PO Box 6582, Portland OR 97228 info@rewildportland.com 503.863.8462
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Nature Immersion Homeschool Program

Open House Friday, August 25th 2017 @ Columbia Children’s Arboretum from 1pm-3pm

2017 – 2018 Enrollment Begins in August. Join us for our beginning of year open house. Please RSVP. This is an opportunity to meet the teachers and learn more about the program. Please RSVP so that we know how many people will be there. RSVP HERE

“Natural play strengthens children’s self-confidence and arouses their senses–their awareness of the world and all that moves in it, seen and unseen.” – Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

Welcome to Nature Immersion! Nature Immersion is a weekly outdoor program for children ages 5 to 11 that runs from September to June. Each Friday, children spend the day at a natural greenspace in the Portland area. The day is filled with engagement in the natural world and social interaction between peers and skilled mentors of nature and ancestral skills. Because the program is on a “school day” (Friday), it is mostly a homeschool supplemental program.


 

Nature Immersion Details

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What We Do

Our educational philosophy can be distilled into five words:

     Play together in nature regularly

We create an “invisible” curriculum using the Waldorf Educational philosophy in combination with Jon Young’s 8 Shields model for nature connection. We focus on engagement with the natural world through handwork, journaling, and mostly play.

Through self-directed play, children engage with the natural world on their own terms. This is important for them to have an authentic connection to nature; true connection comes from within oneself and not imposed from a teacher. Our skilled mentors keep children safe, cooperative, and create opportunities that appear spontaneous and random to students. We are able to profile children and figure out how to get them engaged without overtly directing them.

The 8 Shields model of coyote mentoring is inspired by hunter-gatherer cultures from around the world, where humans live immersed in nature, and have a deep connection to their place without anything that looks like a school or formal education. Yet these people are knowledgeable about their place, skilled in the activities of daily life, and deeply connected to one another. Prior to industrialization, this is how most humans were educated. We believe this method to be necessary for holistic human learning. This should be a part of every child’s development.

In the modern world, children and parents alike have been taught to conflate “learning” solely with didactic education of a teacher “teaching.” This means that unless a student is being talked to, given an obvious lesson, they will not perceive their own activities (or those orchestrated by skilled mentors) as “learning.” In this kind of model, it’s common for a child to say or think, “I didn’t learn anything.” This is why coyote mentoring is also known as “invisible education.”

Initially children who are unfamiliar with this model, or have been part of programs that are full of structure and busy work may find themselves feeling bored. From our perspective, when a child says, “I’m bored,” what they are really saying is, “Please entertain me.” Studies show that children need to be bored in order for their own creativity to blossom. Put another way, if children are constantly entertained (by television, video games, parents, babysitters, school teachers, soccer coaches, etc.) they never have time for their own mind and creativity to develop. Boredom is not something we “fix,” but rather, something that we foster. We trust that children will be able to move through their boredom and experience the joy of finding their muse.

We do have more obvious directed play, such as icebreakers, and structured time for things like stories, lunch, specific skill activities (such as knife work, knot-tying, etc.). The day is more about flow than structure. Times change and the activities ebb and flow with the energy and direction of the group.

Fun Reading:

Children Educate Themselves

(https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200808/children-educate-themselves-iii-the-wisdom-hunter-gatherers)

Children need to be bored in order to inspire creativity

(http://www.bbc.com/news/education-21895704)

“Benign Neglect”

(http://www.brainchildmag.com/2015/06/unsolicited-child-training-tip-1-benign-neglect/)


 

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When We Meet

Our program meets most Fridays, 9:30am to 3:00pm, from September 1st through June 8th. Meeting on a regular basis is the main point of the program. Our summer camps are a fantastic introduction to being in nature. This program takes the same inspiration of the camp experience and makes it a regular event. Nature Immersion is a long-term mentoring program, meant to regularly get children experiencing the elements, the other-than-human animals and plants, and to experiment in these wild spaces.


 

Where we Meet

We meet at the Children’s Arboretum in Portland, OR, with a few field trips to different locations throughout the year. Drop off & pick up is at the Children’s Arboretum or the selected field trip location. We grow our roots in the same location throughout the year. This way, children and families get to experience the transformation of an ecosystem through the seasons. This also allows us the opportunity to spend time stewarding this greenspace, and seeing the positive impacts that tending the wild can have. During the coldest, wintery months (Jan/Feb), we may take shelter inside and do more indoor nature-based activities like crafting with nature materials that we collect in the fall for part of the day or most of the day (depending on the severity of the weather).


 

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Who We Are

DSC_0525_smallPeter Bauer has been running homeschool programs for six years. His background is in using the 8 Shields Nature Connection model developed by Jon Young. He has worked with Friends of Tryon Creek, Portland Waldorf High School, Cascadia Wild, Echoes in Time, and is the founder of Rewild Portland. An Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman, Peter also brings many ancestral skills and wilderness skills to the program, helping children learn camp crafts and outdoor knowledge. He is also the founder and director of Rewild Portland.

 Johnny Spathas has worked with Rewild Portland for many years in various capacities from instructor at our Day of Rewilding program to the head of the kitchen at Echoes in Time. Originally from the Portland area, Johnny grew up camping and spending lots of time in nature. He is an amazing teacher and a skilled outdoorsman. He has been a substitute for Nature Immersion and this is his first year as a full-time Nature Immersion instructor. 

McKenzie McCann is new to our staff this year. She carries a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Humanities from Sterling College in Vermont. She has taught at many youth outdoor programs that focus on Coyote Mentoring and Nature Connection. A former member of the Girl Scouts, she is an avid craftsperson and enjoys engaging children in nature through crafts and gardening. She is an outstanding addition to the program and we are excited to have her on the team. 


Social Guidelines and Policies

Rewild Portland believes that blanket policies regarding behavior for children of different ages and backgrounds results in lost learning experiences. Instead we use developmentally appropriate guidelines and processes based on the needs of both the group as a whole and individuals in order to maintain social cohesion and safety. Every potential family should download and read our guidelines before enrolling in the program. Download it here.


How to Join Us Outdoors

Open House Friday, August 25th 2017 @ Columbia Children’s Arboretum from 1pm-3pm

2017 – 2018 Enrollment Begins in August. Join us for our beginning of year open house. Please RSVP. This is an opportunity to meet the teachers and learn more about the program. Please RSVP so that we know how many people will be there. RSVP HERE

Check for availability of space throughout the year. Sometimes spaces open up during the year and we accept students.

Tuition: $2,000 for the year all at once or spread out over 10 auto-payments of $200 a month.

Payment Options:

1) Monthly automatic payments of $200 for 10 months (Sept-June).*

2) Pay $2,000 in full upfront.*

*Cancellation & Refund Policy: No refund within 60 Days of programming due to cancellation. This gives us adequate time to fill the open space.


Apply Today

    Rewild Portland believes that blanket policies regarding behavior for children of different ages and backgrounds results in lost learning experiences. Instead we use developmentally appropriate guidelines and processes based on the needs of both the group as a whole and individuals in order to maintain social cohesion and safety. Every potential family should download and read our guidelines before enrolling in the program. READ IT HERE

Check out other homeschooling programs around the country here