We are passionate about Early Childhood Education, practicing mindfulness, and love the outdoors! Mana Kids connects children and families to each other, their community, and all life on this planet. We engage in intentional play, sharing, and creating using resources found in nature.
The program was founded by Erika Prado Esposto a Bay Area native and 1st generation Chicana with a strong knowledge of educational theory and philosophy. Erika is an energetic, creative, active, and mission-driven leader who is passionate about appreciating nature and the connection of the mind, body, and spirit.
Since she was young Erika constantly found herself fascinated by the idea of self-growth and transformation. In 2015 she attended an outdoor retreat for women, and it changed her life forever. After a week-long retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains, she had the vision to create an outdoor nature program for young children. It was in spending time outdoors, with the birds, trees, fauna and other conscious people that the true connection to all living things was felt. She began a daily/weekly regimen of meditation, yoga, journaling, reading books about conscious living, and in 2017 she helped gather 25+ women in the Santa Cruz mountains for a women's healing retreat.
In 2009 she attained a B.A. Degree in Child Development, and worked as an intern at Children's Campus located at San Francisco State University.
In 2010 she attained a Teacher Researcher degree. She and colleague Anna Tobin Wallis presented at the American Education Research Association on the Emergent Science Inquiry for Preschoolers.
Later in 2012, she attained an M.A. Degree in Education: Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State.
Recently she completed a Mindfulness-Based Stressed Reduction program so she can incorporate learnings into the curriculum for Mana Kids. And in October 2018 she received training as mindfulness teacher.
On her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, planning the next gathering with friends, yoga, reading, snowboarding, wakeboarding, playing co-ed soccer, gardening, hiking, traveling to new places, all while practicing mindfulness by remembering to slow down to stay present.
S T A F F
Erika Esposto (M.A.), Founder & Instructor
Jessica Belale (B.A.), Volunteer, Co-Director of Infant Program in Palo Alto, CA