Founder | Director | Mentor
Kelzï Montpetit (which means Little Mountain) is Metis and Anishinaabe, she was raised on Hornby and Vancouver Island, where nature and art were the foundation for her early years. Her passion for developing quality youth programming stems from her childhood as a home learner - where interest, child lead learning was the norm in her community and children were encouraged not only to nurture their many interests but learn from a myriad of methods and mentors. She has been working with children since the day she was able to carry a baby on her own, as she proudly comes from multiple generations of Foster Parents.
She received a diploma from Victoria College of Art, her teacher assistance training from Montessori Teachers College and has completed a variety of outdoor education programs. Kelzï has taught art at Montessori art studios for children, assisted neurodiverse learners in a different school settings, worked as the Youth Program Director for South Island Pride and has established and run her own licensed playschool for 7 years running.
Emily grew up in the flatlands of Alberta with a strong foundation of independent making and learning. From her Grandmother’s kitchen to a BFA in Theatre Performance, her approaches to facilitation took shape through play, environmental exploration and storytelling. She is excited to work in ways that encourage spontaneous and shared creativity.
Emily has worked with children and youth for over 4 years in activities coordination, program creation and leading in summer camps and out of school care contexts, and as a houseparent and advisor to a core group of high school students. Emily has also received training in the care of youth challenged by anxiety, depression and trauma.
Emily feels very lucky to be among folks who provide the freedom and grounding experience of place-based programming. She is overjoyed about Little Mountain Earth Arts and everything it has to offer the youth and communities involved.
Tia is born and raised in Victoria and has worked in a variety of childcare and after-school programs for over 15 years. She obtained her Early Childhood Education diploma from Camosun in 2007 and has worked in various program roles, including mentor and manager. She loves to paint, garden, be outdoors and spend as much time as she can with her two sons. Tia has a very large interest in local plants and trees and is working towards going back to school for herbal medicine. She sings in a local community choir and takes great pleasure incorporating song and music into her lessons and communication with the children. Tia is deeply inspired by our west coast and our local ecosystem and she feels grateful for the opportunity to foster that relationship with your children each day.
Suzanne DeWeese has worked in early childhood education since 2003, when she lived and worked at a Quaker-run family centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The training she received there, a pedagogy and praxis rooted in deep respect and love-in-action towards each child, continues to guide her work today. Suzanne has a BA with a focus in ‘education for social change’ from Oberlin College in Ohio, and an ECE diploma from George Brown College in Toronto. Suzanne has worked in all kinds of roles in the childcare field - from large group daycares to running afterschool programs and nature-based learning courses for homelearners, as well as serving as a consultant for parents running childcare co-ops. Most recently she facilitated a community playgroup in Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto for several years, taught in Oak and Orca Bioregional School's early years program here in Victoria, and ran a small nature-based multiage centre in Sooke. "Both as an educator and as a parent myself, I'm super excited about all that Little Mountain Earth Arts is bringing to families in Victoria and thrilled to be Involved!"