Children develop a love or an aversion for learning in the first few years of life.  Therefore, we work to design our program to generate a lifelong desire to explore, question, and create.  We plan our classroom environment and age-appropriate curriculum to best support and nurture our children’s interests and needs.  We give the children a wide range of opportunities to experience and learn from their environment, which will provide them with skills that will serve them not only in the short-term but also throughout life.

Barbara Spruill-ButterfliesBarb

Though I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, I have always found a way for my professional endeavors to revolve around children ~ my true passion!  Prior to joining The Learning Gardens in 2012, I was the Director of Continuing Education at Therapeutic Resources, Inc., where I planned and coordinated the company’s educational workshops for Pediatric Occupational Therapists, and other professionals who specialize in caring for children with special needs. I was fortunate enough to occasionally, lend a hand to the therapists with the kiddos in the clinic.  I also worked for the Madison Metropolitan School District as a Special Education Assistant, and found working directly with kids very rewarding. Feeding my love for books, I enjoyed stints working at the Madison Public Library and at Barnes & Noble, where I was able to work in their Children’s Departments and lead Parent/Child Book Clubs.  When my two daughters, Kristen & Melissa, were little, I was a stay-at-home mom … which was a term I always considered an oxymoron since we rarely stayed at home!  I was a volunteer extraordinaire for many of their activities, and as a result held the following titles: Classroom Parent Representative (x2), Brownie & Girl Scout Leader, Sunday School Teacher and was even the PTA President!  Yes, those were fun and busy days!  My girls and I took advantage of the many wonderful educational activities in and around Madison ~ such a great place to raise a family!  In my spare time, I love spending time with my husband, Jeff, getting together with our now, adult daughters and hanging out with our big, golden-doodle dog! I find solace in playing piano or gardening and I am always in the midst of a great book.

I love working with our Butterfly Room kiddos, watching them make discoveries and helping them become more and more independent.  I especially delight in watching their faces light up when they accomplish a difficult task and proudly announce, “I did it!”  With a lot of love, patience and a good sense of humor, I do my best to make each-and-every child feel good about themselves and help instill in them a love for learning which they can carry into their bright futures!



Hello!  My name is Shanti and I have a love for learning about new places, cultures, history, and people! I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology & Gender and Women Studies I also minored in Classics, Archaeology and Latin. Throughout my education my focus has always been on children. From a young age I knew that I not only wanted to work with children but that I had a real passion for child development. Over the years I have worked in preschools, tutored children of various ages, taught courses for young advanced learners and completed research on child development/cognitive milestones. Outside of work I love to do yoga, go for runs and spend time with my Siberian Husky puppy, Phillip. One of my favorite things to do is wake up on Saturday morning with a cup of tea and a good book– one of my all time favorites is The Big Friendly Giant!  I absolutely love the fun and positive learning environment! The best way to grow and learn is by having fun.



P:  608-238-6700  x115

Leig14322512_10210716153922219_6457869700148803295_nh, Butterfly Volunteer

Leigh has been a volunteer at The Learning Gardens since 2010!  She loves to visit in the Butterfly classroom during the morning hours each week.  Leigh enjoys going on nature walks, arts and crafts and participating in JumpBunch. She is a big help in the classroom as she assists the children in their daily tasks. She also likes to be a help in the kitchen with Chef Julie!