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Nature Immersion Program

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Gifted students thrive in a model of authentic learning. In this hands-on, rich, thematic, choice-based curriculum learners engage in authentic assignments and tasks that benefit the natural environment while absorbing deep and lasting lessons about environmental science.
These days many gifted children express fear that the world is becoming too polluted and that nature is being destroyed. Engaging in activities that actually benefit nature help gifted children to process their feelings and provide a way to empower them. Learning by doing is a model by which most gifted learners internalize knowledge. This program immerses the student in a learning experience of environmental science, art and humanities. Students also discover the impact small choices can have on big things such as our oceans, our communities and the world at large.

The primary theme of this curriculum is the hands-on project of restoring an urban creek. Students learn about the importance of watersheds in the environment and how to protect them. They learn about native plants and invasive species. They learn in-depth about soil and water. Learners see and experience wildlife up close and personal. This program is deeply rich in biology, biodiversity and ecology, with forays into social justice, humanities and art along the way.

Ample research shows the benefits of a nature immersion program, while less popular in the United States, hundreds of successful Forest Schools operate in Europe, Australia and other countries.  You can learn details about all that here: Forest Schools.   

This program is consistent with our philosophy and mission to follow and serve the interests of gifted students. For years our students have demonstrated a high engagement and interest in nature, wildlife, ecosystems and the natural world. We see students come alive and at the same time centered and focused in the woods. We've seen this in all of the many classes we've presented in nature from the very inception of our program. In classes such as:
"Vernal Pools"
"Junior Ranger"
"Creek to Bay"
"Study of the Watershed"
"Biology and History of Redwoods"
"Bio-diversity of Salamanders"

The BLC Forest School engages learners with direct connections and authentic learning experiences with the world in which we live. Experiential learning curriculum imparts deep meaningful and life long lessons about how individuals can participate as change agents and advocates for our forests and other vulnerable ecosystems.
Our program has access to 90,000 acres of Regional Park Lands here in the East Bay and nearby beaches as well!  October and November you will find us at the beach exploring tide pools and learning about the ocean with our marine biologists. See link at right "Ocean Adventures" for more details. Click here for details on enrollment.


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To find out more, click on one of the links below which will provide you with the information you need for each of our 4 micro-schools:

Junior Grade (ages 4-6)
 
 
 

Nature Immersion: Spring, Baywood is launching a Nature Immersion Forest School Program based on our commitment to hands-on learning and our experience of the therapeutic effects of natural environments.

This program is a Hybrid-Home-school 3 day a week program with options to add additional days.

 

This program consists of two components: (1) A Forest School held in Oakland’s Leona Canyon from Earth Day April - September 2017 and (2) Ocean Adventures, which will involve spending time at local beaches and oceans in October and November. Although the Nature Immersion curriculum will emphasize environmental science, it will also include core academics and enrichment workshops on subjects such as literature and philosophy that are taught with a “nature” spin.

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Safety

Every precaution has been considered to minimize the inherent risk of being outside in nature. The adult to child ratio is a minimum of one adult to 5 children. Staff provides orientations for learners about safety rules and there are on going discussions about the nature of risks and staying safe. Parent volunteers add additional security. 

What about the weather?
Rain does not cancel unless the conditions are extreme. Learners dress in layers and provisions for on site shelters have been arranged if needed. In extreme cases weather may cause us to shorten our day. Having the opportunity to witness how rain engages with the watershed is a rich educational experience.