We are tremendously proud of our dedicated and energetic team. River East School teachers are meticulously screened and selected based on their passion for early childhood education, patient and nurturing approach to childcare, alignment with River East School ethos and values, and goodness of team dynamic and fit. The teachers at River East School have extensive educational experience from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. We believe having a team with varied and unique skills and experiences has created the forward-thinking and progressive environment River East School has become, and contributes to it's continuous progression and evolution over time.
A little about us...
You've likely heard the saying "it takes a village," well... It is our sincere hope that River East can be the village it takes! We've set out to bring together a group of people who hold similar ideals, values, hopes and desires for their children's lives - kind and empathetic individuals, joining together with the goal of immersing young children in a progressive educational environment that will help us all to be better, and create a better world in the process.
We also believe that once you join the River East community, you become our family, and to us, family is forever. We've created the River East School environment to feel like an extension of the home, where our extended family feels comfortable and that is the environment we continually strive to provide and create.
River East School is a full-day, year-round school for local families, enrolling children approximately 24 months through 5 years of age. We feel that children of all ages are well-suited to come together, so they can both learn from, and along with, one another, which fuels our strong belief in facilitating a mixed-age program. By offering children of varying age groups ample opportunities to work together, alongside their teachers, the children develop strong bonds, which facilitates an undeniable sense of community between the friends and the teachers.
River East School is located in Atwater Village and is open Monday-Thursday from 8:30am-4:30pm and on Friday from 8:30am-3pm, with an early closure to allow for teacher planning. Our neighborhood and community provide us with many opportunities for concrete experiences that broaden the children's understanding of the world around them. Walks through our neighborhood streets and trips to the park and horse stables contribute to an essential understanding of what it means to be part of a larger community - the many resources available to us in our community consistently provide our school environment with invaluable teaching tools and opportunities.
Dina Goldman Voorhees
Founder | Curriculum Director
Dina co-founded River East back in 2017 out of a desire to reinvigorate and reimagine early childcare education for today's world. With over 10 years of experience in health in wellness centered around yoga & holistic nutrition, she passionately infuses time-honored traditions & principles into River East's philosophy and weekly curriculum.
Dina's mission is for River East to be a space where each child is viewed and celebrated as an unique individual; where individual needs and points of view are nurtured and guided with intention, empathy and compassion.
RES Director | Lead Teacher
Nicole Gardner joined the River East team in the summer of 2020. She has a Masters degree in early childhood education and has over 15 years of experience with children and families, as well as a background in theater and the performative arts.
Nicole believes in infusing play and the arts into every aspect of learning and believes that working with young children is the way to build a better world.
After graduating cum laude from the University of Maryland with a BA in Communication and Media Analysis, Josh spent 7 years working in education and private childcare until joining the RES team in 2019.
When he isn't teaching, Josh is an actor-writer, a passion he brings into the classroom on a daily basis. These skills greatly inform his teaching style, as he engages with the Friends on a deep and empathetic level through active storytelling, literature, exploration, and, most importantly, discussion.
Nicole has been part of the RES team for almost four years after working at a co-op preschool for 18 years.
" I fell in love with the RES idea of children constantly learning and discovering in their own way with nature and the outdoors as their safe and nurturing classroom."
As a very proud member of the RES community, Nicole continues to embrace how young children explore and develop rich and wonderful relationships with others and the world around them.