Deep Roots Nature School Kicked off This Week!

The Deep Roots Nature School started the Fall Semester yesterday. This week, we wanted students to CONNECT. This is a consistent theme throughout Nature School but especially important in week 1. The students participated in a ceremony to place them in their clans- Little Seeds, Woodland Creatures, Tree Nation, and Sky Clan. The members of the clans will help each other as they do difficult tasks, create, and share. Each clan has a designated "area" for which they can feel ownership and a flag to hang in their corner of the forest. Even just in the first week, it was amazing to watch the students form their units and gravitate to roles. The groups explored their clan areas with such excitement and wonder!!

DRNS week1.jpg

It can be a bit difficult to transition from the over-scheduled, entertainment-filled expectations of the outside world to the setting of Nature School. Often times, we struggle with the desire to fill every second and keep kids on the move. We wrestle with the ability to give kids responsibility and then back off and let them do their thing. We fear the problems they will encounter and the big feelings they might have to feel. This is a disservice to our young people!

Jon Young (leader of Wilderness Awareness School and creator of the Kamana Curriculum) constantly encourages Nature School leaders to remember these things:

* Connection is more important than Knowledge. You can KNOW about something without caring about it. If we really want students to make an impact, they have to care. Once you connect and care, knowledge flows easily. You can't explore a tree and climb it and sit in it and journal without learning about it. In that freedom, students can learn and it can stick!!

* Problem solving skills are learned in the face of problems. Talking and preparing are so important but until our young people actually have to put that to use, they can't feel confident in their abilities and knowledge. Kids are so smart and so capable. As students make decisions, they can feel confident that they CAN make decisions!

* Down time, without entertainment, is key to the ability to process life and reduce perceived stress. Students NEED time to be free rather than to be scheduled every single minute. Down time allows students the opportunity to pull out their Nature Journals and record fun findings, ask deeper questions, notice even more of the world around them

CONNECTION forms the foundation of our community. It was amazing to watch the clans start out shy and unsure. As the morning went on, though, confidence blossomed and friendships formed. The coming weeks have so much promise and possibility! We just have to believe in our kids to take the reigns and lead the way….

** For further reading on these topics and more, here is a recommended reading booklist:

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder

* Balanced and Barefoot

The Self Driven Child: The Sense and Science of Giving Your Kids More Control of Their Lives