CHILDHOOD JOY

CHILDHOOD JOY

Children need quality time outdoors, every day. I plan and facilitate outdoor, exploratory and adventurous play and learning activities for youth. Activities afford them the opportunity for transcendent and emergent nature experiences. By giving children time to explore and know their places well, “They become a part of the community, rather than a passive observer of it.(David Sobel (2005). Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms & Communities)

Children’s passions and interests are key aspects of planning the day’s adventure.  Review, recall and reflection discussions and activities enable children to develop behaviors and points-of-view that become habits. Mary has her bag of tricks, with playful activities focused on the 7 Principles of Childhood and Nature, play, science, ecological principles, group bonding and building strong connections with nature and their community. Clothing appropriate for current weather conditions will be imperative.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just a poor choice of clothing.” 

Monthly themes:
September – Following Paths & Constructing Adventures: Mapping and  Navigation, Geocaching
October –  Hunting and Gathering: Plant & Animal ID, Nature Photography
November – Animal Allies: Giving thanks, connecting with nature, and service-to-nature projects
December – Making Forts and Special Places: Weather, snow science, winter adaptations and shelter-building
January – Descending into Fantasies: Story telling, writing, photography, videography and performances.
February – Creating Small Worlds: Building our own world, in a special place.
March – Trash to Treasure:  Repurpose waste into usable art, instruments, tools, etc.
April – New life! Nature observations and scientific method; nature art
May – Book Trails: connecting literature with personal experiences

FRIDAY INTEREST TRIPS                        

Students are engaged in a full day adventure, connecting academic learning with physical activity. For example, learning about the geology of Glenwood Canyon while biking along or rafting on the Colorado River. Learning to SCUBA dive while learning about the human body. Any scientific, natural history, musical, and artistic learning goal can be woven into an outdoor adventure.Min.2/Max 6. Cost $65/day + any activity fee.

 

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Observation and Contemplation

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Animal Allies

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Obstacles are opportunities

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Building relationships 

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Climbing to great heights!  

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Soaking and Bonding OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Making waves! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

EXPLORING CONNECTIONS: EARTH, WATER, AIR, FIRE

Sample Skills and Learning Opportunities 

Intro routines

science mysteries (objects, current research/science news, legends/myths)

-quote to start the day

-nature names

-5-10 main games (observation games, team building games, and review games)

Mid-Program routines

-sit spots (solo meditation in their special spot)

-wandering with guide books: trees, Wilderness Survival, Edible Wild Plants, Animal Tracks, Mushrooms, Rocks and Minerals, How-to tie Purposeful Knots

-journaling

-seasonal monitoring (precipitation, bird boxes, bug traps, animal track stations, bee blocks)

-skills training: watching wildlife, photography, natural print making

Wrap-up routines

– reflections, such as “roses and thorns” (best and worst part of the day)

– carrying learning forward, into our day-to-day lives

– future planning

Skills

scientific method/asking questions and making a plan to get answers

-using guide books

-handling and caring for animals

-building shelters

-plant identification and uses

-survival fire construction

-making cordage

-sewing

-observation/drawing in nature

-water from leaves/solar still

-music (set of songs we learn together)

-setting-up camp

-fire skills (1 match fires, flint/steel, magnesium, etc.)

Book Trails 

In collaboration with local libraries, children will participate in the after-school program (above), which includes sitting outside listening to Mary read a book she’s chosen that represents prior experiences of students on their after-school journeys out yonder.

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Middle School Sustainability Program (6th-8th)

The middle school wildness program will involve the 3E’s (Economy, Equity, Environment) of sustainability activities.  We will take an look at the food industry and nutrition, “food wastelands”, local-vesting and volunteerism, share- and micro-businesses, social entrepreneurship, as we read books like The Story of Stuff, The Myth of Progress, and In Praise of Slowness. $10/hr

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Home School Science Program (3rd5th)

Utilizing  constructivist, place-based, experiential and exploratory learning pedagogies, student’s skills, interests and passions will guide lessons and activities. Lesson will be held in a location most convenient for learner(s) and teacher, while connecting to the learning goal. $10/hr

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High School Semester JOY (9-10th)

Year-long course. One block period during school day.

First Semester focuses on preparing for the next semester’s Road School trip, planned, designed and implemented by students. Small group (4-6 students) plans the complete semester on the road during the fall semester, using skills learned in academic classes: reading, writing, research, history, map reading, geography, science, technology, music, art, wood shop and mechanics. Four principles will guide planning; Peace, Joy, Fun and Purpose. Students will learn how to “fun-raise” to pay for their semester on the road, and reach out to communities to seek other options for housing and food. $TBD

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