Meet Our Educators
Briana Bennitt, Parenting Coach, STARS Trainer, Parent-Tot Co-Teacher
Briana was thrilled to see the emergence of the Simplicity Parenting movement and to participate in the pilot training program for SP coaches with Kim John Payne and Davina Muse in 2010. Her past work experience has included driver training, human resources and small business management, non-profit governance, independent school administration, and licensed child care center management and her children are now ages eleven to twenty-three years old, having attended public, private (Waldorf, Montessori), and homeschooling programs; Bellevue College and Whitman College. Briana is certified with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) as a STARS trainer for licensed child care providers continuing education and is also a certified Positive Discipline parent educator. She supports a wide variety of teaching styles and family structures as all co-create shared community, collaborative parenting, respect for diversity of belief, mindfulness to children's ages and stages, and peaceful home life. Briana’s favorite work currently involves private family coaching, STARS workshops, parent-tot playgroups, volunteering at her neighborhood Montessori preschool, and leading Baby Peppers groups on the Eastside.
"A sense of worthiness is a child's most important need. The American self-made-man
ethic says that we are what we make of ourselves. This is an improvement over Old
World class systems that said you could never rise any higher than your father.
But the implicit converse – that you are nobody until you prove yourself to be somebody
– is troublesome. The suggestion is that self-worth depends on external measurements
such as money, power, and popularity. Children's worthiness is often mistakenly
measured by compliance or achievement."
- Polly Berrien Berends
Robyn Michelle Hartman, Parent-Tot Playgroups Co-Teacher
Robyn has experience as a preschool teacher at a small, play-based preschool in Woodinville; as a substitute early childhood assistant at Three Cedars Waldorf School, Bellevue; and in Waldorf school administration including events management, front desk reception, and office coordination. Her other talents and experience include communications, volunteer coordination, crochet, and bookkeeping. Robyn is parent to two daughters who attended a Waldorf elementary school, now both studying at Western Washington University. She was thrilled to attend a Simplicity Parenting study group several years after attending a lecture by author, Kim John Payne, and enjoys continuing with her passion for supporting parents and families with her work as a Parent-Tot Co-Teacher at Simplicity Learning.
"With simplification we can bring an infusion of inspiration to our daily lives; set a tone that honors our families' needs before the world's demands. Allow our hopes for our children to outweigh our fears. Realign our lives with our dreams for our family, and our hopes for what childhood could and should be."
- Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting
Kimberly Lacy, LMHC
For over 25 years, Kimberly has been raising up, caring for, and learning with children, including her two daughters, many children of the co-parents in her Buddhist sangha and Waldorf communities, and her homeschooling students. Her work experience includes four years teaching in kindergarten and elementary programs and over seventeen years as a counselor and social worker. Currently, Kimberly works with Cowlitz Indian Tribe Behavioral Health in Family Preservation Services where she and her colleagues provide strength based active efforts that are family-centered in both the home and clinical settings. Kimberly holds a masters degree in psychology and clinical counseling and is a veteran facilitator of “circle of support” meetings for Waldorf school students, faculty and parents, having trained with Kim John Payne for over six years in the Center for Social Sustainability’s Social Inclusion, Collaborative Counseling, and Simplicity Parenting programs. Kimberly participated in the pilot training program for Simplicity Parenting group leaders in February 2010 and is an advocate for no-blame approaches to conflict resolution, building up every adult’s and child’s listening skills, and keeping the focus on what is truly healthy and beneficial for children, according to their ages and stages of development.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
- Fred Rogers
Jackie Ralston, Parenting Coach and Parent-Tot Co-Teacher
Jackie has co-parented many children in her extended community for over 25 years and completed her Waldorf foundation year with Bill Bryant in 1992. Her experiences perfecting her craft of raising up healthy children and supporting joyful family life over the years have included parent, preschool teacher, nanny, after school care teacher, and parent-tot co-teacher. In addition to her work with Simplicity Learning, Jackie has been a licensed child care provider and is now a private nanny. She has two daughters, one who graduated from Seattle Waldorf High School and Western Washington University, and one who has attended Three Cedars Waldorf School, St Louise Parish School, Sammamish High School, and Bellevue College. Possessing deep insights into family dynamics, communication styles, and child development, Jackie promotes many important forms of nurturing and support that parents need, but often do not receive. She has enjoyed a myriad of trainings and lectures by Kim John Payne including Social Inclusion and Simplicity Parenting. Jackie completed the Simplicity Parenting Coaches training in 2012 and the Positive Discipline Parent Educators training in 2017. She is now very excited to be integrating this work at Simplicity Learning.
"The afflictions which come to humanity sometimes tend to center the consciousness
upon the limitations. This is a veritable prison. Release comes by making of the
will a door through which the confirmations of the spirit come. They come to a man
or woman who accepts his life with Radiant Acquiescence."
- 'ABDU'LBAHÁ, Divine Philosophy
Kristina Schoorl, Parent-Tot Playgroups Co-Teacher
Kristina was raised in Slovakia and lived there until she was thirteen years old. She lived briefly in Austria, and then her family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. She lived there through her university studies and obtained a bachelor of business administration from Simon Fraser University, later qualifying for her CPA. Kristina has lived in Bellevue and then Redmond and then Bellevue again since 2004 and this is where she became a parent! Kristina completed a Simplicity Parenting Study Group in 2014 and attended Simplicity Learning Parent-Tot with her son from 2014 through 2015. Her son has attended Forget Me Not Preschool and is now in second grade at Eastside Community School. An avid naturalist, Kristina is dedicated to daily time outdoors, organic whole foods, gardening and hiking. In these first years of parenting, she has learned that "What is most important for our children is not what they have, what we buy them, what school they go to etc. but actually who we are." Kristina recommends a three month on-line course called Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids (based on the book by Dr. Laura Markham), as it has given her "the piece of the puzzle that I was missing to respond appropriately to my spirited child's difficult emotions."
"The unexpected is bound to happen, the expected may never come."
-Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Simplicity Learning offers morning Parent-Tot Playgroups, Simplicity Parenting
Groups, and Parent Coaching, and various evening and weekend presentations and workshops
for parents and teachers. Please inquire if you are interested in joining us for
an upcoming event or would like to learn more about hosting a custom-designed offering
at your own location.
“Worry is an aspect of parenthood, but it shouldn’t define it.”
- Kim John Payne
If you have any feedback about our services, trainers and coaches, our volunteers, this website, improvements we can make, information that would be helpful, or any other feedback in general, please contact the Simplicity Educational Services board of trustees at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your feedback is important to our board and will not be shared directly with the trainer, coach, or volunteer you are reviewing. We want to hear from you!