Our ongoing preschool and homeschool Nature-Based Science courses support children playing and learning in nature. Through play, they develop an understanding of, and respect for, the deep interconnectedness of living and non-living things. Throughout the sequence of courses, children build on their developing love of the natural world to take on the role of guardians of Mother Earth at this critical moment in human history and learn content specified in in the CA K-8 science standards. As a permaculture designer, I integrate permaculture principals, ethics, concepts and practices throughout this sequence. Nature-Based Science is taught by Peter Kindfield.

Home school kids following Peter

The activities described below are designed to be playful and to address both a deep understanding of interconnectedness and many elementary and middle school state science standards.

Courses: Our ongoing Nature-Based Science courses will involve observing and interacting with each other (while maintaining social distancing), other animals, plants, fungi and mother earth. These activities will include building soil; cleaning the atmosphere; preserving water; growing, gathering and preparing food; and building structures using natural materials.

Groups: We group kids by age so we can select activities that match their current skills. Historically we’ve had 3 groups: Toddler & Parent (2-3yo), Early Elementary (4-7yo), and Upper Elementary/Middle School (8-13yo). We may add a group to accommodate more kids if interest is high. This will change the age ranges in each group but will still cover 2-13yo.

We started our 5-week Winter ’21 session the week of January 11. Our 12-week Spring ’21 session will start the week of February 22.

Toddler-Parent/Guardian Group: We focus on observing nature using all of our senses, interacting with nature by hiking and climbing and describing and naming what we experience. Our belief is that children that grow up observing and interacting with nature grow up loving nature with a strong motivation to take care of our planet. (No Toddler-Parent group during the Winter ’21 session.)

Early Elementary Group: We focus on observing and interacting with nature including playfully learning the names of living and non-living components of ecosystems; growing, gathering, preparing and eating food; and building with natural materials. These group also focuses on Earth care including composting; soil building; fire protection and atmosphere cleaning through selective planting; animal care; reducing water usage at home; and planting drought tolerant plants and trees.

Upper Elementary and Middle School Group continues these playful interactions and extends their involvement in service projects like gardening and maintenance of permanent structures. As they play and work they will come to understand the Earth as a system consisting of interactions between various spheres (the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere) that can be described in terms of material cycles (e.g., the water, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and sulphur cycles) and energy flows. Their early focus on Earth care extends to understanding our impact on those material cycles (anthropogenic changes). 

Meeting Times and Cost

Nature-Based Science will meet 2 hrs/week for 5 weeks starting the week of January 11. The cost is $150. The timing of classes is TBD based on interest. Please let us know by 12/31/2020 if you would like your child(ren) to be a part of our Winter ’21 offering of Nature-Based Science.

Nature-Based Science is an outdoor in-person class. We practice social distancing. Masks and weekly temperature checks are required.

Classes require at least two students and we try and cap all of our classes at 6 students.

Connection to Science Standards

Not only are the knowledge and skills that learners develop in our preschool and homeschool Nature-Based Science courses central to the survival of humanity and many other species, they also relate directly to the core ideas of the K-8 science standards. In addition, these courses introduce basic chemistry, physics, biology and earth science. A small sample of the many disciplinary core ideas from the CA Next Generation Science Standards – addressed by our Nature-Based Science courses:

K: Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.

3rdgrade: A variety of natural hazards result from natural processes. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.

6thgrade: Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

8thgrade: Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

To reserve a spot in one of these classes, please contact us.