The 347-Acre Classroom in South Whidbey State Park
Calyx Community Arts School
Creating a world that is kind, gentle and just.
Under the benevolent watch of the forest, there is a spark of light, a hopeful new possibility in the making. Here you will find children who communicate with clarity their vision of a healthy, loving and inclusive world. They have the confidence and ability to imagine, create, implement and embody creative resilience and problem solving.
ATTN: Calyx's SWSP Program is no longer operating.
See note below.
Calyx Program Transitions
Effective January 2022
Dear Calyx Friends,
For the past 10 years, Calyx has been working to respond to the needs of children, communities and the earth, and to equip children with the tools they need to navigate an uncertain future in a rapidly changing world.
Change is Constant
The earth shows us that change is the one constant. With change comes growth and the potential for transformation. These last two years have challenged us in new ways. In response to the pandemic, Calyx has adapted and pivoted multiple times in order to respond to the needs of children, families and the community. Our core program at South Whidbey State Park has served both as an anchor and as a springboard of educational possibility in a world suddenly confronted with the limitations of conventional classroom education.
Our Work with South Whidbey School District
In 2020, Calyx began working with South Whidbey School District (SWSD) to explore possibilities for more connected community-based and nature-based learning.. These explorations led to the creation, and launch in September 2021, of a pilot Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) for 1st through 8th grade students. The ALE partners with parents and community members to support student learning, and provide in-person learning opportunities embedded in the community and anchored in outdoor experiential learning.The ALE has been an exciting step toward fulfilling one of Calyx’s broader visions of educational transformation within a public school setting.
Calyx Closes its South Whidbey State Park Program
Like so many organizations, Calyx and its small staff have been challenged by the demands of the times. Our commitment to children and to the earth remains strong. However, our capacity to give full expression to that commitment has been compromised by the unexpected challenges over the last 2 years. After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to indefinitely pause our South Whidbey State Park program starting this month, January 2022. We find ourselves, as individuals and as an organization, needing time to reflect and regenerate in order to determine our paths forward. During this time, Calyx plans to continue partnering with SWSD to further develop the ALE and to serve children, families and our community through connected, earth-based learning.
Gratitude for You, Our Community
We are so deeply grateful for the community that has grown around Calyx - from the children to the families, from the volunteers to the donors, from the mentors to the board to the partner organizations. You have been our inspiration, our teachers, our sounding boards, our support structures, our friends… In other words, you have been - and are - our community. We truly could not have made it this far without you, and we wouldn’t have wanted to. In the midst of so much change, this truth remains. Thank you.
Lisa Kois, Founder/Director and
Calyx: A Revolutionary Education
At Calyx, you will find children who communicate with clarity
their vision of a healthy, loving and inclusive world.
Calyx provides the critical skills children need to navigate an uncertain future in an rapidly changing world. Calyx connects children with nature, community and self, and nurtures the next generation of environmental and social justice leaders by providing low and no cost, place-based, nature and service learning experiences for children, families and the community. The 347 acres of South Whidbey State Park grounds learning in connection, diversity, stewardship, critical thinking and advocacy.
Creative and compassionate citizens of the earth,
these children truly embody what is possible.
Our naturalist guides, the storytellers, the song carriers - or, what we call, our mentors - tap into the creative potential of their students to facilitate a connection that grows a sense of purpose, an expanded vision of what is possible, and a greater capacity to imagine, and thus create, a sustainable world.
Elements of a Calyx Education
We nurture the genius of childhood.
Our curriculum is emergent, responsive, anti-racist and interdisciplinary.
We emphasize social and emotional literacy, nature connection, community, social justice, and creative practice.
We are grounded in the local and embrace the global while celebrating diversity in all its forms.
We nurture life-long learners and engaged and empowered citizens.
We spend a lot of time outdoors.
We practice critical thinking.
Our rich art curriculum grounds our learning and cultivates powers of creative expression.
We listen deeply to one another, to ourselves, and to the earth.
Earth Warrior Course Opening at SWSP!
The Calyx kids have made an Earth Warrior Course at the Hobbit Trail at South Whidbey State Park. It will be open for all ages. It will be open during park hours, which are dawn to dusk. The Earth Warrior Course is a place where you can exercise. It's a place where you can use your physical strength, your smarts and your mind. There are nine stations. They are: Side to Side Jump; Bird Listening Station; Push Ups On A Log' Sit-ups On The Fence; Running Forth and Back; Log Lift; Scaling the Bridge; Standing Long Jump; and lastly, the Thinking About Life Station. We hope you come to the hobbit Trail and try it out!
- By Sam (age 8), Satya (age 9), Sophie (age 9), and Zayne (age 10)