moonrise over the poverty hills, paiute shoshone territory // photo by Dave Hage
Confirmed by our extensive experience working with teenagers in a variety of settings, we know that teens are curious, creative, capable and so much more. Our teen programs are designed to support the development of these and other qualities in a supportive environment, guided by nature.
At Weaving Earth, the local ecosystem is the classroom — the woods, creeks, meadows, hills, plants, and animals come magically alive through exploration, interaction, story, and consistent contact through the seasons. This direct experience and meaningful play help our students to know themselves as interdependent, ecological beings.
As with all of our programs, our teen programs simultaneously committed to education that cultivates earth intimacy and that interrupts the socialization of dominant, oppressive systems that have caused so many social, ecological, and existential crises that we face today. We do this work in service to our vision of a world deeply rooted in interrelationship, respect for life, and shared protection of the planet upon which we all depend.
Please read through the following sections for more info about our curriculum and important program logistics.
Before applying, please read below about how each pillar relates to our youth programs. We present this information so you can decide if our approach aligns with your family’s vision and values. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an additional overview of our curriculum, please take a look at our Core Curriculum page.
In stark contrast to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful words, James Watt — inventor of the steam engine — said: “Nature can be conquered; if we can but find her weak side.” This dangerous idea that humans are separate from and superior to “nature” shape systems, structures, and messages that influence our lives in countless ways. But we are nature, no better or worse than the other beings around us, only different. We believe our future depends on understanding and embodying our interdependent place in the ecological web.
Earth Intimacy is simply the process of nurturing our relationships with the environments we inhabit, loving them, and coming to understand that we are a part of the web of life, not apart from it.
The younger we cultivate that embodied understanding, the more likely it will influence values and actions throughout one’s lifetime. And so, we believe that nurturing Earth Intimacy in kids is vital.
Sadly, research shows that children in the U.S. spend an average of 4 to 7 minutes in unstructured outdoor play compared to 7 hours in front of screens. You read that right: 7 minutes of green time, 7 hours of screen time.
There is so much room for improvement, and we believe wholeheartedly that it’s possible — especially because the benefits of “green” time are so clear. Research confirms that time outside promotes physical and mental health, and that’s true for humans of any age. As we prioritize Earth Intimacy in the youngest generation, relationships founded in connection, love and kinship can guide lifelong actions for protection and care.
Fannie Lou Hamer’s words illuminate the interdependence of all peoples and all struggles for freedom. The sentence is simple, but the reality it describes is truly profound. Freedom is dynamic, individual, and collective, and it requires everyone’s active participation to achieve and maintain. Inspired by Hamer and so many visionaries, we use the term “co-liberation” to refer to the efforts that move us closer to freedom for all, including the Earth itself.
Co-liberation implies that we have work and practice to do together — and we most certainly do! But it’s also essential to recognize that the work is different depending on who we are… and more specifically, how protected and prioritized we are within the society we live in.
How does this relate to childhood education? Well, the truth is that we begin to learn the rules of society from a very young age. The fancy word for this is “socialization.” With each passing year, socialization becomes harder to undo — imagine you’re a salmon swimming upstream, and each year the current becomes stronger. The earlier we can start the process, the less there is to unlearn.
We believe that a better society — one in which all people are free to be themselves without retribution — depends on educating youth about these topics from the get go. With care and age-appropriate curriculum, we can lay foundations that support critical thinking, honest conversations and behaviour change, which we hope will add up to stopping the inheritance of injustice from being passed down any further.
Our bodies undergo remarkable changes as we mature from infancy to adolescence, and these changes are deeply supported by our intimacy with the Earth. After all, as a species, we evolved in intimate contact with our environments: the sunlight, the winds and breezes, the uneven ground… everything that makes up the ecosystem — always living, always changing. We are ecological beings and the outdoors is an ideal playground to cultivate (and celebrate) our senses — taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight, proprioception, and intuition.
Embodiment has two dimensions:
1. We support youth to grow more fully into their physical, emotional, sensory and relational selves.
2. We teach tools for self-regulation, which support emotional and relational wellbeing.
As we explore, play, crawl, balance, listen, observe, and reflect, we are attuning our whole individual systems to the whole collective system we are a part of. With guidance, practice, and time, this exploration teaches us to notice more acutely what is happening in our bodies, and how those happenings are impacting and being impacted by what is going on around us. This sensitivity is a crucial skill for navigating the world, both physically and emotionally, and it supports an embodied sense of ourselves as interdependent, ecological beings.
We want young people to feel informed, inspired and resourced to contribute to the world around them. Prayerful action is how we refer to contributions that heal, that nurture life, that inspire, that promote freedom. It is a type of leadership that is considerate of the health and well-being of many generations to come.
