Seeds of Learning – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 12 Mar 2020 20:54:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meet this year’s stars Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:00:02 +0000

Photo courtesy Ursala Hudson
This year’s Dancing with the Pagosa Stars lineup has been announced. Clockwise from top left are Chantelle Jordan, Gabriel Heraty, Theresa Snyder, Shane Lucero, Kent Curtis, Quinlan Quiros, Linda Parelli and Blue Haas.

By Ursala Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
Seeds of Learning is honored to announce the 2020 Dancing with the Pagosa Stars lineup. These stars were selected for their community leadership, personality and a belief in Seed’s education.
Our talented female stars are Linda Parelli, Quinlan Quiros, Chantelle Jordan and Theresa Snyder. Our respected male stars are Gabriel Heraty, Shane Lucero, Kent Curtis and Blue Haas. Dancing with the Pagosa Stars will be held on July 11 at the Ross Aragon Community Center.
These incredibly generous people have agreed to be paired with a professional dancer, learn a dance routine choreographed just for them and perform for your votes on July 11. It is a magical night at the Community Center.
Today you can go to the Seed’s website at to see bios of these competitive stars and vote for your favorites. Each $1 vote moves a star closer to winning the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy and bragging rights as the winner for the next year. But, more importantly, all the proceeds go to sustaining Seeds of Learning, where preschoolers are expertly prepared for school and for life.
This year, we have tickets ranging from $125 to $200, depending on which row you select. All tickets include a drink ticket, a buffet dinner served by a fine dining restaurant, a fabulous show and open dancing to DJ entertainment. Ticket sales will open to the public at 9 a.m. on June 5. Watch our website and Facebook page for specific instructions on ticket purchase.
Over the next few weeks, we will tell you more about these special people and why they have agreed to support Seeds. Each has a unique story and everyone associated with Seeds feels very lucky to have their amazing support. Their commitment to raise critically needed funds to educate vulnerable at-risk preschool children is truly inspiring. When you see these folks around town, be sure to let them know how special they are, and don’t forget to vote.

Get to know the Dancing with the Pagosa Stars coaches and staff Fri, 06 Mar 2020 12:00:41 +0000

Photo courtesy Ursala Hudson
Dancing with the Pagosa Stars is back, and this year’s coaches and staff have been announced. Clockwise from top left: Ashley Butcher, Ali Whitman, Pete Rodda, Casey Crow, Autumn von Flotow, Leslie Carlson and Nolan King. Not pictured: Kylie Ross, Sharina Ramsay-Adams and John Gilliam.

