Online Outdoor Learning
and Backyard Fieldtrips
Calyx Connects can help to ground a homeschooling learning program, or serve as a supplementary program for children in a more conventional classroom. ALE students also welcome!
With Calyx Connects, your child will have an opportunity, from her/his own backyard, to experience heart centered, emergent nature-based learning that is responsive to the times in which we are living, when connection to ourselves, each other and the earth are more critical than ever.
Last Spring, Calyx adapted to the pandemic by creating Calyx’s Online Outdoor School. It sounds like an oxymoron. But what we learned was that technology could be utilized in an intentional and minimal way to support social and emotional health and well-being, facilitate relationship, and help get children outdoors for connected, nature-based learning. We pivoted our Calyx School program in March, and then piloted the Calyx Connects program for families looking for more connection and deeper learning for their children during these times.
What we found in both of our programs was that children were happy, grounded and engaged, as they undertook deep, emergent, hands-on and nature-connected work. And parents were happy to have the support of community and a daily connected practice. The Calyx team is inspired to continue to find novel ways to deepen our core practices during this time, and support children's social and emotional health through heart-centered, nature-based learning.
About Calyx Connects
Calyx Connects Offers:
Anchoring in a daily connected practice and rhythm within a supportive, collaborative community of learning
Time and space to connect with peers, mentors, and the grounding beauty of the natural world
Heart-centered learning through daily restorative circle and mindfulness practice
Facilitated nature-connected, interdisciplinary learning with experienced Calyx mentors who model collaboration as a daily practice
An emphasis on social and emotional literacy, critical thinking, visual arts, creative problem-solving and playful learning with an interdisciplinary and emergent academic framework
The opportunity to cultivate intrinsic motivation with the support of experienced mentors
Support for parents as partners in their children's learning
An individual portfolio space so that you and your children can share and discuss your children's work, one on one with mentors
A culminating portfolio of your child's work during this time
Intentional and limited use of technology to facilitate connection, collaboration and community
Calyx Connects Program Details
Zoom as an Engaging Tool
Calyx uses Zoom like in and out breaths, coming together to mark beginnings and endings through the day and week, to launch us into backyard and/or forest challenges through small group project times, and to share with each other. We provide all prompts and activities in writing so you and your child can make decisions about how much or how little to participate in zoom meetings.
Our goal is to minimize passive screen time and to maximize our time outdoors, moving, exploring, playing and connecting. Our rhythm includes the in breath of coming together on zoom and the out breath of going outside to discover, observe, explore or create, and then the in breath of coming back together to share, and then the out breath of stepping away for a break.
We will create a container for our experience through rituals and a rhythm that is predictable and consistent, and that will help your child navigate and self regulate through the day and week. Our goal is to spark curiosity, ignite creativity, and inspire the kind, gentle and just nature warrior in all of us. We will begin and end our learning time together Monday through Wednesday with circle practice via Zoom. Morning circle at 9am (PST) provides an opportunity to come together in community to share song, movement, mindfulness practice, and our feelings as we launch our day together. Calyx mentors Dave “Caveman” Friedman and Bryn McAfee will guide project learning and share prompts for the day, before we head outdoors for our independent nature immersed learning time. At 11:15am (PST), we will return as a community via Zoom to deepen our project work through collaboration, sharing and reflection. We will then bring our time together to a close with song and story.
"Our neighborhood school, my husband's work program, and other local and national groups have offered a variety of classes over the past 2 months. None of them compare to the care, time, and warmth that you brought to your online program. You all did a phenomenal job as you pivoted your experience to an online offering. Your program brought a sense of grounded, focused, peace to our lives and I sincerely can't thank you enough for that."
- Calyx Connects Parent