Leadership is a complicated word. Our vision of leadership is not rooted in a single expert or a charismatic person who guides everyone else. Rather, leadership is collaborative. It is a balance between knowing one’s gifts and feeling confident to offer them, and at the same time, celebrating the gifts of others and co-creating containers that support the expression and celebration of each other's gifts. It is equally important to understand our limitations and the places where we might grow. We make great effort in Wild Tenders to support the youth to see the gifts in themselves and others, to develop confidence in them, and also to believe that they can cultivate new gifts, skills, and awareness with time and practice (and guidance).
Service to the world can take so many different forms. After all, the Earth and the Earth's inhabitants are ailing (and thriving) in so many ways — we want to support the thriving! Childhood can be a time of innocence, but not every child is fortunate enough to experience that luxury — and kids are often far more observant than we give them credit for ... which is precisely why we need to talk to kids about what ails the world, particularly as they get older. To shield them from such realities is to hinder their capacity to respond — and perhaps their willingness. We believe that youth who are embodied, aware of the world’s ailments and wellness, and supported by an intimate relationship with the Earth will be well prepared for finding what prayerful actions are theirs to make in service to the whole.
Handmade Magic is a deep dive into the beauty we can create when our wild imaginations, hearts and hands align. The program will cover a variety of artistic mediums, with an emphasis on wild materials. Participants will learn a mix of basic skills and have the chance to explore their personal passions in depth. The pillars of our Core Curriculum — Earth Intimacy, Co-Liberation, Embodiment and Prayerful Action, will be foundational.
This class is limited to 12 participants.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have a 13 or 14-year-old that you’d like to enroll in a weekly Weaving Earth youth program, please see our Wild Tenders page.
Growing Up Grounded is a space to find hope for and in the future. Through a mix of Earth Intimacy practices, circle time, civic action, study of social context and movements, and more, we will reckon with the big story of now, and consider what possibilities it offers for young people who care deeply about the Earth and its inhabitants.
This class is limited to 15 participants.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have a 13 or 14-year-old that you’d like to enroll in a Weaving Earth youth program, please see our Wild Tenders page.
Camping trip location TBD
We have some scholarship funds available and we prioritize supporting indigenous families, black families, and other families of color, as well as folx from other marginalized groups, single working parents, parents between jobs, parents with disabilities, et cetera. If financial assistance beyond the sliding scale would be supportive for you in joining this program, you can indicate that in your application. Once we have a sense of the overall need, we will do our best to accommodate everyone’s requests.
Weaving Earth is a vendor with two California Charter Schools. If you are enrolled with them, you may be able to use Educational Support Funds to support your tuition. You can learn more about each school by visiting their websites, linked below. To enroll in one of these schools, contact the school directly and they will set you up with an education specialist.
From Compass Charter’s website:
“Compass Charter Schools is one of California’s leading WASC-accredited virtual charter schools of choice.”
From Heartwood’s website:
“Heartwood Charter School is a local, teacher led, community created independent study public school. We are proud to offer strong curriculum programs that provide educational choice to our families.”
Finally, we offer flexible payment plan schedules. The following options can be combined with either of the aforementioned financial assistance options to create a tuition program that works for your family. We will ask you to specify in your application what your financial plans/needs are, but please note that you will not be asked to sign an official financial agreement until after you have been accepted. For now, we want you to have this information for your planning purposes.
Some families choose to make a one-time full payment before the start of the year.
Many families elect to pay their tuition in installments. This option is available to anyone, including families who are receiving Charter School assistance or scholarship funds. We ask for payments starting in July to hold your spot and plan the program accordingly. Refund policies are outlined in the Financial Agreement you receive upon acceptance into the program. We offer two Payment Plans:
Under the Quarterly Payment Plan (QPP), you will make four equal tuition payments spread throughout the year. These payments will be due on:
Under the Monthly Payment Plan (MPP), you will make ten monthly payments starting on July 15, 2022 and concluding on April 15, 2023.
Please note that there are two applications to complete. The first collects basic contact information and the second asks you to complete some narrative questions about your child. Make sure to complete both forms! When you click the “START APPLICATION” button below, you will be redirected to the first application. Once you submit that application, a link will appear in the Thank You box that allows you to access the second application.
We haven’t opened registration for this program yet. However, there is a short interest form below that you can fill out if you’d like to enroll your teen or teens in this program when it launches. You can also fill out the form if you want to learn more about the offering. We’ll be in touch soon!
Fill in your details and we’ll keep you posted on upcoming WE offerings