Environmental Education
At WAWA, we believe in the power of PLAY! We carve out unique pathways to connect people to nature.
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Our Pedagogy
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Power of Play

In a world where everyday activities like running can be a risk for Black communities, WAWA prioritizes our sites as safe spaces for all youth to be wild and curious. Our environmental education engages the senses and encourages play-based learning.

REFERENCES:

  • Reggio Emilia Approach

  • Kindergarten in the Forest

Place-Based Learning

Our work has always centered on the urban environment and our surrounding watersheds (Proctor, Utoy, and Sandy Creek). We use our local eco-region as a backdrop to conveniently connect youth to the environment around them and to make their appreciation for the outdoors accessible in proximity.

REFERENCES:

  • The Nature School

Cultural Relevance

As an organization that advocates for environmental justice, we situate our education programs in Black history, indigenous knowledge, and “ecological unity and the interdependence of all species”, We also infuse Afro-Futurism into our programming to invite people to think beyond their circumstances and envision the life they deserve.

REFERENCES:

  • See 17 Principles of EJ

  • Black Children: Their Roots, Culture, and Learning Styles, Janice Hale

Inquiry Instruction

We encourage self-directed learning and activities that probe youth to teach themselves, problem solve and maintain awareness. This principle is rooted in self-determination/actualization and the belief that we must care for ourselves first in order to take care of the world around us.

REFERENCES:

  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire

Social Constructivism

Whether it is the educators at WAWA or elders, youth’s knowledge is constructed through their relationships with others. We are an ecosystem and each input impacts the other whether it’s classroom peers or a community elder, we all construct our learning with influence from the people within our ecosystem.

REFERENCES:

  • The Whole-Brain Child

Our EE Programs

FIELD TRIPS

School groups can join us for a program onsite (or virtually) that satisfies their curriculum goals.

ENVIRO EXPLORERS

Youth can explore, activate their imagination, and establish lifelong friendships in the old-growth forest!

BREAK CAMPS

Provides youth a safe and supportive place to explore nature and help care for our environment.

GREENSPACE WELLNESS

Encourages the use of tools and modalities within greenspace for the purpose of health and wellness.

ANNUAL EVENTS

We offer several annual events that focus on natural science subjects and are fun for the entire family.

PARTNERSHIPS

We work with partners to develop educational programming that meets both of our organizational goals.

SERVICE-LEARNING

Participants learn about environmental issues while gaining hands-on volunteer experience.