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 2019-2020 

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.  

Meag is passionate about plant medicine and has started a two year study with Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.  She hopes to learn natural plant dying from an abuela while in Guatemala.  

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 April-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 April-August and is a fluent Spanish speaker.
Clara grew up exploring the lakes, forests and rivers of Minnesota where she learned to appreciate the wonder of Nature in all of its glorious seasons. Clara is an enthusiastic early childhood educator. She is a certified AMS Montessori teacher and has her Cedarsong Way Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training certification from Erin Kenny of Cedarsong Nature School. Clara has been teaching children on and off for more then 20 years. She is passionate about being in the forest with children, supporting them as they bloom and grow. As an accomplished artist with an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Clara loves to guide children in making nature art out of found objects that they find in the forest. She enjoys hiking on Vashon Island with her husband and two Yorkies Buttercup and Blossom and riding the trails with a most beloved horse, Henry the Hanoverian. You will often find Clara outside writing poetry, reading about trees and unicorns or curled up under a cedar for a cozy nap.


Clara teaches Monday-Friday mornings and Monday and Friday afternoons in September-March.

Mark Walker was a certified high school science teacher serving wonderful students of Flint, Michigan for thirteen years.  For fifteen years to follow, Mark worked with university, college, and community college students who were taking biology, chemistry, and nutrition courses.  Perhaps most notably, Mark and his wife Gaby shared the natural sciences and professional health care services with about 500 youngsters in the Mchinji District of Malawi, Africa for five months in 2010.  Mark states that these life experiences have shaped him for the important challenge of working with the children of Chavitos Nature School.


Before the arrival of their son, Francisco, Mark and Gaby enjoyed seeing what they could of the world and spending time with family in several states of Mexico.  With Francisco now seven years old, the family enjoys the garden, studying, ice hockey, Tae Kwon Do, and nearly all of the outdoor activities here in Washington. Mark is grateful for the people he has met so far in the Forest Community, expecting to learn so much with the children, families, and educators.


Mark teaches mornings Monday-Friday in September-March and is a fluent Spanish speaker.
 Brian is originally from Sitka, Alaska and so you could simply say that from an early age, he's always had a taste for the outdoors. He moved to Enumclaw, Washington when I was 6 and the adventures continued.
Fast forward, he attended Washington State University where he earned a Bachelors degree in Kinesiology. While attending University, he got involved with a Campus Ministry that helped transform his life and set a new trajectory-Fitness and helping people. After graduating, he worked in the fitness industry for a few years, but eventually felt called to get involved with missions work overseas. This landed him in Valladolid, Spain for almost three years. Here his desires for teaching and for the Spanish language really started to take root. Along with his team, they established an official English tutoring classes that really blossomed and helped many young adults improve their English in many ways (not to mention, it helped US with our Spanish).While in Spain, he started a long distance relationship with his now wife, Christi who is from Peru. They've been married a little over 5 years now and have two wonderful children, Eliana (2) and Ezra (16mos). They absolutely love going on outdoor adventures and discovering new bugs, animals, and plant life. These past 5+ years, they've been youth pastors at a Bilingual Church here in Tacoma. He is also a director for what is called, “The School of Life-Youth.” They love serving and helping others in the community. 
Brian teaches Monday-Friday afternoons in September-March and is a fluent Spanish Speaker

Orchid Fowler is currently the lead elementary school teacher at Chavitos Nature School. Formerly the lead forest kindergarten teacher at Mother Earth School and the lead nursery teacher at Tacoma Waldorf School, Orchid has dedicated her career to nature immersion education, nature-based curriculum development, nature mentorship for all-girls rites of passage camps, and social justice advocacy. Orchid is passionate about survival & homesteading skills. A mother of one and a Waldorf-trained educator, Orchid has been teaching outdoors in the Pacific Northwest since 2010.


Orchid teaches in the Elementary program Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday September-August.

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