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Nature immersion program for 5-8 year olds

Vashon Wilderness Program will expand our programs with a new nature immersion program for 5-8 year olds. Coyote Kids is a new place-based, nature immersion program that will meet on the campus of Vashon’s Chautauqua Elementary on late start Thursdays when teachers are engaged in staff development. As with all VWP programs, Coyote Kids will nourish children’s deep relationship between themselves, each other and the natural world.

Vashon Wilderness Program has helped over 2100 kids, teens, adults, and families to transform through their renowned educational approach called Coyote Mentoring, which Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and the national bestseller Last Child In the Woods, touts as “... good medicine for nature deficit disorder.” David Sobel, author of Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education, says that Coyote Mentoring is “... nature education as it should be — mysterious, timeless, hopeful, evocative and playful.”

“We have wait lists for all of our programs, but they are especially long among this age group,” says VWP Executive Director Stacey Hinden. Coyote Kids aims to meet some of the community’s demand for VWP’s programs, while providing an enriching way to start the day for children who attend the elementary school. “Spending time in nature has been shown to increase memory and ability to recall information, and stimulate the brain’s capacity for further learning, as well as increase creativity, flexibility, cooperation, self-awareness, stress reduction, and happiness,”  Hinden states.  

VWP’s skilled mentors will help children enrolled in Coyote Kids to develop keen sensory awareness and observation skills, wilderness survival and naturalist skills, and a deeper sense of connection to the forest and pond that surround their school. While not a Vashon Island School District program, CES Principal Rebecca Goertzel is supportive. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to have more experiences in our woods, and to bring the Vashon Wilderness Program experience to our property.”

Coyote Kids will begin in September 2017, and will follow the Vashon Island School District calendar for late start Thursdays. The program will meet from 9:00am - 11:15am; children will be accompanied to school by VWP’s mentors.

A free information session is scheduled on May 22nd at 7pm at the Vashon Library. Children and parents are invited to meet the instructors and ask questions about the program.
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