Our Amazing team consists of a dedicated group of the most wonderful humans who are all dedicated to enriching hte lives of children globally.  They are a combination of passionate volunteers and educators.  We are so thankful to have them as part of the ABC family!
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Jeanine McDonald

Curriculum Developer

Jeanine has been involved in the early childhood development and early intervention fields for more than 30 years in Ontario and British Columbia. In that time she has worked as an Infant Development and Supported Child Development Consultant, working with families and community child care programs to support children’s development and inclusion. She has taught post-secondary Early Childhood Education and supported child care organizations in developing curriculum. She has also worked as an executive director and senior manager in non-profit organizations, most providing early childhood development & early intervention services. She holds a Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ryerson University.

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Cathy Benns

Physical Education

Cathy has been working with children for over 30 years.  She has built successful preschool gymnastics programs in many different communities and continues to coach in her home town of Pemberton.  Cathy practices as a Registered Massage Therapist with additional  education in Paediatrics and in Paediatric Care for Children with Sensory Needs.  She loves to create and integrate songs and movements that support the building blocks to learning including tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive integration.

If One life shines, another will catch the light.
Keep Shining!

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Samantha Cipriano

Fingerplay, Song and Dance

We are so lucky that Miss Samantha is a preschool teacher at our very own ABC International Active Learning Center in Nasushiobara, Japan! She brings with her a wealth of teaching experience and her beautiful musicality! Samantha has worked as a kindergarten teacher and ICT coordinator in the Philippines as well as in Okinawa, Japan. . Samantha holds a Bachelor in Elementary Education in Early Childhood Education and is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Her hands-on learning approach exemplifies ABC's educational philosophy and our students and parents adore her!


Mina Suzuki

Yoga and Mindfulness

Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness. In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves.
I lived near an American air base in Tokyo as a child and developed a natural ability to communicate in English by playing with American friends.
Then, I worked as a freelance translator and interpreter, conference interpreter and bilingual secretary for foreign companies. 
I have been interpreting for English-speaking yoga teachers, translating yoga related materials, and teaching English and yoga to children and adults since 2011. 
I was originally drawn to yoga as a way to manage autonomic nervous system imbalances I suffered from. 
So clear were the benefits I gleaned from yoga that I became a life long practitioner and started to share the practice with others. 
Having studied with and interpreted for top yoga instructors of many styles – including Yogic Arts, KiDo Kids Yoga, Tibetan Heart Yoga, Yin Yoga, restorative yoga, maternity yoga, mantra yoga, Ayurveda and Pilates – I draw from my diverse experiences to create fun, unique and interesting yoga classes.
I currently teach yoga at 4 international schools in Tokyo and a preschool/kindergaten in Yokohama.

Whenever I’m with kids, I’m like a kid in a candy store !

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Our Social Emotional Learning Puppet

I'm Sellie, I help your children to learn about their feelings in a fun and approachable way! We talk about self regulation, values, friendship skills and social issues in an age appropriate way!


Would you like to join our team?

Are you a preschool educator?

Do you have a passion for hands on experiential learning? Would you love to share your skills with our community? Please send us a message!


Shanon McMillan

Physical Education

Hi, I’m Shanon McMillan, founder/owner of Core Shots Fitness, certified personal trainer, gymnastics coach and health/nutrition enthusiast (to put it mildly) as well as a Yoga Instructor. My career in the fitness industry spans over 30 years and is fuelled by an unwavering passion for helping my clients of all ages benefit from the power of movement. 

My personal fitness journey began as a competitive gymnast in the early years which led to a 20 year career as a gymnastic/trampoline coach and now over 18 years as a personal trainer. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to live amongst the breathtaking Rocky Mountains of Banff, Alberta and Whistler, British Columbia where Core Shots Fitness was created in 2005.

Today, Markham, Ontario is home for me and my 13 year old son but you can find me online from anywhere. 

Yours in Health & Happiness,

Shanon McMillan 


Jazlyn & Lara Onaba

ASL Sign Language

Jazlyn (5) and Lara Onaba live in British Columbia and spend their days enjoying local parks and cooking. Jazlyn is a natural comedian. She loves water and crafting. Lara, once a sign language based educational assistant, is now a stay at home mom and foster parent. She loves blogging, walking though forests and lounging in hammocks. 

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Rya Letham

Yoga and Mindfulness

Inspired by the healing power of movement and nutrition, Rya has worked in the field of health and education for over 25 years. She is a mother of 2 boys, and currently the studio owner of Pilates Integrated. She facilitates Pilates, Yoga, Meditation and Nutrition Playshops, both in person and online. Rya holds a bachelors degree in Human Kinetics, program Exercise Science, from U.B.C., a Bachelors of Education from S.F.U. and studies in nutrition and swim coaching. She completed her advanced yoga teacher training in Rishikesh India, studying Akhanda Yoga, including prenatal and restorative training, and Vipassana meditation. Rya completed her Classical Pilates apprenticeship at Whistler Pilates. She is certified in the Core Confidence program; exercises designed to help retrain your centre postpartum. She has worked with diverse groups of people including children, seniors, prenatal and postpartum mothers and English as a second language students. Her understanding of the body and love for learning shines through in her practice. Website: www.rya.space