About Us

Science has proven that an increase in "screen time" and decrease in time spent outdoors have an adverse effect on children. Contact with nature awakens our senses. By allowing children to explore and spend time with nature, we can foster and renew this connection with the natural world, which has been lost to classrooms and technology.  *Louv (2008) states that

“Natural play strengthens children’s self-confidence and arouses their senses” (p. 186).  

 

Children who learn and play outdoors are healthier and more socially well-adjusted, not to mention, their attention span is superior to children who spend the majority of their time indoors.  Our program addresses the whole child, his or her cognitive development, of course; but also social, emotional, communication and self-help areas of development.

*Louv,R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder (Updated and expanded). Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Landis Woods Nature Preschool is owned by Manheim Township and operates under the guidance and support of the Recreation and Park Planning Department.

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Meet the Staff

Matt Geyer

Lead Teacher

Mr. Matt Geyer

Lead Teacher

I graduated from Albright college with a B.S. in Psychology. I received My M.S. in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum from Drexel University. I grew up in Lancaster County. I live in Lebanon County with my wife and two daughters. I enjoy spending time with family, raising poultry and livestock and being outdoors. I volunteer as a 4-H leader in Lebanon County.
 

I graduated from Albright college with a B.S. in Psychology. I received My M.S. in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum from Drexel University. I grew up in Lancaster County. I live in Lebanon County with my wife and two daughters. I enjoy spending time with family, raising poultry and livestock and being outdoors. I volunteer as a 4-H leader in Lebanon County.
 

Nikki Axford

Substitute
Teacher

I earned a B.S. in Interior Architecture and MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am an active volunteer at Schaeffer Elementary and teach for Junior Achievement of South-Central PA.  I enjoy exploring nature on hikes with my two boys.
 

Preschool Aide

I earned my B.A. in Social Work from Millersville University and have worked with children of all ages in various settings. I have volunteered at camp retreats for children and youth, and recently spent part of the summer in Montana in a Nature and Yoga program.

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Rebecca Spencer
 

I have volunteered at Burrowes Elementary in Lancaster, in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms. I love seeing the creativity children bring and their curiosity of the world around them. I think nature is the best classroom and strive to make learning more fun! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my two children, reading books, cooking, and baking.

Alex
Van Pelt

Program Manager

Mr. Alex Van Pelt

I graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management with a focus in Environmental Interpretation. I grew up in York County but have lived in Lancaster County for the past few years. I enjoy working in my garden and exploring the outdoors.
 

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Joanna 
Mellinger

Preschool Aide