Programs Friends with Nature We are a community to the extent that we share common ground. Nature is the common ground that surrounds us and flows inside us. Friends with Nature offers a curriculum that actively engages learners in observing and exploring the nature within and without. Projects are frequently collaborative and meant to have community presence and impact. Particular attention is paid to the wild and native plants and animals as members of our community and are readily available in our outdoor classrooms held in Community Gardens. Curriculum objectives are to expand awareness of what it means to be a friend, of what it means to be in a community and to foster a sense of reciprocity and sustaining relationship with our environment. Lesson Plans: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
From Landscape to Language: How does literacy begin?
Our earliest ancestors looked into the natural world for signs that would give them information about what had happened in the past and to predict what might happen in the future. Survival depended on it. Needing to share information, they began by copying lines and shapes found within the natural landscape to make the marks and maps which became the first alphabets. Literacy is about communication: it is about “speaking” and “listening” through the use of marks or representations. As civilization became more complex the ancient alphabets, which depicted real things, developed into letters which stood for sounds.
Early age learners are naturally very curious about the world of real things. Landscape to Language directs learners to follow with brush, pencil and pen, the horizontal, vertical and spiraling lines we see in nature. Landscape to Language associates the tools of literacy and fine motor development with an engaged imagination, self expression, and a confident use of voice and hand. Infant Learning
For those of us who care for infants and young children and want to be deeply supportive of their wholesome development as free and healthy human beings, this workbook will familiarize you with not what they need to learn but with how they do in fact learn. Infancy is a process. During the first year, identifiable patterns of seemingly spontaneous movement appear but they are in a specific sequence and with a specific purpose, each pattern building on the one before. The patterns are innate and universal, produced by primitive reflexes and the draw of sensory perception. So purposeful and powerful are the patterns that the helpless newborn that can't lift its own head becomes in the space of roughly one year a being that moves itself through space with agency - a mind of its own. The ability to move through dimensional space, the ability to use tools, the ability to use language and the whole internalization of the outside world into what is called mind is conditioned through the infant's experience of these patterns. Each child integrates the patterns into their way of being in a unique way.
Emerging patterns can be influenced to a degree by cultural practices, illness, the presence or absence of bonding, nurturing and other behavioral and environmental factors, but they are not determined by these. The patterns are innate and universal. When children experience developmental delays they are sometime referred to Occupational Therapist who are able to observe their reflexes and patterns and implement supportive therapies. But all children need the support and understanding of adults who can observe and interact with the insight that knowledge of the patterns can give.