By Ursala Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
Dancing with the Pagosa Stars is back for a third year of dancing to support Pagosa Springs’ NAEYC-accredited preschool, Seeds of Learning.
On July 11, eight Pagosa stars with the support of eight dance coaches will take the stage at the Ross Aragon Community Center to spin and dip their way through thrilling dance routines. We are incredibly excited to introduce you to the coaches and production team.
Ali Whitman returns this year as our show director. Whitman is a national award-winning director/choreographer who brings over 30 years of expertise and a few years ago moved to Pagosa Springs from the San Diego area. Her productions have won major awards in the San Diego and Inland Empire areas.
Leslie Carlson returns this year as one of our choreographers. Carlson has been a professional dance instructor for over 20 years. She taught social dance with a studio in New Orleans for nine years before becoming an independent instructor and relocating to Durango in 2005.
Kylie Ross is returning as a choreographer for her third year involved in the event. A West Coast girl who has made her way to Pagosa Springs, Ross has 24 years of dance experience that began with tap, jazz and ballet. Ross’ career led her to a studio in Seattle, Wash., where she spent four years competing in West Coast swing, teaching and regularly performing with her students in studio productions.
Ashley Butcher is one of the fantastic coaches leading our stars through this process. Butcher is a Pagosa native who grew up with a love of dance. That love only grew as she discovered musical theater in high school, followed most recently by the last three burlesque productions performed at the Pagosa Center for the Arts (PSCA).
Sharina Ramsay-Adams returns this year as a coach. Ramsay-Adams plays recreational soccer in Durango, is a coach, and runs a garage door company in Durango. Ramsay-Adams has worked for the PSCA in “Doubt,” “Chicago,” “Full Monty,” “Office Space” and more. She dances in Snow Down Follie’s show in Durango and performs with the School of Movement.
Casey Crow is joining us as a coach for a second year. She is a dance artist, human rights activist and entrepreneur based in Pagosa Springs. Crow is the founder and president of Beyond Words International, a nonprofit providing art and dance therapy to survivors of trauma in the U.S. and abroad. She is also the owner and director of the local dance academy. Crow is trained in all styles of dance, having performed with the Blank Canvas Dance Company, Thingamajig Theatre Company and the School of Movement.
Nolan King, having danced for several years, has trained under several of the top dance instructors in the United States and is excited to be coaching the Pagosa stars for a third year. He now is an instructor himself, teaching at a studio in Cortez, which he co-owns with his sister, Cassidy.
John Gilliam is a realtor, as well as a national real estate instructor and private fiduciary. He has always had a love of music, began dancing while in college and then worked as a social dance instructor for several years. Gilliam is returning for his second year as a star coach.
Pete Rodda will be joining us from the world of natural horsemanship and training. For more than 15 years, he’s been using his fun and imaginative personality to teach his students how to better understand the nature of the horse. Gaining the nickname of “Dancin’ Pete” for his love of dance back in college, he oftentimes uses it as a technique to communicate with horses. He has danced with his horse, River, in the Eggus Projects, as well as in many demos throughout the years. Rodda is looking forward to coaching a human partner in this year’s event.
A self-employed excavation contractor for over 20 years, Jason Chapman has a passion for the creative side of home building. Originally from Southern California, Chapman moved to Durango in 2001, where he discovered the world of dance. He’s now been studying dance locally and abroad for the past six years and is excited to share his expertise with his star as a coach.
Autumn von Flotow will also be joining us as a coach this year. Social dancing in high school led to an interest in swing during her college years. She found the West Coast swing community that sparked a lifelong passion for dance, eventually leading to ballroom dancing and competing before moving to Durango in 2015.
If you’d like to catch more about these dedicated coaches and staff, be sure to like and follow our Facebook page. Tickets will be available in June. More information on when and how to get tickets is available at And watch next week’s SUN for our debut of the Pagosa stars.

Dancing with the Pagosa Stars set to return in July Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:00:04 +0000 By Ursala Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
Last year, “Dancing with the Pagosa Stars” brought Pagosa together to dance, eat and support Seeds of Learning, and this wildly popular event is back this year and better than ever. On July 11, eight Pagosa stars and their coaches will perform dance routines similar to the “Dancing with the Stars” television show, all to benefit Seeds of Learning.
Seeds of Learning is Pagosa Springs’ very own high-quality early education facility that provides education to the area’s preschoolers. Seeds of Learning is one of only 10 percent of preschools in the United States to be nationally accredited. This wonderful organization serves at-risk children whose futures are brighter because of their Seeds education.
The “Dancing with the Pagosa Stars” event raises money for over 80 percent of Seeds families who cannot afford the full tuition price of $54 per day so that more children can have access to the life-changing education center.
More information on “Dancing with the Pagosa Stars” will be revealed as we all excitingly prepare for the dance-filled night. To keep up with all of the updates, please visit Facebook and like the “Dancing with the Pagosa Stars” page. There you’ll find info about the event, ticket sales, the choreographers and coaches, and we will be revealing our 2020 Stars on March 12. You’ll even learn about some of the many reasons to support Seeds of Learning.
Mark your calendars now for “Dancing with the Pagosa Stars,” to be held on July 11 at 5:45 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Tickets for this fun event will go on sale on June 5, and details on how to obtain tickets will be available in future articles and on our Facebook page.

