The Roots of Growing Home
I have spent my life exploring the natural world. As a child of an environmental educator in an active outdoor family, I learned to carefully observe even the smallest of creatures and became extremely comfortable not just hiking, canoeing, and camping, but existing outside. My nature experiences were further reinforced as I participated in Girl Scouts and summer camp. My first foray into working with children outside was as a residential camp counselor.
My connection to the forests of New England led me to study them in college. As I developed my skills in forest ecology and became a scientist of natural resources I realized a key component of my life and love of nature was my capacity to share it with others. In pursuit of these goals I worked to develop curriculum for GLOBE, an international student-focused citizen science program and earned a degree in education. Teaching first, as a public school science teacher, and then as a Montessori adolescent guide helped me to see the true power of nature on the development of children.
Currently I live in northern New Hampshire with my husband and two outdoor babies. As a parent and home schooler I’m getting to enjoy nature as though it is all new again.
Through each new experience I have gained insights into the development of children and how important outdoor exploration and play is to that development. The natural environment offers engaging and essential opportunities for humans of all ages. For the youngest children it allows them to explore their senses and challenge their bodies. Elementary age children gain information about their place in the world through their questions about everything that surrounds them and how it all connects. When adolescents spend time in natural environments they find the freedom and the calm to both test their limits and tap into their need for creative expression. Adolescents also begin to see how their future work or livelihood might be connected to the land and strongly desire opportunities to work alongside adults to learn diverse skills that connect them with the adult world of economic production and exchange.
As part of my work and desire to always continue my own learning journey, I have come to understand a second central idea of raising and educating children, and that is to “follow the child”, a concept that arose from Maria Montessori’s close observations of children. To follow the child means you carefully observe without interruption or judgement, you try to understand the child’s actions in relation to their developmental stage, and you take actions that respect and support the needs of the child. When the child is understood and treated respectfully they are able to gain the confidence and skills they need to successfully navigate the world, including self-regulation, communication, independence, kindness, creativity, problem solving and so many more.
Supporting Your Journey
With these principles advising my work, I founded Growing Home, LLC to guide and support families as they navigate the challenging work of raising children today. We all have the same goals of raising joyful children and living in harmonious families, but often our schedules, stress, and anxiety prevent us from reaching those goals. By working with us you will learn strategies that will benefit all members of your family. Let’s start growing home together.