Our Sustainability Curriculum
Treebath's Explorers program satisfies childrens' natural thirst for discovery, while at the same time developing a sense of responsibility for all things living.
In today’s world of technology, ensuring our children get enough time outdoors is a growing concern for parents. We created Treebath’s outdoor programs to provide a means for children to get outside. While we know the intangible benefits for children when they get fresh air, new studies show there are tangible effects, too. Being in nature stimulates children’s imagination and creativity, and reduces stress, depression and obesity. Treebath’s outdoor program is skillfully curated to provide the added benefit of instilling children at a young age with a sense of responsibility and respect for nature. We strive to ensure that they take these values with them as they grow into world citizens.
Each weekly session takes place outdoors in a nature-based environment, and begins with a series of exercises aimed at developing fine and gross motor skills. Our Explorers then enjoy free play, weekly climate and season-specific teachings, mindfulness exercises, songs and games.
Introduction to Our Program Methods
Our sustainability curriculum is designed to nurture joy and curiosity by educating young people to become caring world citizens. We have carefully tailored each of our learning opportunities to connect with the seasonal environment making learning relevant, rich, and meaningful for children. Weekly, each class session is organized into a particular theme of exploration. Our curriculum is designed to be adaptable to the seasons and to explore questions and ideas generated by our students.
The Roots and Essential Questions
The foundation of our curriculum is four Roots designed to build an in-depth focus for exploring our world over the course of several weeks: Who? Where? What? and How? Each of these Roots asks an essential question that is intended to stimulate conversation around particular content or seasonal events: Who are we? Where do we live? What is happening? How are we all connected? These Essential Questions provide context for children to explore several Big Ideas.
The Trunk & Big Ideas
The Trunk of our curriculum forms the enduring understanding that elaborates on our Big Ideas of sustainability, like changes of times, cycles, diversity and interdependence. Our Trunks define some of the understandings that we strive to teach children through their exploration of the Essential Question and Big Ideas. Each Trunk is intended to offer children concepts they can take away with them and continuously develop throughout their lives -- mirroring the outward growth of the tree trunk’s concentric circles.
Branches & Leaves – Skills and Lessons
What skills and knowledge will students acquire as a result of each Root? We focus on four areas of skills and knowledge, or Branches, which grow from our Trunks:
Wonders of Nature
Plants & Animals
Community & Respect
Finally, each lesson stems from our Branches like the leaves of a tree. While our core methods are influenced by various forest programs, tree-bath offers developmental and cognitive learning methods based the Scandinavian “friluftsliv” model and forest therapy techniques. These methods allow students to enjoy a variety of experiences in a unique way.
Using this framework, we organize each class session into our standard sequence composed of four learning opportunities: one Active, one Cognitive, one Mindful, and one variable It Depends – based on what serves the individual group, the day, the season or the weather. We incorporate a weekly word and animal to further reinforce these concepts.
At the program start time, we gather with our Explorers at a designated meeting place a close walking distance to the area we will be exploring. Currently, we are offering after-school pick up at the Battery Park School (PS276) and Spruce Street (PS397) only. If you would like to have future pickup at your child's school, please let us know here.
Seasonal Active and Cognitive Exercises
Once gathered, we begin by transporting ourselves to a spot suited for our group where we can explore and learn about our weeks Root through seasonal elements - the creatures living in the woods and how they behave at different times of year, and the types of foliage and plants around us. We alternate with Leaves that include fun Active exercises that develop fine and gross motor skills and get our Explorers bodies moving and jumping outdoors including Cognitive actives that stimulate creativity and problem solving.
Snack Time - aka "FIKA"
Following our initial exploration, we sit down for our “Fika”, which is Swedish for snack time. We provide the seasonal drinks - hot apple cider in fall, hot chocolate in winter & early spring - and a small snack to give our Explorers energy for the second portion of the program.
Mindfulness Exercises Using the Five Senses
After our Fika, we engage our Explorers with some nature-based Mindfulness to reinforce the weeks' lessons, while encouraging creative play. We finish each class with a brief walk that engages all five of our Explorers' senses, and conclude with a circle time session where we share what we learned about, and how we can apply those lessons beyond class.
At the conclusion of our program, we bring our Explorers back to the designated meeting point where each child is picked up by a parent or caregiver.