Nancy Monson, Director and Lead Teacher Grades 4th-6th

There has always been in me a desire to learn what life is all about. I have a constant longing to understand and to participate with others in the process of discovery. As a child I used to play school with my stuffed animals. I knew there were so many things they wanted to learn about, so I became their teacher. I also had a love of nature that kept me outside in every season, playing, exploring and making shelters and forts to hide in. I went to summer camp for ten years, which filled me with rich experiences of cooperative living, learning outdoor skills and developing a deeper appreciation for all of nature. Since being seven I took my feelings and experiences and wrote stories, songs, poems, articles, and plays. I have been fortunate enough to bring all of my greatest interests together in the profession of teaching.

To me, being a teacher means learning how to love and understand all children, and support and nourish their innate love of learning. This requires patience, calm, receptivity and work. Every person is born with the potential to develop capacities and special talents. These are the seeds. A teacher’s job is to learn what nutrients those seeds need: how much water, sunlight, soil, so that the seed can grow into the healthy plant it was meant to be. But the other side of the equation is the parents. A teacher is only one of the hands that guide the child. The parents are the other hand, and the strongest hand. For that reason, I have a passion for working with parents, so that we might become a stronger team and create a real community of learning and caring for all.

I realized early on that anything I might want to teach the children, I had to be developing in myself. I had to be the model. I observed how strongly young children imitate adults in every way: how they talk, move, eat, engage, dress and even their attitudes and emotional responses. This became a motivation beyond my own personal desire to grow and develop: I wanted to give children a sense of how precious life is and what incredible capacities we have as people. Instead of trying to change the children, I began to work on observing and changing myself. Slowly I have learned to bring my respect and love for living the process of life to teaching. This creates an indissoluable bond between myself and the children. If we are all engaged in learning together, then there is no longer the great divide between school and the rest of life: learning becomes what life is about. And, if we are forever learning, emotionally, physically and mentally, then perhaps we will come to understand how to take conscious responsibility for the protection and maintenance of this planet. To me, this is the meaning of the evolution of humanity.

At Halloween we put on skits and activities for all the students.  Playing, acting, engaging, and creating community are what makes Running River such a fun place to work!

At Halloween we put on skits and activities for all the students.  Playing, acting, engaging, and creating community are what makes Running River such a fun place to work!

Professional Background

My mission is to create an education system that will give each child the opportunity to fully know themselves, develop their capacities and gifts and become consciously responsible for life.

Educator and Administrator
2001: Founder and Director of Running River School.
Teacher of all grades (depending on the year) since the beginning of the school

Director and Facilitator of The Gathering of Friends Family Camp, Reserve, NM
2001- present: This is a trip to the Gila Wilderness for families. The focus is on lifestyle, camping, nature activities, and special instruction in how to get the most from nature experiences, parenting issues, cooking and how to create balance in a family.

Director and Head Counselor for Camp Courage for Girls
2013-present: I take a group of girls (ages vary each year, but starting at 9) to the Gila Wilderness Gathering of Friends Retreat Center in N.M. for 10 days.

2000 to present: Radio Host of “Parenting Solutions,” presented by KGNU, Community Public Radio in Eastern Colorado.
Host of weekly radio program answering questions on all areas of parenting (discipline, self-esteem, responsibility, diet etc.)

1996-2004: Homestar Child Development Center

  • Executive Director, President of the Board of Directors and Financial Director of the non-profit daycare.
  • 1996-2001: Preschool manager and teacher for ages 2 1/2 to 5.
  • Created an outdoor education/hiking program for 3 to 5 year olds with a nature oriented curriculum.
  • Successfully written grants to receive $32,000 from the city and county of Boulder and private foundations.
  • Director of Parent Advisory Board.
  • Co-facilitate staff and parent education programs

1996 to present: Teacher and Consultant for Parent Education

  • Teacher of “Parenting to Promote Inner Development,” a workshop to help parents learn to develop their children’s qualities through all areas (nutrition, physical fitness, communication, creative expression, and how children learn).
  • Lecturer at corporations on parent education topics.
  • Teacher of “Parenting Solutions,” a parenting workshop dealing with all issues facing parents.
  • 1995-1998: Founder of Brave Theater: A School of the Expressive Arts
  • Director and teacher of theater classes for children ages 6-12.
  • Contracted teacher to The Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies, creating and directing original plays for grades 1-4.
  • Founder of a young girl’s group ages 8-12.

1983-1995: The School: A private, alternative K-6 school in Boulder, CO

  • Taught all grades over a 12 year span and became Assistant Director and Director.
  • One of the main curriculum developers, specializing in the areas of Language Arts, Science, History, Drama, Music and Physical Fitness.
  • Created a uniquely integrated curriculum based on the history of mankind.
  • One of the founders of a Nature Wilderness Summer Camp for children. This camp took children ages 8 to 11 into the wilderness every day for four weeks, teaching them survival skills and helping them to feel at home in nature. The culmination of the camp was a four day camping trip into remote wilderness areas.
  • Director and producer of over 25 original musicals and plays, which incorporated local musicians, actors and parents. These plays were written specifically to enhance the curriculum and help children develop confidence with all forms of expression.

1979-1981: Northglenn and Westminster High schools, Denver, CO

  • Taught Humanities, Literature, Writing and Photography

Writer

  • Published over 30 articles for Parenting Magazines and Boulder Newspapers.
  • Writer of children’s stories, music and plays.

Education

  • B.A. in Journalism Education with minors in English and History, from Michigan State University.
  • Teaching certificate for secondary education.
  • Directorship for Early Childhood Educational Facilities through Colorado State University.