Chavitos Staff for 2019-2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
For the 2019-2020 school year we will start on September 9th. Here is our schedule of holiday and breaks:
We will be observing the following Holidays: We don’t offer make-up days for Holidays or vacations.
2019-2020 School year
Our first day of school is September 9th.
November 11th- Veterans Day- No school
November 27th, 28th, 29th Thanksgiving Holiday-No school
December 23rd-January 3rd Winter break
January 20th, MLK day- No school
February 17th- Presidents' Day- No school
April 6th- April 17th- Spring Break- No school
May 25th Memorial Day- No school
June 23rd-July 3rd Summer break (Yes, it starts on a Tuesday)
Last day of School is August 24th (Yes, it’s a Monday).
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 RatioClass sizes are small with a 1:4 ratio. The limit in preschool is 8 students per class, for elementary 9 students per class.
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 or egg. Also, please send a labeled reusable water bottle. Students will have time to eat snack at 10:00 and 2:30.
Preschool: Monday through Friday 8:30-11:30
Preschool: Monday, Friday 1:00-4:00
Elementary School: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 1:00-4:00