Youngsters make meatballs at Seeds of Learning Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:00:12 +0000 By Ursala Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW

After washing up and donning oversized plastic gloves, the 4-year-olds in the Seeds of Learning Ladybug classroom began forming the beginnings of their morning snack in the palms of their hands. Culinary chef, native Pagosan and Ladybug mother Nikki Macomber led the week’s cooking lesson on how to whip up authentic meatballs using a simple yet flavorful recipe straight from Italy.
Some of the playdough hobbyists masterfully rolled the mush into light, uniform balls, while others were satisfied with simply getting their patted meat onto the baking pan before it fell apart. They lined up the balls into the straightest rows they could manage and Macomber slid the pans in the school oven to bake — just long enough for a little play break before snack time.
After witnessing only the finest and freshest ingredients get grated, chopped, crumbled and folded in the big steel bowl — and skillfully baked by a credible mom — each child boldly tasted the warm creations as soon as they were plated in front of them. A couple boys speculated that they tasted an awful lot like blueberries, the majority recognized the fresh Parmesan flavor and everyone agreed that they were worth devouring to the last crumb.
On a regular basis, parents and community members visit the various classrooms at Seeds with unique lessons from their area of expertise. From art and music projects, to science and naturalism, the children are exposed to hands-on experiences that spark further inquiry and broaden their perspectives.
Seeds of Learning is a nonprofit, high-quality early child care and education center in Pagosa Springs. If you are interested in learning more about the center, please call 264-5513 or visit for more information and a tour of the center.

Sign up now for Incredible Years Parenting Class Wed, 15 Jan 2020 12:00:06 +0000 By Michelle Carpenter
Special to The SUN
The Incredible Years Parenting Class is a free opportunity offered to anyone who wants to build positive relationships with their children, needs more effective discipline or would like new ideas to help their children learn and grow. This class is created for families with children between the ages of 3 and 8 years.
The parenting class will be offered on Monday nights from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for 14 weeks, starting Monday, Jan. 20, at Seeds of Learning. A free dinner will be provided for the entire family and there will be free child care.
The Incredible Years Parenting class will help strengthen children’s social skills, emotional regulation and school readiness skills. You will learn to use praise and incentives to encourage cooperative behavior, learn to use positive discipline (rules, routines and effective limit setting) as well as learn how to best handle misbehaviors.
A local father said, “At first, I was not all that eager to give up another night of my free time for 14 weeks, but over time, the other class members became such good friends. I realized I wasn’t the only parent having the same struggles with my children. I was astounded at the degree of effectiveness from the class. My son was responding very positively to the techniques I had learned and began implementing at home. This class became a weekly meeting that I looked forward to each week as a positive gathering of friends.”
If you have any questions about the class or would like to register, please call Michelle Carpenter at 946-0664 or Lynne Bridges at 264-5513. Call soon as class size is limited.

Preschools spread the holiday spirit at the Senior Center Tue, 24 Dec 2019 12:00:54 +0000

Photos courtesy Seeds of Learning
Scene … celebrating the season with Seeds of Learning and the Pagosa Springs Senior Center. Preschoolers visited the Senior Center last week, spreading cheer with poems and songs of the season.

By Ursala Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
Pagosa’s youngest performers paid a visit to the Pagosa Springs Senior Center this past week to spread the holiday cheer. The tiny voices of Seeds of Learning preschoolers recited poems and sang songs of the season to delighted and appreciative audiences.
Each of the three classes from Seeds of Learning visited the Senior Center at the Ross Aragon Community Center before lunch was served to the seniors; the Dragonfly classroom visited Tuesday, the 4-year-old Ladybugs on Wednesday and the 5-year-old Butterflies on Friday.
This was the 17th year that the preschoolers have visited the senior center during the holiday season. Each year, the children ride the three blocks from Seeds of Learning Center to the Senior Center on the Mountain Express Transit, which is an annual treat they eagerly anticipate during the weeks preceding.
Dave Krueger — the center’s treasured volunteer and former Pagosa Springs Elementary School music teacher — begins practicing the holiday program songs with the Seeds students several weeks in advance.
This year, the children learned the words and created hand motions to “Snowflake,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The older students were delighted to share their hard work with a crowd, while the youngest students surprised their audience with an impromptu unstructured dance to Krueger’s ukulele accompaniment, which was naturally well received.
The classrooms also work to create handmade gifts that each child personally delivers to a new senior center friend to uphold the season of giving and to warm the hearts of the seniors. Gifts range in style from ornaments to abstract miniature canvas art.

