Having spent eight years of my childhood free to roam in nature with no adult explaining to me everything I encountered, I am drawn to programs that also allow the children to be free to wonder and follow their natural attractions to wherever they may lead. Nature is the best mentor; the best teacher. Not many parents these days feel comfortable giving their children the directive, “Go out and play!”, but, believe you me, there is nothing like coming home from a long day of playful adventure in the forest, the fields, and by the ocean and rivers, tired and dirty with many exciting stories to tell.
I took a yearlong internship with Soaring Eagle Nature School in Vancouver. They use the Coyote Guide. I enjoyed the inquiry-based learning approach of the program, as it fostered the delight and love of nature in all weather and seasons. I think the Coyote Guide, and the 8 Shields mentorship philosophy that goes with it, would go well with the NatureKids program. For example, you could being an Explorer Day with an activity from the Coyote Guide (a story, some games, a gratitude circle, etc.), then the planned event runs, with/without a Nature Mentor, and then you could circle back and end the Explorer Day with a closing activity from the coyote guide.
Here is a link to two videos describing some of the aspects of Coyote Mentoring. There are many more. Jon Young, the founder of 8 Shields, gives workshops and online courses as well.
Coyote Guide – http://coyotesguide.com/
Sonja Teuwen is the co-leader for the CowichanValley NatureKids Weekend Club and our resident Coyote Mentoring expert. Feel free to get in touch with her to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org