At R+M, we are committed to helping our community, looking beyond our street, our neighborhood and our zip code. For us to reach our full potential, means helping those who need a bit of a nudge to get to theirs. The Schoolhouse of Wonder is a jewel of our community, but one that has gone unfound.
It works like a classroom without the traditional boundaries of walls and doors. Their outdoor programs inspire children from all walks of life, creating a world where people respect themselves, one another and the environment. Through an immersion in nature, teachers ignite imaginations, build self-confidence and teach respect to children who are getting lost indoors.
Unfortunately, the more everyone tries to help our children succeed by packing schedules and focusing study, the less chance our children actually have to grow. One of the beautiful things about the outdoors is its unpredictability. It provides our children an incredible opportunity to stretch their imaginations, navigate new situations with others and practice social skills.
The effects of this “nature deficit disorder,” coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, most certainly sits at the epicenter of some of our most disturbing childhood trends — rise in obesity, depression and attention disorders.
Throughout the year Schoolhouse teachers engage students at West Point on Eno in Durham, NC. Little feet arrive by school bus, back seats and home school caravan often afraid of what the earth has to offer. They leave filled with eyes-wide-open stories and inspired to return. This new respect for the environment translates into a greater interest in science education, a positive impact on their social development and an open door for increased activity. Invite Mother Nature into your home and see just how far our children can go.
(As a Schoolhouse of Wonder board member I’m transparently biased, but their mission and philosophy is what attracted me to them in the first place. If you believe, like I do, that our children deserve the opportunity to leverage all of the benefits of nature, please learn more about this movement at www.SchoolhouseOfWonder.org.)
A few weeks ago another parent at closing circle said, “Schoolhouse of Wonder helps me feel closer to my daughter.”
I know just what he means. After a day at Schoolhouse, our children return to us muddy, well-exercised, and brimming with stories about their day. Their encounters provide rich fodder for dinner-table discussions and clues into budding areas of interest—and challenge. An experience at Schoolhouse often provides a framework through which we can help our children grapple with deeper issues that may arise as they navigate their environment and learn to connect respectfully with each other.
Thanks for the shout out Bev. And an extra-special thanks for living the R+M brand. The Triangle is a better place with you all living, loving and working here.
I am interested in what you are doing. I work at DCA (crisis center for substance abuse and mental health) and I know what you are doing makes a difference!!!!
Wendy – The hardest part of the blog was cutting content ’cause there are so many stories to tell. Thanks for your board leadership!
Teresa – If you have a moment reach out to Megan Goodrich, the executive director at Schoolhouse. Their teachers are master guides to teaching respect of self, others and the environment through various activities. No doubt a critical thread of your work as well.