Seeds of Learning: Experiencing the wonders of science as a family Wed, 30 Oct 2019 11:00:55 +0000 By Ursala Hudson
Special to The SUN
Children, families, teachers and staff gathered at Seeds of Learning Early Care and Education Center on Oct. 17 for a family night of science explorations.
Each classroom had two or three developmentally appropriate science experiments, although parents and siblings of all ages seemed thrilled to explore the marvels of physics and chemistry through play. Aluminum boats carried loads of jewels, volcanoes erupted colorful foam and raisins danced as the seemingly magical was explained through scientific terms.
The concept of Science Night stems from the original Seeds tradition of hosting educational family gatherings, which were replaced over the past decade by themed parties that generally featured child-centered games, activities and snacks. Seeds teachers and administrators are excited to return to exploring different ways of having fun together, with Literacy Night planned during the winter quarter and Art Night scheduled for spring.

Seeds of Learning holds back-to-school barbecue Tue, 01 Oct 2019 11:00:30 +0000

Photos courtesy Ursala Hudson

By Ursala Hudson
Special to The SUN
Seeds of Learning families and staff celebrated the start of yet another school year at the back-to school barbecue this past Thursday. A potluck dinner was shared on the back deck of the school, with families and board members bringing the side dishes, and Seeds providing the hamburgers and hot dogs.
Enjoying the early childhood learning center after hours can have an impact on everyone’s relationship with each other and the facility. Adults are given the opportunity to meet each other on a casual basis and parents can watch how their kids interact with other children.
To conclude the event, parents visited their child’s classroom and listened to a presentation by the teacher and her trusty sidekick, Dina the Dinosaur — a large puppet that helps facilitate the social emotional learning curriculum used at Seeds. The teachers shared classroom procedures, expectations and daily rhythms, and parents were given the opportunity to have any questions answered.
The Seeds of Learning Board of Directors and the Family Involvement Committee sponsored the event, with the mission of building strong relationships among staff, parents and students.

Photo courtesy Ursala Hudson

Seeds of Learning Thu, 26 Sep 2019 10:53:25 +0000

Photo courtesy Ursala Hudson

Seeds of Learning families and staff celebrated the start of the school year at a back-to-school barbecue last week that included chasing bubbles, along with other fun activities.

Seeds of Learning’s online voting for Dancing with the Pagosa Stars closes Friday Thu, 18 Jul 2019 21:00:41 +0000

Photo courtesy Seeds of Learning
Each vote in Dancing with the Pagosa Stars helps support programs like Dinosaur School at Seeds of Learning. Dancing with the Pagosa Stars is Saturday, July 20, with online voting ending at 5 p.m. Friday, July 19.

By Tess Wisher
Special to The PREVIEW
The stars of Dancing with the Pagosa Stars have been anxiously preparing for this year’s event. Annita Bens, Jason Cox, Chris Hopkins, Mike Le Roux, Laura Moore, Steve Potter, Nicki Smith and Evelyn Tennyson have all spent countless hours practicing their dips and turns in preparation for July 20.
These amazing Pagosa Springs stars have also been rallying their friends and family to vote early online so they can win the Mirror Ball Trophy.
All of these votes are being counted up and put toward each star’s race toward the Mirror Ball Trophy. This online voting closes tomorrow, Friday, July 19, at 5 p.m. and each star is still trying to rack up the votes for themselves and, most importantly, the children at Seeds of Learning. Each $1 vote goes directly to support Seeds of Learning to continue to provide high-quality early education in Pagosa Springs. Attendees will be able to vote, via ballot, at the event on Saturday, July 20, at 5:45 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center.
Eighty percent of the children enrolled at Seeds are considered low income or at risk, meeting one or more criteria such as living at or below poverty level, having disabilities, or living in a household with family and/or parent challenges. To ensure that these kids can have access to high-quality early education, all families pay tuition on a sliding scale based on income. This means 80 percent of the Seeds families cannot afford to pay the full tuition of $52 per day, with many paying $30 per day. Dancing with the Pagosa Stars is one of the ways Seeds strives to raise the additional $22 per day.
Each one of your votes for these fabulous stars makes it possible for many Pagosa Springs kids to get a high-quality early education. So if you’d like to support these stars and Seeds kids, go to now and vote for your favorite star.