The staff of Roots & Fruits is committed to providing high-quality education and extended child-care to children and their families. Roots & Fruits teachers attend professional development workshops, conferences, and seminars through the year to keep them aware of innovative and current information in the field of early childhood education. The staff strives to know each individual child so they can respond to specific needs and realize every child’s developmental potential. Roots & Fruits’ foundation is based on the value of partnership between the school, family, and community at large, to create a progressive, thriving, holistic program for our children.
Gina Forbes, Director
Roots and Fruits Preschool
The daughter of a teacher, Gina was born and raised in Southeastern Connecticut where she was surrounded by her younger sister and several younger cousins and neighbors. Since she was old enough, she was charged with babysitting and overseeing the young kids in her life or helping her mother set up classroom activities. While teaching and learning were integral parts of Gina’s entire life, she first fiercely pursued a BA in psychology at Simmons College in Boston and studied reproductive health. She became a doula in 2004 and spent almost 10 years working with families during the childbearing year in a variety of capacities- educating, supporting, and facilitating well-being for prenatal, birth, and the postpartum. In 2008, her son Chester was born and he has been her biggest teacher of how to appropriately and effectively support children and families as they develop over time. Gina’s interest in family well-being has expanded beyond the childbearing year and she is excited to be working with children in the 3-5 year old range. She received her Masters of Education in Early Childhood from Goddard College in Vermont and is a certified early childhood educator (birth through Grade 3) in the State of Maine.
Gina is excited to integrate her past experience in the birth world, drawing on her holistic roots, with her tools as an early childhood educator and experience working with non-profit organizations to lead Roots and Fruits Preschool in the field of progressive, peace-based and social justice education.
Nadia Jackson, Lead Teacher, Assistant Director & Medicine Woman
Roots and Fruits Preschool
Nadia S. Jackson is often referred to as a naturally intuitive preschool teacher, mother, grandmother, Reiki healer, and Spiritual Universal Light worker.
First born in every way to a southern family in the nostalgic city of New Orleans had it’s privileges & advantages, like adults believing and respecting a little girl as an old soul returned; eclectic source of nationalities from around the globe playing and living in her neighborhood; the famous French Quarter; and being responsible/charged with younger siblings and children in the neighborhood.
Nadia has extensive experience working with children of many cultures and has taught in four major metropolitan cities in the country. She worked as a director in a Washington, DC preschool kindergarten center for over eight years and still keeps in touch with many of the families that attended the center.
Since being invited to live in Maine by a Washington, DC family that transplanted to the New England area, families from other parts of the country still keep in touch and have come up to Maine to visit her.
In Portland, Maine, she has participated in and trained the early literacy program and served on the board of the Raising Readers program for two and half years. Since 2008, Nadia’s training has been in the areas of Science of Compassion, Assertiveness & Workplace Communication, Nonviolent Communication, and Language of the Heart.
Hayley Brennan, Afternoon Art Educator
Roots and Fruits Preschool Program
Hayley Brennan always finds a place for her creative soul to shine whether it be through art, yoga, meditation, or being outside amidst trees or in vast open spaces. Raised on the coast of Maine in an old home atop the Androscoggin River, Hayley finds solace in all things that take her back to her roots.
In 2011, she earned a B.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in painting from the University of Southern Maine. During college, she fell in love with the healing power of yoga to aid with personal life battles and transitions. She completed a 200-hour Vinyasa/Hatha yoga teacher training through Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams, MA. Hayley continued her spiritual journey and discovered the benefits of meditation and breathing practices through the Art of Living Foundation, a nonprofit organization that teaches tools for stress management. She has taken several courses on happiness, silence, meditation, and leadership development, and is inspired to help others thrive using the gifts that Mother Earth has to offer.
Hayley radiates a sense of joy and calmness in her teachings that put children at ease. She seeks to bring out the humorous, not so serious side in all her students so they can relax in the process of creative expression. Hayley enjoys yoga, dancing, hikes, dogs, painting, and learning new things. She hopes to inspire all to nurture the peaceful place within themselves so they can soar and blossom in the world leading with their hearts first.