Our Curriculum​ and Teaching Philosophies

At Nature Connect, we believe the natural world provides an exceptional classroom, inspiring wonder, independent learning and critical thinking. Our nature-based curriculum incorporates a hands-on, experiential approach and the development of the whole-child. We have a flexible inquiry-based facilitation style, and we follow the childrens' lead much of the time.

 

Our goal is to support children to:

  • be curious and ask questions

  • learn about our local ecosystems

  • use their senses to experience the outdoors

  • develop an appreciation and respect for each other, and the natural world

  • be kind, responsible, and generous members of the community

  • be resilient, overcome challenges, and realize their capabilities

  • play, adventure, build, get dirty, and thoroughly enjoy the outdoors

Our daily routine is guided by the 8 Shields Model of mentoring. Concepts are introduced through our flow of the day, which is designed to work with the natural inclinations and energies of the children and the environment. We follow what sparks connection and excitement for the children. Some days we follow the planned curriculum and on other days, we throw our "plan" out the window and follow the animal tracks we found after opening circle. We believe that children learn the most when they have a "spark in their eye" and are enthusiastic about something they discovered in nature. We ask them questions and study alongside them to deepen their curiosity and knowledge about the nature subject at hand.

Naturalist Knowledge

Being a naturalist goes beyond identification - it means being truly connected to the land and the animals that live there. It means noticing shifts and changes, paying attention to how plants are growing and how animals are moving. It means having a strong relationship with the outdoors and seeing yourself as a part of it all.

  • Local plant and animal study

  • Animal tracking

  • Bird Language

  • Ecology

  • Creative inquiry

  • Field guide exploration

  • Edible and medicinal plants

Life Skills

Whether it’s building a fort out of tree limbs, starting a fire by friction, or simply sharing a story with the group during lunch, we empower children to follow their interests and overcome fears.

  • Outdoor Safety and Awareness

  • Survival Scenarios

  • Basic Orienteering

  • Mapping

  • Nature Based Skills and Crafts

    • Basket weaving

    • Fire by friction

    • Woodcarving

  • Art

  • Storytelling

  • Focus

  • Resilience

  • Music and song

Health and Wellbeing
Our goal is to raise healthy and vibrant children who are excited about life. We believe nature is good for the body, mind, and spirit.
  • Outdoor exploration
  • Creative play
  • Hiking/swimming
  • Active games
  • Yoga
  • Movement
  • Mindfulness
  • Healthy foods
  • Journaling
  • Stillness and reflection in nature
  • Sensory awareness activities 
Community Building

At Nature Connect, we work to build a supportive community where everyone feels that they belong and have something to contribute to each other. We aim to cultivate generosity and appreciation in all that we do. For any given activity, we may offer specific roles to be chosen by participants in order to contribute towards a shared goal. We encourage participants to use their own skills to help others and to become leaders themselves. We believe a sense of contribution and responsibility is important.

  • Making meaningful friendships

  • Mentorship

  • Empowerment

  • Respect

  • Peaceful communication

  • Healthy conflict transformation

  • Learning how to be truly helpful

  • Appreciating each others' gifts

  • Listening

  • Honoring our differences

  • Multigenerational relationships

Environmental Stewardship

We believe that the more children fall in love with nature, the more they will want to protect it as adults. Through role modeling, we support children to develop a strong sense of respect and appreciation for the outdoors. One of our group agreements is to respect the land and all that lives there.

  • Tending the land

  • Leaving no trace

  • Responsible fire keeping

  • Responsible plant harvest

  • Respecting all life

Our Vision

Our vision is that the children develop a strong love and respect for themselves, each other and all life, so they grow into empowered, compassionate leaders who make a difference in their communities. 

We want the children to feel fully alive and curious about the world in which we live. We want them to laugh, play, get dirty, make wonderful friends and be excited to learn!

At Nature Connect, we aim to serve a diverse community and bring together children from all walks of life. We also think it is important to involve many generations in this work of nature connection, and we encourage our families to learn and play alongside the children.

Curriculum & Philosophy

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Call Us: 910-707-3956