About

Our Story

Colleen & Leah have a shared passion in creating beautiful environments for young children. They came to understand, from their many years teaching, that room design and material choice have a huge impact on a child’s early development. They believe the environment is also a teacher, where children learn to feel capable and confident.

As Colleen & Leah welcomed young children into their personal lives, they also came to understand that life can get messy with little ones in tow. They realized it’s difficult to maintain the organization and flow of a home when children are constantly growing and changing.

Colleen & Leah created Nurtured Spaces from their belief that… the magic of early childhood begins in the home. They believe ALL families are capable of creating this magic. Since the moment these two met, they had been searching for a way to share their passion of creating beautiful childhood environments while supporting families in these environments. Thus, Colleen & Leah created Nurtured Spaces to bring beautiful + functional spaces for children into the homes of growing families like yours.

 

Our Team

Colleen Connolly

Nurtured Spaces’
Resident Artist

Colleen brings over 10 years’ experience teaching in art and early childhood education. She received her BA in Art History with a focus in Metalworking from Penn State University. After her studies, she founded her own jewelry business, while she worked in NYC galleries. When she began teaching young children, Colleen decided to uproot to Portland, OR. She received a Masters in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College, with endorsements in Literacy for Early Childhood Education and a focus in the Reggio Emilia and constructivist philosophies. In Portland, she taught pre-school and kindergarten at Childswork Learning Center, the Opal School in The Children’s Museum, Catlin Gabel School, and KairosPDX Charter School.

Her most treasured moments with young children are experimenting with watercolors, working in clay, and snuggling into a good book. Alongside consulting at Nurtured Spaces, Colleen manages NS project artists and contractors, collaborates with the NS design team, and keeps the day-to-day operations moving smoothly. All other times, Colleen can be found in her art studio, hugging Juniper (and her other quirky chickens), or enjoying coffee with friends.

 

Leah Schoonover

Nurtured Spaces’
Less-is-More Guru

Leah brings over 10 years’ experience teaching in early childhood education with specialization in special needs and curriculum development. From an early age, Leah’s beautiful sense of design flourished as she lived amongst a family of artists and curators. Leah received her BA in Fine Arts and Early Childhood & Elementary Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Once relocating to Portland, OR Leah started teaching at Childswork Learning Center, where she became a mentor for many of her peers, as well as spearheaded the Kindergarten Program now thriving at the school. Leah is pursuing her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University, as well as raising two beautiful girls with her husband, Ryan.

Leah loves experiencing the outdoors with young children, whether hiking through the gorge, building sand castles at the beach, or playing at her neighborhood park. Alongside consulting, Leah handles Nurtured Spaces’ big picture to-do lists and upholds the NS less is more philosophy. All other times, Leah can be found out and about with her family gardening or toasting friends with local IPAs.