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Program Info

ECO is an outdoor, experiential homeschool program serving families in the Phoenix area. The idea for ECO stems from the "forest school" model that is offered throughout Europe and parts of the USA. We will be offering a program for K-3rd grade and 4th grade and above. All our ECO Stewards feel very strongly about immersing children in the outdoors to learn. Through ECO children will learn about and explore nature's wonders through cross curricular, hands on, experiential experiences.

We offer several enrollment options which can be found on our tuition page.

Enrollment for 2019-2020 will be opening on May 28th.

The ECO program will follow a similar format each day (we may vary the layout depending on the days temperature, weather, kids attention spans, etc):

  • 9:45 am - 10:00 am - Arrive at class and get checked in
  • 10:00 am - 10:30 am - Hike & guided nature journaling time
  • 10:30 am - 11:30 am - ECO Navigators - Learning activity (centered around our theme), ECO Explorers - Storytime
  • 11:30 am - 12:00 pmArt in nature (we will create something around our theme) 
  • 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm - Lunch (provided by parents) / exploratory play 
  • 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm - Learning activity (centered around our theme)
  • 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Specimen box and/or semester citizen scientist project (we will do each of these 1 time a month)
  • 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm Exploratory Play (children will have free play time to explore and connect with nature on their own and with their peers)

*There will be an ongoing reading assignment for each group. Children will be expected to read approximatly 1-3 chapters of their book (Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopoold or Chloe and the Desert Heroes) per month between August and March. We will be doing activities and/or nature journaling assignments over the course of the year that corelate with these books.

**ECO Navigators (4th-9th grade) will be gathering and utilizing GIS (Geographic Information System) data to create a Story Map. This Story Map will be a fully functional online product used to educate the public about our local ecosystem. Two additional inside class times (one in the fall and a second one in the spring) will be scheduled at a later date to teach the Navigators how to gather their data, find GPS coordinates, compile the data in Excel. The inside class time will likely be at a local library and a poll to decide on the dates will be created within the Google Classroom forum. No additional cost is required for this project as ECO has received complimentary educational ArcGIS account. Kathy has already created a sample a story map which can be viewed at: - Story Map Wildflower Nature Walk. And our ECO Explorers will be completing a phenology wheel. These will be an ongoing assignments and may need to be worked in between classes, at home.

***We will be incorporating the Quest Club program into ECO. Children may earn pins for completing various discovery areas. ECO Leaders will complete all necessary paperwork and submit the forms to receive the pins. There will be an additional fee for any child that would like to receive pins.


Our 2019 Fall Semester will be covering the following topics:

You can view a full syllabus which includes topics, subjects, skills and key vocab we will be covering each month here.

  • August 2019: Leave no trace, desert awareness, nature journaling, urban nature, citizen science, phenology
  • September 2019: Watersheds, pollution, macroinvertebrates, water sources, rivers of Maricopa
  • October 2019: Botany basics, edible & medicinal plants
  • November 2019: Riparian areas, Burrowing Owls

 

Our 2020 Spring Semester will be covering the following topics:
  • January 2020: Geology of AZ
  • February 2020: Orienteering, map reading
  • March 2020: Reading wrap-up discussion, conservation, land ethics
  • April 2020: Scat & tracks
  • May 2020: Nature photography, nature journaling, making observations

*Citizen Scientist Project Fall & Spring TBD by children
**ECO Explorers will also have a focus animal for each class