Chavitos! Nature School
Nature Inspired, Spanish Immersed
Ages 2-5 and Grades K-3

Nature Inspired, Spanish Immersed
Ages 2-5
Grades K-3



Chavitos Staff for 2018-2019 

Meag Diamond is a Cedarsong certified Forest Kindergarten teacher. For 13 years she has taught in the public and private school environments in Washington and in Lagos, Nigeria.  Most recently she has spent six years at a local public Montessori school as a Lower Elementary Teacher (grades 1-3).  Meag holds her National Board Certification in Literacy and also possesses  a Montessori certification. When she saw her older son's love for nature she started to think creatively about a solution that would get both of them into the woods together more often. Now she has witnessed the powerful magic of the forest with her 1 year old. Chano has been in the forest since he was one month old and it's hard to get him to come inside.  

In September Meag, Jose, Keats and Chano will be visiting Guatemala for six months. In the meantime the kids will have other caring forest teachers to guide them.  

Meag teaches in the forest both mornings and afternoons March-August.  
Jose Estrada is originally from Guatemala where he spent six years teaching physical education and coaching soccer, lacrosse and swimming. For four years he worked at Safe Passage where he worked with some of Guatemala's neediest children. It was here where he met Meag who was volunteering for a week. His passion is to incorporate play and recreation into education with an emphasis on exploring nature in our diverse community. Jose and his sons Keats and Chano love to learn through cooking, dancing and biking to the farmers market.

José Estrada es originario de Guatemala donde pasó seis años enseñando educación física y entrenador de fútbol, lacrosse y natación. Durante cuatro años trabajó en Camino Seguro, donde trabajó con algunos de los niños más necesitados de Guatemala. Fue aquí donde se cumple Meag que trabajaba como voluntaria para una semana. Su pasión es la de incorporar el juego y la recreación en la educación con énfasis en la exploración de la naturaleza en nuestra diversa comunidad. José y su hijos Keats y Chano les encanta aprender a través de la cocina, el baile y el cuidado de los cuatro pollos de la familia.

Jose teaches both mornings and afternoons in March-August.

I am a father of two kiddos, Nolan and Olive ( 3yrs & 6 months). Nolan has been a part of the Chavitos community since he was 2. We’ve watched him grow in confidence, self awareness and communication through child lead play in the forest.   It has inspired the way I look at and interact with children. 

In January of 2018 I retired after 18 years in the military. My military career brought me to Washington, I was raised in California & Arizona. Since retirement I have started school at TCC and working towards my nursing degree. Yoga has been a passion of mine for the last 5 years and in 2016 I became a 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher. In the summer months my family and I enjoy camping, biking, paddle boarding and playing outside. During the winter we love to snowboard. I come to the forest excited to learn from the children and to experience life through their eyes. I am grateful to be a part of the Chavitos family and getting to know everyone in our community! 

Nick teaches mornings in September-February. 

My name is Catherina Hernandez. I am originally from Russia. After I graduated from University with a Master’s degree in Public Relations I decided to immigrate to United States looking for adventures. Here I met my husband and became a stay-at-home mom. 


When my son reached the preschool age I discovered forest schools. I absolutely loved its philosophy of allowing children to keep and develop a connection with nature, especially in todays world of technology. I witnessed how fulfilling it is to watch my own child while he was attending a forest schools. I also strongly believe in children's natural passion to learn and discover if given an opportunity to do so. 


In summer 2018 I completed Cedarsong Forest School Teacher Training on Vashon island. and am a Cedarsong Certified teacher. In the fall I'm joining Chavitos Nature School as an assistant teacher.


Catherina teaches afternoons September-February.  



Why us? 


Why Nature Immersion?

  • Develops physical, emotional and mental balance through an authentic connection with     the natural world
  • Fosters compassion and empathy for the earth and all its inhabitants 
  • Engages all your child's senses and increases their observation skills 
  • Increases problem solving skills
  • Allows for practice and application of social skills


Why Spanish Immersion?

  • Builds mental flexibility
  • Results in better attention
  • Develops ability to think and find solutions to problems
  • Generates higher test scores
  • Fosters better and more advanced reading skills
  • Results in greater confidence
  • Gives brains a boost
  • Provides greater opportunities for college and careers
  • Encourages a bigger view of the world
  • Allows for greater grasp of one’s first language—including a bigger, richer vocabulary


Immersion is defined as a method of foreign language instruction in which the regular preschool curriculum is taught through the medium of the second language, Spanish.

 Children incorporate new information into their lives as they are able to process it and comprehend it. The child's ability to accept and understand Spanish comes as they progress month after month.


Curriculum
As certified teachers we are well versed in the developmental benchmarks your child will need and are fluent in the Kindergarten common core standards. As a nature-based preschool, we do not follow a set curriculum, but rather we integrate these teachings through our discovery based and child-driven play. We use the Growing Up WILD curriculum as a guide for the preschool and the Coyote's Guide for the elementary school. 


We use the Honorable Harvest while teaching students how to engage with nature.  From picking flowers, leaves or fruit we start to teach these concepts to the children. We believe that the earth takes care of us and we need to take care of it with the next seven generation in mind. While these guidelines have not been written down, or even consistently spoken of as a whole- they are reinforced in small acts of daily life.  This is taken from the Native American traditions taught by Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book Braiding Sweetgrass.  


  • Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them. 
  • Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life.
  • Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer. 
  • Never take the first. Never take the last. 
  • Take only what you need.
  • Take only that which is given. 
  • Never take more than half. Leave some for others. 
  • Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. 
  • Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. 
  • Share. 
  • Give thanks for what you have been given. 
  • Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. 
  • Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.  


Calendar

For the 2018-2019 school year we will start on September 10th. Here is our schedule of holiday and breaks:


We will be observing the following Holidays: We don’t offer make-up days for Holidays.


2018-2019 School year

Our first day of school is September 10th.

November 12th- Veterans Day- No school

November 21st, 22nd, 23rd Thanksgiving Holiday-No school

December 24th-January 4th Winter break

January 21st, MLK day- No school

February 18th- Presidents' Day- No school

April 1st- April 12th- Spring Break- No school

May 27th Memorial Day- No school

June 26th-July 6th Summer break

Last day of School is August 31st.


Clothing

Click here to find specific requirements. Unlike traditional indoor programs, your child will frequently be sorting through many layers of clothing on their way to and from the bathroom. The ability to know and regulate toileting is therefore a necessity. All students must be potty trained. Or you must be ok with them wearing a diaper for the time they are here without being changed.


Teacher to Student Ratio

Class sizes are small with a 1:4 ratio. The limit is 8 students per class.

Lunch/Snack
Due to allergies and food preferences parents will provide their child's favorite snacks and foods for the day.  Please don't pack any peanuts. Also, please send a labeled reusable water bottle. Students will have time to eat snack at 10:00 and 2:30.

Hours
Preschool: Monday through Friday 8:30-11:30
Preschool: Monday, Friday 1:00-4:00
Elementary School: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 1:00-4:00

Our location

We are not the house, we are the land next to it. 
801 S Madison St. Tacoma Wa