Dr. Mahboubeh Asgari has a Ph.D. in Education From Simon Fraser University and is currently a post-doctoral researcher in Philosophical Inquiry with Children/Adults in the Faculty of Education at UBC. She is also a teacher at Self Design HomeSchool Association at Jericho working philosophical inquiry and art with homeschool children, and the Founder/Director of The School of Inquiry in Vancouver, BC. The School of Inquiry is a space dedicated to reflection and dialogue. Mahboubeh has created this space to nurture children’s thinking and their social-emotional well-being as well as to empower children to think critically, creatively and caringly. The School of Inquiry is also a space for parents, grandparents, teachers, and educators to inquire, reflect and have a dialogue about life, value, meaning and/or anything that matters in life.

Mahboubeh is passionate about drawing and painting (color pencil, chalk pastel, acrylic), too. She mainly uses vibrant colors and smooth curves inspired by nature to represent peace, liveliness, energy and love in her art. In her acrylic works, she usually uses Persian calligraphy (e.g. poems by Rumi). The words and poems she uses are mostly about love, life, and the meaning of life.

Mahboubeh works with love and care. She believes that deep down in every one of us there exists the purest form of love that can be nurtured and developed. This love can flourish by giving it selflessly and abundantly to everyone and everything without prejudice. She draws inspiration from this belief and the theme of love is a common thread that runs through everything she does.


Sholeh Mahlouji has a BA in Graphic Design and an MA in Illustration. She has worked as a graphic designer/illustrator with a number of children’s publications and educational organizations, and has developed and run various workshops for children and young adults such as block printing, puppet making, and illustration. Sholeh has also collaborated with Iranian National Section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) as children’s book reviewer. She is passionate about sharing the joy of creating art with children. Sholeh is now studying Early Childhood Education at Capilano University in North Vancouver.

Dr. Steven Taubeneck, Associate Professor, German and Philosophy, and Interim Chair, Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, UBC.  Dr. Taubeneck received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1988, and worked at the University of Washington from 1987-1992.  He has been a faculty member at UBC since then.  Dr. Taubeneck is an award-winning teacher who teaches German language, literature, history, film and philosophy, as well as Existentialism, Phenomenology and Hermeneutics.

Nancy Greenall has taught for over 30 years mostly teaching creative and critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills, at a District Challenge Center in Coquitlam. She is passionate about stretching the minds of young people so as to equip them to be flexible and creative thinkers. She has run her own Think Tank Challenge Center in Maple Ridge five years as well as worked for Self Design HomeSchool Association at Jericho for four years.

Lisa Sars

Lisa Sars began her career working with children at age 11 nannying for her two younger next door neighbours.  Many years later, with a contemporary dance training program under her belt plus 10 years work as a children’s storyteller and 8 years working in the capacity of a play, dance and yoga educator, she finds herself as: a mother of two beautiful kids, a very cuddly cat, and the wife of a local musical mastermind.

The dedication and devotion she holds in her heart for growth and learning, continually pushes her forward to take new risks, make her heart available to her students, and to challenge the idea of what it means to be an artist. What is an artist? Aren’t we all artists?

Her work encourages reflection in all contexts and in all ages, recognizing it’s the process of coming to an answer (or a question) that is an integral part of learning.  An avid reader she stays abreast of the latest studies in neuroscience (of great interest to her), coupled with many yogic and dance texts.


Dr. Bahareh Behdad is a French Instructor with  a PhD in Children’s Literature from the University of Maine in France. Using storybooks, Bahareh has been teaching French to children at two private language schools in Vancouver over the past two years. She has also been a researcher in Children’s Literature for the past 8 years and published several children’s storybooks. Bahareh focuses on improving children’s language skills as well as their critical thinking.  She enjoys reading storybooks to children and facilitating a dialogue with them.


Penny Leong Browne is an artist, curator and writer who lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. Her writing and art explores the practices of salvaging and the abject through the acts of giving and the socio-cultural complexities of the gift beyond commodified economies. She is especially interested in the aesthetic representation of everyday objects and how their production and consumption can be interpreted and intercepted in socially creative ways.  Her critical texts and prose works have appeared in various academic and literary journals such as Inderscience, Front Magazine, Capilano Review and Circulating Contexts – Curating Media / Net / Art, and Kapsula.. Her art work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at various galleries including the Surrey Art Gallery, Western Front, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Richmond Art Gallery, Performa 07 (NYC) and the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts and the Ontario Science Centre / Idea Gallery.

Alongside writing and making art, she is also a passionate homeschool mentor sharing her love for art, science and interdisciplinary explorations with young learners.  With an academic background that includes undergraduate degrees in Geography (UBC), Fine Arts (Painting / ECI) and more recently a Master of Applied Arts (Media) from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, her approach towards her own work and teaching is interdisciplinary, spanning visual arts, history, social geography, literary studies, critical theory and philosophy.

Whether it’s in creative work, mentoring or in her ongoing commitment towards fundraising for the arts, she believes that work practices, learning experiences and the creative process can be brought together in powerful and engaging ways of giving. Her current and in-progress philanthropic projects include an Emerging Designers Award for Goodhauss and Fulfyl, an online commerce platform for ethically-made goods that incorporates giving at both stages of their production and consumption.


Aida Hassani is an electrical engineer during the day and a professional cook at night! While she is busy getting her second master’s degree at UBC, she makes sure to find time to bake and cook. Aida learned how to bake and cook from her mom when she was very little; she now likes to share her love of culinary art with other children. Aida loves children and is always attentive and thoughtful towards them.

Aida can’t think of a better way of showing someone she cares than with freshly-baked cup cakes or a a home-cooked meal. She sees baking and cooking as a reflection of love to others and to herself.


Áurea’s experience as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) began 20 years ago. After completing her AMI Montessori training to work with families and children from 0 to 3 years of age, she pursued a master’s degree at the Mexican National University of Pedagogy, focused on the potential of the Montessori method to foster resilience among young children.

Currently, Áurea is a doctoral student in the Cross-Faculty Inquiry Program of the Faculty of Education at UBC, and the Graduate Academic Assistant of the Early Childhood Education Program. Her doctoral research focuses on socio-emotional aspects of early child development, caregiver and young children interactions, and infants and toddlers’ mental health.


Cecilia Chan has a BA in English and is currently a master’s student in the Children’s Literature program of the School of Archival, Library and Information Studies at UBC. Prior to her post-graduate studies, she worked in publishing and preschool education in Hong Kong. She wishes to prompt conversations among the industry, caregivers, and readers of all ages.


Nicole Mas is a passionate student of yoga, with over 15 years experience. Recognized by Alliance as an E-RYT 300 instructor, Nicole studied in Bali, Thailand, Mexico, Peru, Canada, and the US in various styles of yoga, breathwork, and qi gong.

Nicole is enthusiastic about bringing people together to share, stretch, and laugh.