Ashlar's programs follow a simple daily rhythm. Activities may not occur at the exact same time every day, but we work to ensure that, as often as possible, they occur in the same order. This predictable pattern helps us to achieve many of our goals. 1) Children learn very quickly what to expect, and what is expected of them, while attending our programs. This leads to feelings of both security and confidence, as children display calculated behaviors that many may find surprisingly mature, responsible, and helpful. 2) Routines create a sense of certainty that many children need in order to feel comfortable, especially neurodiverse children or children with anxiety, a history of trauma, or other developmental differences. This leads to a community that feels more welcoming, proves more inclusive and becomes more diverse. 3) The framework allows our Mentors to weave in points of growth, naturally and effectively. The points of growth are deliberately worked into our child-lead activities in order to nurture the 7 intelligences for whole-child development.
Simple Daily Rhythm for Friends of the Forest: Sunrays, Swallowtails & Starlings
Program Times: 12:30-4:30 weekly on Mondays & Tuesdays, in 3 seasonal sessions
12:30 Program begins.
Mentors will begin greeting Questers at 12:25 for anybody who arrives a few minutes early. If you arrive before 12:55, please wait in your car or tour around with your child (watch for cars, please), to allow our Mentors to complete their preparations for the day.
Arrival (5-15 minutes)
Children will be warmly welcomed into the forest to begin their afternoon together.
Gathering Circle (15-20 Minutes)
Mentors will check-in with Questers, and the group will discuss the plans for the day.
Hike/Explore/Adventure (30-45 Minutes)
The group will enjoy a walk together, both journeys and destinations vary.
Cohort Invitations (45-60 Minutes)
The three groups will split up for some developmentally specific activities or tasks. They will remain within earshot of each other, but will each engage in their own activities.
Meet Up For Snack (20-30 minutes)
The cohorts will join together again for a nutrition break. A garden-based snack will be provided.
Open Choice and Invitations (45-60 minutes)
Questers will have unstructured opportunities to connect with nature and each other.
Optional Fire, Craft, or Other Activity (30-60 Minutes)
As time and energy permits.
Closing Circle, gratitudes, well wishes (5-10 Minutes)
Program ends at 4:30.
Simple Daily Rhythm for Wilderness Whimsy: An Early Childhood Adventure
Program Times: 9:00-11:30am weekly on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
9:00 Program begins.
Mentors will welcome Questers in at 8:55 for anybody who arrives a few minutes early. If you arrive before 8:55, please wait in your car or tour around with your child (watch for cars, please), to allow our Mentors to complete their preparations for the day.
Welcoming Invitations (15-20 minutes)
Children will be warmly welcomed into a magical forest setting, with small invitations to engage in while waiting for everybody to arrive.
Stump Circle (20-30 minutes)
The group sings their Welcoming Song and follows with 2-3 other songs. A story is told, followed by brief discussion to promote comprehension and literacy skills.
Unstructured Play in the Play Garden (45-60 minutes)
This allows children the opportunities to pursue their passions and hone their skills. This element is critical for social-emotional development, and truly contributes to the whole-child development that our Mentors are dedicated to nurturing.
Morning Nutrition (~20 minutes)
A garden-inspired snack is provided
Guided Activity and/or Walk
The focus during this last part of each morning will be on connecting with nature in new ways.
11:25 Goodbye Song
The children pack up their belongings and prepare for their parents' arrival. Gathered in a circle, they take turns offering things they were grateful for this morning, or things they wish for their friends until we return. A special Goodbye Song is sung Children may may not enter the parking circle until their parents have come to walk with them.
Program ends at 11:30.