Calyx's Fall 2019 Newsletter
Calyx students connect their learning to the real world through Park stewardship and community-based projects. Read more by clicking here!
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.
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.
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. We find ourselves, as individuals and as an organization, needing time to reflect and regenerate in order to determine our paths forward. Calyx will continue partnering with SWSD, serving children, families and our community through connected, earth-based learning.
After a slow and cautious re-opening of our in-person time together at SWSP, we were so excited to find out that the Beach Trail has reopened after nearly 5 years of closure. Last week, Calyx was able to return to an old Calyx tradition of walking the beach at low tide from SWSP to Bush Point Beach. We are finding our way, exploring the rhythms of the land and sea, and discovering new ways of being together with the earth as our guide.
Calyx Connects (a new Calyx program) and Calyx Backyard Summer Camps offered children the opportunity to connect with peers, play, exploration, and nature in their own backyards. Through an innovative balance of online connection, visiting artists, and inspiring outdoor projects, children ages 7-11 enjoyed becoming earth warriors, tinkering engineers, and nature artists.
Throughout our lichen study, we have worked both collaboratively and independently, practicing Calyx agreements and social and emotional literacy to enable rich collaboration and to meet our individual needs. We learned the three main groups of lichen and practiced counting and categorizing specimens found on the trails. We made observational drawing of different lichen types and wrote similes to describe the different lichen we observed.
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.
Can something be both dead and alive? Can you really find Dead Man's Fingers in the forest? What's with all the dead stuff in nature? What happens to it? Where does it go?
Calyx's naturalist mentors, with special guest Dave "Caveman" Friedman, facilitated a successful and fun backyard nature experience for children ages 7-11.
Calyx School children dove deep into poetry this Spring with help from our visiting artist, Vicki. Students picked poems to memorize, wrote their own poems, and created the first ever Calyx poetry book!
As part of a larger expedition into understanding and recognizing diversity, Calyx children record the diversity of greens they observe in the forest. By putting all their work together, this "Diversity in Green" quilt showcases our student's diverse perceptions and creative expressions.
Calyx children continue their collective work on preserving the story of the "Save the Trees" movement, an important piece of South Whidbey State Park history. In 2019, the children became interested in the movement and after research and interviews wrote, directed, and performed a play telling the "Save the Trees" story from the perspective of the forest animals. This year, the children are designing, facilitating, and recording interviews of individuals involved in the movement as part of a larger project to preserve the oral history of the park.
We are so excited to be launching this unique beautiful year with our Calyx community! Calyx has always been a responsive program, meeting the diverse needs of our children, families, staff, and earth. And this year is no different. We are starting the year off gently with small pod in-person meetings once per week, supplemented with Zoom-time gatherings and back-yard explorations.
March 23, 2020
Calyx mentors and children continue to learn together! Our new program uses technology minimally and intentionally to support our ongoing work in nature connection, social & emotional literacy, integrated studies, culinary arts, visual arts, and civil discourse. Mentors continue to work closely with children and families to develop our new program design, ensuring all children have access to the learning be offered and that our families feel supported.
Winter Term, 2020
In Peace Council we cultivate conflict resolution and restorative practices, as well as explore peace within and outside us. This term, we have begun with a series of Thich Nhat Hanh inspired meditations. First a drawing meditation, then a stone mediation. Last week, we made meditation bags for our stones to help us with our practice.
November 6, 2019
With the help of a local mushroom expert (and a kind donation of supplies), Calyx students spend the morning hard at work, drilling, plugging, and labeling mushroom logs!
We are building our knowledge base of mushrooms and how they connect to us, our community, and to the earth.
Fall Term, 2019
Our daily explorations on South Whidbey State Park trails have led us into the world of mushrooms. Student interest in mushrooms and mycelium are prompting a foray of interdisciplinary learning experiences in our forest, indoor classroom and beyond!
September 20, 2019
Some of our Calyx families joined forces with Whidbey Island Climate Activists, voicing their concern for clean water and clean air.
As part of our sustainability curriculum, Calyx students learn about how they impact their environment with their actions and words.