PO Box 6582, Portland OR 97228 info@rewildportland.com 503.863.8462

Nature Immersion 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 was created by Shining Star Waldorf and ran as a program of the school for many years. Many of the students of Shining Star continue to attend Nature Immersion, as Shining Star is a 4 day school (Mon-Thu). Learn More about Shining Star here:


Nature Immersion Details


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 with “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 archery). 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


Children need to be bored in order to inspire creativity


“Benign Neglect”




When We Meet

Our program meets 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).



Who We Are

lauraLaura Goldstone Laura was raised in Selma, California, a small farming community in the central San Joaquin Valley. Her father worked for the National Park service before raising a family, so she and her two siblings spent much of their childhood camping and exploring Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the surrounding foothills. Laura earned a BA in Fine Arts from Fresno State with plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher. She soon found herself thrust into the non-profit education world, teaching art and science for the Fresno Metropolitan Museum, studying at the Institute of Inquiry with the Exploratorium in San Francisco, developing and teaching programs at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, The Rueben H. Fleet Science Center, and many after-school programs in between. She left San Diego to return to her home territories and was honored to work as the Preschool-Programs Coordinator for the San Joaquin Parkway and Conservation Trust. Teaching 4 and 5 year olds along the San Joaquin River is one of her cherished educator experiences. Flowing along from one great river to another, Laura moved to Portland, Oregon. She worked for Trackers in 2013 as their lead coordinator for 4-5 year old camps, which helped spark a desire to learn not just survival, but ancestral skills. In her pursuit of knowledge and practice she stumbled across Rewild Portland, “ I saw that table full of bone tools and the most wondrous hand-made items and just knew I would get a lot out of my time with them, I couldn’t sign up to volunteer fast enough. I am so thrilled to have found not only an organization with a philosophy that resonates with my own life, but a real community of learners, educators, makers, artists and real visionaries. My life really hasn’t been the same.”

Monica Sears, Board Member, artist, and outdoor educator. Monica was born in New Zealand, (Aotearoa), where she was introduced to flax weaving and other elements of local indigenous (Māori) culture in elementary school. Surrounded by the temperate forests, grasslands, and coastline of the South Island’s Otago region, she developed a deep connection to nature and the environment. Monica also has a strong art background, earning a Bachelor of Fine Art degree while crafting paper mache masks for theater and dance groups in the Midwest, before moving to Portland where she ran a maskmaking studio for 15 years. Monica is a graduate of Oregon Metro’s Nature University program, and has volunteered as a naturalist and assistant educator for Metro Parks and Natural Areas, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and the SUN community school program. She has been enthusiastically involved with rewilding and ancestral skills since 2011, and was our Echoes in Time kids program coordinator in 2016.

DSC_0525_smallPeter Bauer has been with the Nature Immersion program for four 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.

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.