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Leah Novak

Leah Novak
Early Childhood and Lower School Division Director

Leah has been teaching combinations of kindergarten, first grade and second grade at WDS since 2007. She also is the Director of the Early Childhood Program. After graduating college, she traveled around the country working and volunteering in state and national parks until landing in California where she taught and directed at a science-based, outdoor education school. She then returned to the Northeast to get her Master’s degree in Elementary Education and her Teaching Certification. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography with a concentration in Environmental Studies and a minor in Elementary Education.

Leah is passionate about creating community, the outdoors, theater and travel, and loves to bring these passions into the classroom. Working at WDS has enabled Leah to merge all of her interests. You can often find Leah and her students writing nature poems along our nature trail or down by the pond learning about communities of all kinds. Young students are often so in touch with nature that they quickly become inspired outside and produce such wonderful written pieces! 

Leah enjoys incorporating theater arts into her teaching as well. Students rewrite popular stories in their own words and perform them for each other and sometimes for the school! This gives the students great practice in retelling stories, character development, fluency, public speaking and working together towards a common goal.  Leah loves integrating with the specialists on campus to create thematic units.   Students can dive so much deeper into the material when they are exposed to it through multiple lenses.   Her favorite is the Hudson River study she does with her classes where, through the help of her colleagues,  they weave together social studies, activism, music, science, art and more in a place based exploration of our local environment. She also adores playing and giggling with her own children, Cedar and Jasper who also attend WDS!

Leah also loves to bring in pictures or artifacts from her travels to enrich the curriculum. Places come alive for children when they get to touch and smell the teas and silks from China when learning about ancient cultures, or when they get to hold (cooled and hardened) lava from Hawaii, or hear her stories about roasting veggie dogs over it. “There is nothing better than watching my inspired students engage in learning and sharing my passions!”