Nature Immersion Program
Nine-Month Program, September through May for Ages 4-17
Interested in Our Program?
1. Attend an upcoming tour. Tours will resume in early April after we have enrolled our current families and applicants.*
2. If it feels like a good fit for our program after the tour, we will send an application to complete. Please note there is a non-refundable $50 application processing fee.
3. Once reviewed, your child will be invited to visit our program.
4. We will offer enrollment to new families based on fit and spaces available.*
*Families already enrolled in our 2023-24 homeschool program are given priority enrollment for the upcoming school year before we offer any spots to new children.
About Our Homeschool Nature Immersion Program
Children and teens have the opportunity to mindfully connect with and be fully immersed in the natural world, exploring 58 magical acres of forest, field, pond, and our beautiful Frost Gully Brook. Self-directed or child-led learning is a natural way of learning and is at the core of our homeschool nature immersion program. This means that while we provide some structure with touch points during the day, many activities are offered (not required), and we support participants in pursuing current interests. The benefits of self-directed learning are numerous and include (though not limited to) increased self confidence, responsibility, sense of autonomy, mastery, motivation and sense of purpose, as well as opportunities for personal growth.
During the school year, we offer four different age cohorts: Sprouts (ages 4-5), Maple (ages 5-7), Beech (ages 8-10), Aspen (ages 11-13) and Oak (ages 14-17). Days available are Monday through Thursday and run from roughly 9:00am to 2:30pm (this varies a bit within each cohort). From 3:00 (or when Nature Immersion ends) to 4:30 our Wild Woods Club offers an extended day for current homeschool nature immersion participants.
Our staff includes Guides, Teen Mentors and Mentors-in-Training (MIT).
- Guides are either Registered Maine Guides (RMG) and have gone through the training and rigorous Maine Guide testing or are in-training for RMG. They are the lead adult staff for each cohort and have been through training with TTT for wilderness skills, non-violent communication and basic conflict resolution. They are also CPR certified. Our Guides are amazing, kind-hearted and adventurous humans who work through all kinds of weather while engaging, supporting and ensuring the safety of the children in their cohort. Many of our Guides are homeschooling parents.
- Teen Mentors receive similar training, have been a participant and then MIT at Through the Trees and are well-loved by all the kids in our program. Guides and Teen Mentors are part of our staff, while Mentors-in-Training are homeschool program participants and part of our Mentor-in-Training Program.
- Mentors-in-Training (MIT) are generally ages 11-13, have been a participant at TTT for a year or more, exemplify our Root Values and are motivated to grow their leadership skills while working with younger children. Our Mentor-in-Training Program teaches compassionate leadership, problem-solving, and non-violent communication.
All of our Guides and Mentors are passionate about sharing their love of the outdoors and creating a meaningful community that supports children and teens in emotional intelligence, problem solving, communication skills, resilience, self-awareness, self-confidence and a love and respect for the earth. We support and encourage self-directed learning and play as well as hands-on, project-based activities as participants follow their unique interests. Children and teens build self-awareness and resilience by incrementally pushing past comfort zones in a supportive community. Group activities and projects foster teamwork, creative problem solving and communication.
A Nine-Month Experience
This is a nine month program that runs from September to May. Over the course of these nine months, kids get the opportunity to connect with nature through the changing seasons, pushing through the challenges presented by the changing weather, building resilience and self awareness. Kids also gain from being in an intentional community with other kids and adults who support them in meaningful relationship building and conflict resolution skills. There can be moments of struggle, both socially and as kids confront physical discomfort of cold, windy or rainy days. We see tremendous growth in kids over the course of the year as they learn to embrace discomfort, celebrate growing through challenges and learn to communicate their needs and frustrations. Click here to see the 2023-24 program calendar (PDF).
Activities and Projects Include:
- Fire building
- Shelter construction
- Knife, saw and other tool practice
- Whittling/carving gnomes, fire roasting sticks, bows and arrows & more
- Knot tying
- Building projects such as birdhouses, boats, benches, etc...
- Orienteering (Map & compass)
- Plant and Tree Identification
- Art projects: painting, drawing, nature necklaces, origami, weaving, nature mobiles
- Mindful practices, such as Sit Spot and meditation
- Drumming and Singing
- Bird watching
- Pond exploration and watch tanks
- Mud kitchen play
- Ice Skating
Parent Support & Community Building:
- Summary emails highlighting each month's activities. These are especially valuable for Homeschooling families who are building their annual portfolios of learning.
- Weekly program photos shared on our Homeschool Hub
- Optional One-on-one Parent Check-ins halfway through the year
- Events: seasonal celebrations and other community gatherings
- Memory Books with a portrait of each child and many candids, available in the Spring
- Child Portrait photos offered digitally in the Fall
Frequently Asked Questions:
“Through the Trees is a place of joy and healing for our daughters. We've seen physical improvements and social and emotional growth in our children by being immersed in nature with an exceptional and trustworthy staff. We cannot say enough good things about our family's experiences at Through the Trees. It's been a gift to be able to allow our children to explore and learn with the Through the Trees community. ”