Meet The Staff
Visionary and Director of The Great Oak Collaborative
Amar has a wide range of interests in her life, and the one thing her interests share in common is that they all relate to the physical and spiritual well-being of people and the planet. She has devoted her life to caring for children. Much of her week is dedicated to the smooth operation of Khalsa Childcare which she runs out of her home. Visitors to Khalsa Childcare are always impressed with the graceful and spiritual way the children and staff interact with each other.
Another of Amar’s passions in life is a healthy diet and nutrition. She is a certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute. She spends many hours training raw food chefs to prepare amazing healthy foods in her kitchen. The children at her childcare program enjoy organic raw and living foods diet.
Amar also teaches weekly classes in Kundalini Yoga, and she hosts monthly women’s sharing circles. She can often be seen tending to her abundant garden or taking her morning walks with her husband.
In her daycare and in her life, Amar is grateful for the powerful influences of many teachers who have taught her a great deal about authenticity and spirituality, deep inner-listening and conscious communication. Yogi Bhajan an Indian spiritual master, Brian and Anna Maria Clement the directors of the world renowned Hippocrates Health Institute, and Grandmother Lillian Pitawanakwat a native elder and shaman. Amar draws upon the vast teachings set forth by these powerful people and many others as she interacts with and cares for children and adults alike.
Amar is the mother of three and the grandmother of four. She is a heart-centered musician, loves to be in nature, to swim, play tennis and African dance.
Jai Fuller has worked with children in many capacities her whole life. She is a certified childcare provider, and has worked alongside her parents in their holistic daycare center for over 15 years. Jai founded the Khalsa Camp in 1999 and has been co-directing the program every summer, where she teaches children (ages 5-13) yoga and meditation, dance, swimming, acting etc. As a Sikh, Jai was born and raised in a yogic lifestyle, and enjoys teaching Kundalini yoga to children and adults alike. Currently she teaches prenatal, postnatal and children's yoga classes at the Yoga Center Amherst.
Jai's teaching style mirrors her everyday relationships: she is bright, enthusiastic, and heart-centered. Jai is an accomplished dancer, and has received extensive training in ballet, modern and West African dance. In 1997 Jai joined the Boston Dance Company where she performed leading roles professionally. She has taught both creative movement and West African dance classes to children and adults over the years and is the assistant director of The Center Dance's yearly Nutcracker Production. Jai leads children's programs annually at both Omega Institute and Kripalu as well as the Sat Nam Fest, (a Kundalini yoga and music festival.) She is happily married and has a ten year old son, Amar Das and a two year old daughter, Nam Bani.
Ash grew up in the Valley—on Mt. Skinner in Hadley—and stayed close to home to double major in biology and philosophy at Mount Holyoke College. Wider interests include herbalism, farming, foraging & wild-crafting, poetry & book arts, the German language, rowing, yoga, and traveling with no time line. Veganism—but more so, to be conscious and well-informed about food—is a central component to Ash's lifestyle, and was a major factor in the decision to work at Khalsa Childcare.
Watching the children grow, learn, and change every day is such a special privilege, and Ash tries her best to bring gentleness, humour, patience, and an ever-questioning outlook to the children in hopes of nurturing their natural inquisitiveness and creativity. With a background in teaching philosophy and outdoor activities to children, Ash's favorite parts of the job include guiding nature lessons for the older children (who are great teachers themselves!), watching and encouraging language acquisition and clarity in the Littles, and learning new concepts and paradigms daily, by shear proximity to the endlessly well-intentioned Fuller family and all of the children and families in the community. Ash is very blessed, and grateful to be a part of Khalsa, and fully trusts the compassion first teaching that is modeled. Ash also loves to care for children in their homes to gain a rounder picture of their budding passions and expectations, and provide the most understanding care in the group setting. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions! Email or in-person is best (as Ash lives in Ashfield, where there is no cell phone service): firstname.lastname@example.org. All good things to you!
Cat moved to the Valley over two years ago. She has been working here at Khalsa Childcare for the past year. Over the years she has worked with children in many different ways: babysitting, nannying, summer camp counseling, working at after-school programs, and tutoring. She took a class last fall in Infant and Toddler Care Development after many of our big kids went on to first grade and many infants and toddlers joined the daycare. This helped to deepen her understanding and knowledge of working with infants and toddlers. Cat is our current Sprout Garden Classroom teacher for the older children. She is also very passionate about gardening, meditating, traveling, hiking, horseback riding, and alternative medicine and healing practices.
“I’ve always been passionate about working with kids, and knew that’s what I wanted to do when I moved to the Valley. I am so grateful to have discovered Khalsa Childcare. I feel like everything started falling into place for me after I started working here. I earnestly value their morals and practices and feel very proud of the way we care for and teach our children. I feel very blessed to be a part of such a beautiful community of people.”
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A Holistic Approach for Children of All Ages
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Phone: (413) 548-9841
189 Long Plain Road, Leverett, MA 01054