Ways of the Wild (aka/WoW) is a full-day, all outdoor program for children ages 7-14 designed to support their growth and development through immersion in nature. While the curricular focus includes wilderness survival skills, naturalist knowledge and self-care, the days are centered on learning about what it means to be honest, compassionate, respectful and responsible humans. Mentors set clear conduct expectations and support the development of positive interpersonal relationships between individuals, within small groups and among the larger WoW community.
The program is outdoors, all day no matter the weather, developing in the children personal strength and resilience. Cancellations occur only when travel is deemed unsafe or if high wind conditions exist. Spending full days on the same patch of woodlands and fields throughout three seasons, fosters a deep connection to and respect for the land. Structured, experiential learning opportunities are blended with free play to honor children’s need to feel a sense of personal agency while introducing curricular components that encourage experimentation with new skills in a safe, supportive environment. Key curricular components include fire-making, navigation, wildlife tracking, birding and shelter-building.
The day begins at 9am when the full community gathers for gratitude, song and inspiration, and afterwards, small groups of 8 children and 2 educators set forth for a full day of lessons, challenges and ‘funtivities’ that focus on increasing awareness, cultivating curiosity, engaging the senses and developing confidence. Utilizing games, songs, stories and community work projects, educators introduce each new topic with creativity and field-tested competence. At the day’s end, the groups gather again to share their experiences, giving each child a chance to practice having their voice heard by their peers and mentors in a large group setting. Children often finish the day with mud on their boots, twigs in their hair, and tired, but chock full of stories to share with their families.
- Inspire a deepened connection to the natural world
- Foster a sense of belonging and community
- Teach practical, wilderness skills and their applications
- Integrate personal and community responsibility into daily interactions
- Commit to respectful conduct with others, self and nature
- Play and have fun learning together
Children may participate Tuesdays and/or Thursdays for the duration of the program year, from September-June. Each day’s curriculum for the week is unique and varied to meet the growth needs of the particular group. Program Elders provide additional guidance and mentor-ship through their involvement in presenting challenges, sharing stories and developing connections with the WoW community.
Please review our health and safety protocols for this upcoming program year as they relate to Covid-19: https://whitepineprograms.org/covid-19/.
Nov – Dec: Send along an article of blaze orange to wear. We wear blaze orange during hunting season- no matter the location.