Category Archives: Curriculum

World Geography: Africa

Arts and Science Homeschool Enrichment in Colorado Geography

Our Arts & Science Homeschool Enrichment program during Winter and Spring trimesters was dedicated to World Geography — Africa.

The diversity and abundance of Africa left the kids in awe and excited to travel there one day. The goal for our lessons was not only to have the children learn the information, but most importantly to inspire curiosity and self motivation to discover the world around us and beyond! What we learned was just an introduction to this beautiful continent and we desire to encourage our students to continue their own learning and discussions at home!

Click here to see our full overview of all the activities and fun we had during this curriculum.

World Geography: Africa overview — click here

Anatomy curriculum wrap up

STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy

As we are wrapping up our 2022 fall trimester we wanted to share with you some of the photos from our STEAM program (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math), this fall it was dedicated to human anatomy.

Skeleton clay modeling

Our core project was playdough modeling of human skeleton. Over the years we developed and worked with the children on a number of playdough modeling projects on topics such as birds, hibernation, ant hill structure and botany. These projects are both science and art. Children find them fun and engaging, while slow pace of the step-by-step project offers deeper understating of the topic and better retention of new knowledge.

While working on a playdough modeling project the following disciplines are incorporated:

  • ✓ Science — botany, anatomy, biology, etc. Depending on what we are modeling.
  • ✓ Mathematics — children use measuring tape and rulers, we discuss proportions, comparative sizes and shapes.
  • ✓ Fine motor skill and sensory work through making of various elements needed in the course of the lesson.
  • ✓ Arts and self expression — during the project children learn both to model someone’s else’s work (essential in development of new skills) and once new skills acquired children are free to create and add their own elements to the project.
  • ✓ Logical thinking — learning to plan a project made of multiple steps.
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy

Hands-on experiments

STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy

As each week we worked on building a next section of the human skeleton we discussed with the children the function of that skeletal segment. Children learned about nerves and their role in communication between the brain and all of the body. We discussed the essential role of the rib cage in protecting vital organs, such as heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. The children were fascinated about the dual bone structure of the forearm and lower part of the leg, and seeing how that structure makes twisting movement possible! We had a fun experiment on digestion, and even built a little robotic hand.

Scroll down to see some of the photos from these projects of fall’s STEAM curriculum.

Hands-on experiment topic: spine, vertebrae and spinal disks

STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy

Hands-on experiment topic: lungs

STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy

Hands-on experiment topic: hand structure

STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy
STEAM homeschool enrichment program on anatomy

We have adopted a pack of African Wild Dogs

“Children have a natural affinity towards nature. Dirt, water, plants, and small animals attract and hold children’s attention for hours, days, even a lifetime.” – Ben Hewitt, Homegrown

We are excited to share the news that our forest school has adopted a pack of African Wild Dogs in order to help this wonderful, but critically endangered species to survive.

Further in this post I tell a little bit about how this adoption came about. But first, I wanted to share this wonderful documentary about African Wild Dogs. The documentary is by Kim Wolhuter, and I highly recommend his other nature documentaries.

“Dogs in the land of lions” film

If this video fails to load you can find it available for free here on PBS.ORG. Continue reading

Our pollinator-friendly garden at the school cabin

Our outdoor school program in Palmer Lake has a little cabin right by the mountains. The school cabin is used solely for the purpose of the program, and not as a residence. It is a charming, almost fairytale-like environment with a beautiful outdoor space for playing under the canopy of majestic evergreens, working on art projects and learning about nature.

“In every gardener is a child who loves to play in the dirt. In every child is a gardener ready to grow.” ~ unknown source

outdoor school colorado springs

In our Palmer Lake outdoor school location we start every day in the forest where children spend a few hours playing and exploring in the mountains. Around lunch they return to the school cabin where we work on a variety of different projects, such as playdough sculpting, watercolor painting, sewing. And gardening and tending to plants is also one of our essential activities there. As a part of that we have a small greenhouse, each child also has a small garden allotment where they grew snap peas and we also have a beautiful pollinator -friendly flower garden.

outdoor school colorado springs outdoor school colorado springs Continue reading

Waldorf inspired letter lessons with Adriana

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” ~ Alfred Mercier

One of our favorite aspects of the Waldorf preschool teaching approach is introducing a topic by means of a story. It is such a great way to spark a child’s interest and to invoke their imagination from the very start. It creates a perfect foundation for further study of the subject. This is something we try to use as much as possible in all our curriculums, whether we are learning about birds, wolves, or alphabet letters.

And so today I wanted to share with you how this approach is implemented by our wonderful teacher Adriana Carlson in her letter lessons – that are very loved by all the children at the school.

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Learning About Birds, part 2

“Art is a place for children to learn to trust their ideas, themselves, and to explore what is possible. ~ Maryann F. Kohl

Welcome to the second blog post about our bird-focused curriculum from January. In this post I want to share with you all the beautiful artistic projects the children created during this period while learning about birds.

When creating our curriculums we try to plan the arts and crafts projects to parallel the current learning theme, as it helps children to connect deeper with the subject we are learning about, practice through art their new knowledge and make it their own.

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Learning about birds, part 1

Learning about birds at Colorado Springs nature kindergarten forest school nature preschool in Palmer Lake

Learning about nature and developing closer connection with it is one of our fundamental goals as a forest school or nature kindergarten. So we dedicated the month of January to learning about birds and it was such a hit with the children so I wanted to share with you what we did in this past month.

It was a slow-paced and fun learning block stretched over the entire month of January to give the children plenty of time to connect with it, absorb the new knowledge and enjoy all the activities we had prepared as a part of it. To keep learning fun and engaging without taking away much time from children’s free and active play we always try find ways to carry out our lessons and activities both indoors and outdoors. The learning blocks are brief (5-10 minutes at the most) and occur few times throughout the day, incorporating either a story, a game, or arts and crafts project.

As we ended up covering a lot of ground, I thought it would be best to separate this topic into 3 separate posts. Here is part 1.

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Learning about wolves

learning about wolves in Colorado Springs Real Red Riding Hoods forest school

Our wolf study was done with children ages 3-9 years old and turned out to be a great success. We noticed that through the time we spent on the subject using play, crafts, stories and live interactions with these amazing animals, the children have picked up a great deal of knowledge. And their perception of the wolf has formed based on actual understanding of this animal and its characteristics, rather than ages-old biased folklore, movies and general misconceptions of the ‘big bad wolf’.

We are very proud of the results accomplished, and are planning to return to the wolf study again later in Spring, around the time when pups are born in the wild.

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