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OUR EDUCATIONAL APPROACH

We trust & believe in the capabilities of all children.

All of our learning develops from trust-based relationships, interconnectedness, and a felt sense of belonging. 

We intentionally bring together young children, their families, and experts in the fields of ecology & child development. Our goal is to cultivate spaces that invite children & community to develop their own reciprocity with nature. We aim to develop a sense of stewardship of the land & to nurture children's inherent curiosity, awe & wonder of the natural world. 


All of our programming supports child-led, inquiry-based, play-based learning. We meet children where they are in their explorations and co-create learning with children. We ensure that we build a diverse group of educators and volunteers to share their expertise with children & the community.

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Image by Kyle Nieber
It is with the understanding that these pedagogies both complement other 'progressive' forms of education and sit on the shoulders of 'ways of knowing' in relation to learners and the natural world that go far back into our human evolution.

We give more than we take

We are an outdoor based preschool or Forest Preschool and we also collaborate with other elementary, middle schools, home schools and "unschools" to support academic learning with regenerative learning ecologies for all ages.  We use adventurous learning found within land-based and nature-based pedagogy with our youngest learners and experience them with multigenerational family systems to create transformation. 

A deeper dive into how we teach

1

Students and families learn about themselves physically, emotionally and socially in relation to the land and water they live and depend on. As we learn more about Traditional Ecological Knowledge and related fields, we learn from indigenous teachers, writers, organizers, and advocates. From land stewardship, to reciprocal relationships with the more than human world, we co-facilitate young learners understanding of how to be eco-citizens and change-makers.

Learn more from Indigenous Ecologist and Author, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and her book Braiding Sweetgrass.

2

Adventurous Learning: A pedagogy for a changing world

Eachtraíochta;

Te haerenga;

Hana hoʻopīhoihoi; 

Mea wiwo’ole; 

Malanga Matagofie; 

Mate MaaTonga; 

Aventura;

Adventure

Words in languages from around the world that mean “adventure”also honor the lessons learned ​through the experience of taking healthy risks. 

One way we can foster transformational Adventurous Learning even in our youngest learners is to honor the lessons learned through co-creating experiences that embrace elements of Authenticity, Agency and Responsibility, Uncertainty, and Mastery Through Challenge. 

Experiences are designed to engage development of students, siblings, caregivers and families, both physically and emotionally, by bringing them into their "growth edge" through multilingualism of human and non-human communication.

3

Play is the way young people learn.
Play in nature helps make complex lessons visible.

When we allow kids to follow this innate drive it helps adults
reintegrate our deep and forgotten relationship with ourselves and the more than human world.

4

Young children use stories to construct meaning

In all cultures throughout history, humans have used stories to give meaning to events, to express their values, fears and hopes. In the oral culture of young children, stories provide the cognitive structure to explore big ideas and express deep emotions.  Read more here in Characteristics of Primary Learners.

Maori language is a successful story of language revitalization post colonization. Maori knowledge keepers like Ral Makiha (Uncle Rereata) and the late Nephi Prime continue to teach us about indigenous language revitalization.  We are given permission to share their teaching and learning as long as it promotes language reviatlization and indigenous sovereignty.


Lora Smothers, founder and director of the Joy Village School in Athens Georgia, articulates this in her TEDx Talk Going Natural in Education.

Multilingualism in human and non-human languages is another way to develop moral imagination through song and story.

Narrative development in the primary years is a strong predictor of success in reading and writing. (Snow, Burns, and Griffin, 1998). They develop moral imagination through the feelings generated by classic fairy tales and legends from around the world – a love for what is good and beautiful, empathy for the oppressed, loathing of the bully and the cheater. Children readily understand content when it is organized into story form.

This haka tilted Pursue Knowlege (Whai Ake Te Matauranga) was taught and given permission to Kumu Ryan Pleune by by Kumu Nephi Prime to teach and share with students aspiring to become multilingual and honoring the values associated with diversity equaling health.  Haka are special chants and teachings made global through the New Zealand All Blacks Haka during rugby matches.  However no haka should be taught or performed by non-maori without proper prior consent from the tribes.  This haka has been granted that permission and is not ascribed to any specific tribe from Aotearoa.  It is written for multilingual schools in Turtle Island (Also known as N. America)

WHY OUTDOOR EDUCATION?

We are passionate about the importance of outdoor education and play-based learning! Our programs are built upon a multitude of research. Here are some of our favorite, well-researched & easily digestible reads about Environmental Education, Early Childhood Development, and Play-Based, Whole Child Education.

Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature 

from The Natural Learning Initiative

2

Benefits of Environmental Education 

from The National Environmental Education Foundation

4

About EE

From North American Association for Environmental Education

5

Age-appropriate pedagogies: Play-based learning

from Queensland Department of Education

We are proud members of:

ECHO logo

Early Childhood Health Outdoors - CO

Colorado Collective for Nature Based Early Education

CAEE logo

Colorado Association for Environmental Education

Cooperative EDU

NAAEE logo

Natural Start

Forest School logo

Archimedes Forest Schools

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