Mission and History

Where did it happen?  When did it happen?  Where and when did it not happen?  Once upon a time, many years ago now, Julie Yarnall got her driver’s licensce and would travel as much as she could from Los Angeles, from whence she hails to the Northern lands of CA.  There was just something about the beauty and way of life in Northern CA that called to her.  On one of her visits to a little town called Petaluma, she had the chance to visit a small little school called Heart and Hands and they fell in love.  Was it the towering Redwood trees that stand as guardians of the space or the magical nooks and crannies that are all about?  She doesn’t know to this day but there was a sense of such awe and wonder and a relationship was seeded.  Many years later when Julie moved from Los Angeles to Petaluma to teach Kindergarten at Live Oak Charter School, the seed began to sprout.  Dreams of owning her own school began to knock and her heart.  Julie knew that she could never open a preschool of her very own as long as Heart and Hands was open as she never wanted to be in competition with Donyu, the previous owner, and then life took an interesting twist.  One day a little bird whispered in Julie’s ear that Heart and Hands was closing and she knew that this could never been the case.  She knew how long it had been there and how many families had been served.  Julie contacted Donyu and the two met up in the Knitterly, the local yarn shop and dreams started formulating and taking more shape.  A new vision and dream was taking form……

Julie took over ownership in September of this year and Donyu Catino has moved to Oregon.  Knowing that Julie had big shoes to fill, she worked with Donyu through the transition, taking in all she could.  Donyu is a long time master Waldorf teacher as well as so many other marvelous things.  She wears many, many hats and Hearts and Hands was her dream, as well as Julie’s so it simply must succeed!  The foundation for Heart and Hands was laid and opened 27 years ago and there is a lot of rich history there…….the children are digging up old treasures every day!   The house and preschool are the work of Donyu and her dear husband Ezra and are such a work of art.  The Catino’s daughters both attended Heart and Hand’s and it was a true family endeavor.   And so it goes……Heart and Hand’s lives on through the current vision of Julie Yarnall.

Julie taught preschool for many years before going back to college to earn her BA and CA teaching credential.  After graduating from college, she taught public school in Inglewood, CA for 3 years and then decided that teaching in that form was not for her.  She was searching for a new career path and that was when she discovered Waldorf Education and her life was forever changed.  That was 13 years ago now.  Since that time Julie has earned 2 Master’s degrees, one in Early Childhood Education, and the other in Waldorf Education.  She is Waldorf certified to teach the grades, Handwork, and Early childhood education.  She taught grades 1-3 at Ocean Charter School in Los Angeles, and Kindergarten and Handwork, grades 1-8 at Live Oak Charter School in Petaluma.

Julie is beyond excited to be on this new path with Heart and Hands.  It is a dream come true!  Heart and Hands is the first step in a bigger picture that unfolds each day.