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Credentials & Experience:

- Peace Tree Director and Licensee

- Elementary and Early Childhood Degree from University of Wisconsin La Crosse

- Wisconsin Teaching License 1777 Regular Education EC-MC

- Montessori Certified Teaching Certificate E1

- Former Manager, Academic Success Coordinator, and STEM Coordinator with the Boys and Girls Club of the Sioux Empire

- Elementary School teacher for 6 years teaching Kindergarten, 1st grade and 5th grade

- Long term substitute for Middle School Art,  Middle School Guidance Counseling, and Elementary Special Education

My Story

For 7 years I tried to make myself fit into the existing world of children and education. I love children. I love learning, discovery, exploration, rocking a little one to sleep, a hug after a scraped knee, watching the concentration, determination, frustration, and the joy of a child who is figuring out life. When my second daughter was on the way, I decided I was done trying to make myself fit and was determined to create an environment that fit me, my family, and my beliefs about children and learning.


Peace Tree is not simply a child care center. We are a refuge for families, a place of peace. A place parents can trust while they seize the day in their own work life. A place where children feel safe, accepted, free to learn and explore their own way.

I have been able to pull knowledge from all my past experiences and create a child care setting that is inspired by the philosophies of Montessori and Reggio Emilia. Children are presented with a warm environment prepared for free exploration, and discovery. They are presented with opportunities to learn practical life skills and find independence.


The children drive the learning. To bring out the wonder and beauty that is already inside them. This is a place where every child is noticed and can be at peace.

Lydia Ekenstedt: wife, mother, business owner


Our Approach

Peace Tree sites are inspired by the Montessori and Reggio Emilia philosophies. We believe each child has an intuitive desire for discovery and independence. We strive to create a peaceful, supportive, and safe environment to help foster a passion for wonder, exploration, and self-awareness.

We want to value each individual child as someone who already has so much to give. Children are not merely empty vessels that a teacher needs to fill with knowledge. 

The teachers here at Peace Tree are meant to guide, observe, and prepare the environment in a way that invites discovery and learning. We hire and train our staff to help create a community of love, autonomy, and respect. Children can explore and move at their own pace in their own way.  Our greatest tool is to observe and follow the lead of the child.

To learn more about Montessori visit: About Montessori Education (

To learn more about Reggio Emilia visit: Reggio Emilia Approach | Reggio Children

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