Hi. I’m Allison. It’s good to meet you. Thanks for finding your way to Greenwood Schoolhouse. I’d like to tell you a little bit about this project. I’ll start by answering the usual question a person will ask when you first meet:
What do you Do?
Well, I suppose I specialize in Cultivating Curiosity.
I’ve always envied people who can state simply what they do professionally, or have a clear hobby or two that they pour their free time into. As in, “Hi, my name is ______. I’m a __________ who loves to _______ on the weekends.”
My challenge in doing so is that I am interested in many things and want to learn how to do many things. My cup of passions is more like a pot of passions. If I simmer this pot down to its essence I am left with one unifying idea: Curiosity. This insatiable sense of curiosity, while it may present challenges at times, is something I hold dear. And something I hope to instill in others.
In 2003, wanting to share the love of learning about the natural world lead me from the profession of Botanist to the profession of Science Teacher. For the last 17 years I have been working in the field of Environmental Education, and now more specifically as an Environmental Literacy Coach for the Humboldt County Office of Education. This means I team up with teachers to help them foster their students’ environmental literacy skills, strengthen their sense of place, and have successful (and meaningful!) learning experiences outdoors.
When school campuses closed in March 2020 this obviously meant the work I do with teachers also needed to adopt a distance approach.
This got me thinking:
What do I have to give during this pandemic?
How can my skill set be of service now?
And how can I help from the confines of my home?
As an Environmental Literacy Coach, how can I help both teachers AND their students’ families build outdoor experiences into their virtual (distance) learning reality at their homes — wherever they may be.
Hence, Greenwood Schoolhouse.
Here I am sharing activities, ideas, and inspiration (as well as standards aligned lessons) to help move away from the screen and head outdoors — where there are so many rich teachable moments you can literally trip over them! Learning from home is actually an incredible opportunity to let the outdoors BE our classroom.
Doesn’t that feel good?
Like, really good?
While the main theme of the activities and lessons shared here is Nature in all its’ forms, my passions for art (textiles, clay, watercolor, natural dyeing, etc.), cooking, gardening, wild foods (especially seaweed!), primitive skills, herbalism, and I’m sure some other things as well will certainly slip in.
Did I mention the kids?
Yes, we are doing it all, just like you: juggling working from home, facilitating distance learning for our 3rd grader, and tossing our two year old into the mix for a good measure of both laughs and complete chaos. Turns out my husband, Michael Kauffmann, is an incredible science and math teacher (with a passion for STEAM and curriculum development), as well as an accomplished author and ecologist, so we have bonafide experts on our team as well. Thank goodness!
So let’s get curious.
Let’s balance screen time with life in the tangible world.
Let’s head outside together and see what we find.
Let’s notice the teachable moments and beauty in learning together that abounds… especially in the specks or expanses of nature we have right outside our own doors.
Let’s notice and celebrate those uplifting moments of asking great questions and making discoveries right alongside our kids.
Let’s let it be fun and fascinating for all of us.