaching? I always look at the bright side of every situation, and make sure each child feels safe and loved. I also love to get on the child’s level, learning from their point of view. Sign language has been a useful tool to help the infants communicate their wants and needs.