Meet the Playworkers


NLA was founded in 2012 by Joy Nissley a mother of four, child advocate, and passionate play worker! Joy has been working with children for more than 20 years and is influenced by Bev Bos from The Roseville Community Preschool and Susan Caruso from Sunflower Creative Arts.

Check out this recent feature in VoyageATL to learn more about our Founder/Director: Meet Joy Nissley of Natural Learning Alternative

Audrey Albright: Lead Wildings Playworker

Audrey has been working with children since the early 2000’s and has worked at many Metro Atlanta cultural institutions such as Zoo Atlanta, The Woodruff Arts Center, The Chattahoochee Nature Center and Chastain Art Center. She started attending NLA when her oldest daughter was two and half and has been teaching there since 2016. Audrey strongly believes in NLA’s mission to support child led education and feels like she has found a true home with this community.

Audrey was unschooled her entire life until college and now holds a bachelors degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design and a masters degree in art education from Georgia State University. Alternative education and art remain her two greatest passions and she is currently unschooling her two daughters, Echo and Clover.

In her spare time Audrey enjoys reading, painting, cooking and travel. She loves being a Georgia peach and currently lives in Marietta with her family.

Audrey is also the creator of Artkeyology, an art subscription box for kids combining studio projects and art history.

Shawna Husted: Lead Seedlings Playworker

Shawna is thrilled to be part of the NLA team once again this year. For the past six years she has been blessed to have the opportunity to learn, explore, and create with her own three children, her son (6 1/2) who is in first grade this year, one daughter (4 1/2) who is in preK part time and will also attend NLA, and her other daughter (2 1/2) who stays at home with Shawna and will attend NLA. Now, Shawna is excited to get to learn, explore, and create with the other wonderful families that make up NLA.

Despite earning a Bachelors of Science in Horticulture from Clemson University in 2007, Shawna has always been passionate about working with children whether through nannying, volunteering, or teaching, understanding that nurturing today’s youth, respecting their individual personalities, guiding their curiosity, and expanding their confidence and intelligence will help kids turn into strong, purposeful adults.

Having previously put her degree to use by combining her love of helping plants grow with her passion for helping children grow as the Head of Children’s Events at the Growing Place in Aurora, Illinois for seven years, Shawna is now looking forward to helping the curious little minds of NLA learn and grow. Shawna also spent the past year teaching part-time at a Reggio-inspired preschool while also helping out at NLA and this year is excited to be able to completely focus her knowledge and training in the Reggio world on NLA.

Using her past experiences from home life and the working world, Shawna hopes to meet the children of NLA on a common ground, understanding how thrilling (and sometimes challenging) exploring our world can be. Hopefully sharing her experiences with them and supporting their bravery and curiosity as they learn and explore can lead to many more fun and exciting experiences to come!

Ashley Reddington: Program Director and Lead Wildings Playworker

Ashley holds a BA in Human Geography and is a life-schooling Mom of two.


As I watched my first daughter grow, I realized she had more to teach me than I did her. I began to question whether conventional education could meet children's needs, and from those queries, I found my footing in alternative learning.

I have six years of experience working with children at a homeschool enrichment program focused on project-based learning, self-directed play, and community building.

My favorite ways to facilitate learning include exploration, observation, and freedom to be a child. I am a firm believer that through these simple techniques, children thrive. I am excited to join the NLA team and bring my passion for self-led learning, yoga, nature, and gratitude to the children and parents in this community!

Are you interested in joining our team of Playworkers? We are always looking for NLA Playworkers who are passionate about children learning through PLAY!

Please email Ashley at ashleyreddingtonnla@gmail for more information!