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YOUTH NATURALIST PROGRAM

October-May School Year

When? 2022-23 School Year Options:
Tuesdays (7-9 year olds) and Wednesdays (10-12 year olds) 10am-1pm. 
Fall Quarter 2022: October 4 - November 16

Winter Quarter 2023: January 17- March 1
Spring Quarter 2023: March 21 - May 10  (Spring Break last week of March)


Where? Parks and Public Lands in Bend, Oregon. Differing locations depending on activity. Registered families will receive all the upcoming quarter's locations via email in the weeks before the quarter.

Who? Families in search of alternative learning supplements for the school year. We welcome kids to these programs whether you're homeschooling, unschooling, charter schooling or otherwise.
 
This course is designed to be a small, multi-age group. 2022-2023 Homeschool will be age groups 7-9 and 10-12.

How much? $275 per quarter, 7 classes included in each quarter.

DAILY SCHEDULE

When we meet, we'll begin with a group game, group question, or community activity to start us off all on the same page for our time together. Options include Fox Tail Tag, Sneaking games, Sit spots, Nature Museum, or group nature mystery.

We'll then move into our topic or main activity for the day. All days will be immersive, interactive, hands-on, inquiry-based, and hold the goal of nature connection. Some daily topics are: stealth and natural camouflage, wildlife tracking and trailing, wild edibles and plant explorations, archery and atlatls, animal adaptations exploration, fire making, shelter building, birds and bird language, making potions and medicines with plants, fiber arts and plant dyes, carving/knife safety, and more!

We'll make a goal to close with a Story of the Day, where folks can share highlights or learned facts from the day.

ENROLLMENT

Options for the 2022-23 School Year! Contact us at info@nighthawknaturalistschool.com with any inquiries, subsidy options, Veteran or Tribal member discount, and late-start enrollment.

 
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KIDS' NATURALIST PROGRAM FAQ'S

HOW MANY KIDS PER CLASS?

For 2022-23, we will be enrolling 10 kids max per day. We operate under at least a 1:5 teacher:student ratio at all times.

WHAT IS THE TEACHING PHILOSOPHY FOR THIS PROGRAM?

We teach through a style that balances inquiry with giving real information and answers. We teach by a curriculum outline throughout the year, but we also value flexibility and a level of student-led learning. So, we allow for wiggle room on the topics we cover, the activities we do, and the craft projects we take on with the students. Our curriculum for this program, like all of our programs, even those for adults, dovetail with the seasons. So, we let the weather and seasons guide what we do.

WHERE WILL CLASS BE HELD?

Our locations will change from time to time depending on the activities we're doing, but we will primarily be at Bend city parks, Tumalo State Park, or very local-to-Bend Public Land sites. We will give plenty of advance notice for class locations for those who are enrolled, outlining locations for the quarter ahead.

HOW LONG IS A QUARTER?

7 classes per quarter.

Fall Quarter 2022: October 4 - November 16

Winter Quarter 2023: January 17- March 1

Spring Quarter 2023: March 21 - May 10  (No Class On Spring Break, the last week of March)

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH WINTER WEATHER?

We work with it! During programs, we operate with the seasons rather than against them, and incorporate what they provide into our curriculum: snow shelters in snow, fire and shelter and winter projects during cold and rainy times, etc. We strongly recommend kids coming prepared with weatherproof layers so that they are warm, dry, and happy during the day. 

We operate outside as a rule unless safety forces us to do otherwise. We cancel, reschedule, or relocate program days for inclement weather that threatens the safety of our participants (ie: blizzards, frigid weather in the single digits, dangerously high winds, poor air quality index of 150+, weather that would cancel Bend-LaPine schools for the day).

WHAT IS THE CURRICULUM LIKE?

Classes will be about sparking kids' interest in nature. Here are some ways we'll explore that:

Nature Games and Nature Connection: Sensory awareness games, Sneaking and stealth games, Camouflage and Hiding games

Animal adaptations and wildlife biology: Getting to know animals by studying and asking questions about their tracks and sign, their pelts and feathers, and their bones

Plant uses and botany: Getting to know what plants grow here by touching them, examining them, and learning how one can use them ethically to make rope, medicine, fire, or food

Survival: Building shelters together out of natural materials, learning to make fire in various ways, learning ways one would traditionally acquire food in winter

Crafting: learning to carve and practicing responsible knife safety, learning to use plants to dye fabric

Stories: Sharing themed stories (teachers and students) with each other

In Spring, when the birds, plants, and animals begin emerging again, we will focus back on them in new ways! With bird language exercises, plant medicine, baskets, and more. 

IS YOUR HOMESCHOOL PROGRAM PROVIDED IN CONJUNCTION WITH AN EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION OR INSTITUTION?

No. This program is an alternative educational program designed for families who want an ecology and/or wilderness skills addition to their home curriculum, free school lifestyle, unschooling, charter, or other plan. It is provided in the style of a decidedly non-campy, and more educational outdoor "camp" whose goal is deep, life-long nature connection. We are willing to submit approval as a vendor for your charter school, upon request, but do not guarantee your schools' approval.

ARE YOU A WILDERNESS THERAPY ORGANIZATION?

No. Many people find experiences in nature to be therapeutic or transformative. However, our programs are not designed to address or rectify behavior, any physical or medical ailment, or emotional issues. We do not discriminate against protected classes or individuals. If, given reasonable modifications and accommodations,  participants repetitively violate Nighthawk's safety rules, alternative options, including removal from the program, may need to be discussed.

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR COVID-19 SAFETY?

Visit this page to see our most recent COVID Policy Document. All participants and/or guardians will be required to read and understand this document and sign a waiver indicating compliance, prior to attending programs.