Blueberry Classroom Teacher
Sarah Onion Alford
Director, and Classroom Teacher
Our carefully selected staff strives to provide a balanced, purposeful foundation for success.
I grew up in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, the oldest of three children. Much of my passion for getting children outside stems from my childhood spent in the New Hampshire lakes and woods, and gardens. I attended Kenyon College, and majored in Religious Studies. While at Kenyon I worked at the Gazebo School on campus, this is the formative place for my ideas and philosophy of education. I learned about Taoism in the college classroom, and about Gazebo philosophy at Gazebo School, and it all came together in very exciting ways for me. I continued on at Pacific Oaks College, getting my Master's degree in Human Development, with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. I have trained in Gazebo philosophy with Lia Thompson-Clark at the Children's School of Sonoma State University, where I was for five years, as well as at the original Gazebo School in Big Sur. My passion for place based education, and outdoor education continues. I gave birth to twin daughters in November of 2010, and motherhood (especially as the mother of twins!) has given me yet another perspective of child development.
I grew up in Ireland, and was lucky enough to travel extensively with my family for my Dad's job. I especially enjoyed our time spent in Japan, Africa (Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique) and Bangladesh. After finishing Secondary School I took some time and continued to travel, including spending a year in Australia. An interest in becoming a paramedic brought me to the United States. I attended Northeastern University where I did my training, finishing with a field internship in New York City. After working in this field for a number of years I took some time off to be a full time mother to my two girls, Jayna and Maya. I met Sarah when Maya was in her class at the Herne School. Sarah urged me to consider working with young children, and I started work at the Gazebo School in 2009. I have since been taking classes in child development at the York County Community College. I am a big animal lover, and have enjoyed fostering dogs for a Maine based rescue. I live in Kittery with my family and all of our animals!
I grew up in New England in a large family as one of thirteen children. Because of my experiences with my growing family I knew early that I wanted to work with children. My love for the outdoors is due to all that time playing outdoors with my siblings. It has also contributed to my philosophy today, teaching and creating an environment where children can learn through play both outdoors and indoors. I graduated from UMF with a degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. Through college I worked and volunteered at various Head Start programs ranging from classroom based with preschoolers to home based with infants. When I moved back to the seacoast I worked at Community Campus with the Portsmouth Early Education Program for four years where I taught in inclusive preschool classrooms. I decided to take a year off and nanny while trying to find a center that fit my style, combining nature and teaching. During that year is when I met Sarah and started to learn more about Gazebo school and was lucky enough to be offered to teach in the Fiddlehead Classroom!
I grew up in Eliot, Maine with my parents and younger brother. I graduated from Marshwood High School in 2002. I attended York Community College and got my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. While at YCCC I worked at a local childcare center as the lead toddler teacher. After receiving my Associates, I decided to continue with my education, and transferred to Wheelock College in Boston. I had an internship in a second grade classroom and then found my love with a second internship in a preschool classroom. I graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in Children and Family Studies and a teaching degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduating I spent two years as a nanny for a child with special needs. Eventually I decided to move back to Maine to be closer to my family, and decided to apply to the Gazebo School in 2009, to follow my true passion of teaching preschool. I believe that children learn best through play, and I am inspired by Reggio Emilia in my approach to curriculum. I currently live in York with my husband Jared and our dog, Max.
Fiddlehead Classroom Teacher
Fiddlehead Classroom Teacher
I was born and raised in northern Vermont, and had a childhood filled with outdoor explorations- digging in the garden, swimming in the lake, riding bikes and horses. After graduating from UNH with a degree in Environmental Education I taught Pre-kindergarten in York, ME for 5 years. I then moved to Montana for several years where I worked as a volunteer and program coordinator for a Children’s Museum, and in education and visitor services for a national conservation non-profit. We loved discovering the mountains and rivers of the west, but moved back to New England to be closer to family. For the past several years I have worked in conservation education for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the US Forest Service. The birth of my son in 2011 inspired me to return to early childhood education, and I’m so excited to once again share my passion for the natural world and place-based education in the classroom.
Acorn Classroom Teacher
Blueberry Classroom Teacher
I have been a teacher at Gazebo School since 2014. The Blueberry Room is filled with opportunities for play, creativity, book reading, singing, and exploring the outdoors. I enjoy guiding the children through the day and encouraging independence along with giving them all the love and support that they need. My professional background started in Nursing. I graduated from Boston College in 1996 with a BSN and worked for over seven years in a Special Care Nursery Setting, helping premature babies grow and thrive. I found my joy for teaching when I was recruited to work for a year at Little Log Cabin Montessori in Windham. I also have taught at Village Elementary school in York as a Substitute for three years. I currently live with my husband and daughter Sadie in York.