The 347-Acre Classroom in South Whidbey State Park
Calyx Community Arts School
Calyx School is the 347-acre classroom at South Whidbey State Park (SWSP) on Whidbey Island, Washington. Founded in 2011, Calyx works to connect children with nature, community and self, and to nurture the next generation of environmental and social justice leaders by providing low and no cost place-based, nature, and service learning experiences for children and families. Calyx has served more than 300 children through its year-round outdoor learning programs, which include its core school-year program, and 4 weeks of summer camps.
Calyx’s year-round academic programs provide multidisciplinary, nature and arts based learning experiences for ages 5-11 that facilitate deep nature connection and environmental stewardship while supporting the development of traditional academic skills.
A message from Calyx's co-founder, Lisa Kois
Finding Our Way Home
Calyx’s philosophy is centered on the child, the community and the earth. We practice responsive education, and work to meet the needs of the body, mind and spirit of each child, as well as the needs of the community and the earth. We believe that the journey is the destination and that life and learning are in the questions. We strive to nurture life-long learners and engaged and empowered citizens.
Calyx children spend a large part of their day outdoors, learning with nature and coming to know the earth intimately and care for it deeply. As they come to know the earth, they come to know themselves. As they nurture the earth, they nurture themselves. Calyx's curriculum weaves academics, social and emotional well-being, spirit and body well-being, and social justice practices into our everyday learning.
We understand education to be a process of drawing out the learner through responsive facilitation of learning experiences. Rather than filling a learner with knowledge, we help guide them through a process of inquiry, reflection, critical thinking and discovery so that they can construct knowledge from within and, ultimately, embody that knowledge in a deep and meaningful way.