Program Description:

Little Willows, Caregiver & Me classes are designed for children and their caregivers to explore outdoors & engage in child-led play. We are committed to creating a supportive and inclusive community, where all families feel welcome and all are invited to grow together. We focus on supporting children’s growth in confidence, curiosity and creativity in nature!

 

Each class offers nature-inspired activities that are developmentally appropriate. Classes may include: crafts, songs, free exploration, scavenger hunts, movement, activity stations, storytime, community connection, relationship building, fun and more!

 

For ages: 1-5yrs old and their caregiver

Our Vision:

  • Giving children a healthy start during important developmental years of their lives through experiences in nature. 
  • To help families by giving opportunities to build community and relationships together in nature. 
  • To inspire awe and wonder for the world around them and to foster confidence and compassion which will grow in each child. Building a better future for everyone!



Program Days/Times, Location & Tuition:

Seasonal/ 4 Week Blocks (beginning Fall 2022)

Day/s of week: Mondays

Time: 10am-11am

Block #1:

August 22,29, Sept. 12,19

Block #2:

October 3,10, 17,31

Block #3:

November 14, 28, December 5, 12

Block #4:

2023: January 16, 23, 30, February 6

Block #5:

2023: February 20, 27,March 6, 13

Block #6:

2023: March 27, April 10, 17, 24

Block #7:

2023: May 8, 15, 22, June 5

Block #8:

2023: June 19, 26, July 3, 10

 

 

Tuition:

4 weeks- $60 per child

Sibling discount-$10 off for the 4 weeks = $50 each additional sibling

Nonparticipating infants are free to attend, older siblings are welcome to come but not participate in the activities unless paying. 

All Blocks- (8, 4 week blocks)= $400 total (Discount of $10 off each block)

Drop in class per child- $22     – must sign waivers and register ahead to drop in. 

 

Locations: (dependent on season, teacher will let you know location)

Morsches Park

1035 IN-205, Columbia City, IN 46725 (outdoor pavilion in back of the park by the pond)

 

Giving Gardens of Indiana (summer only)

479 S. Towerview Dr., Columbia City, IN 46725

Important Class Info:

Please read all of the following before the first day of class.

Please read Parent Handbook prior to your first class: read here

What do I bring to class?

  • Please bring a towel, yoga mat, or blanket for your family to sit on during circle time at class.
  • Please bring your own water/snack for everyone participating.
  • Mug for tea
  • Diaper Bag if needed
  • Extras: Mask, bug spray/or netting, sunscreen, sun hat, personal first-aid kit, extra clothing, hand sanitizer/wipes.
  • Plastic bag to put dirty clothing in.
  • Payment if you have not paid online.

 

Other important info:

  • We are an all-outdoor, all-weather class, however if there are dangerous conditions we will notify you of a canceled class via email or the Remind App at least one hour prior to class that day and will offer a make-up class at a later date. 
  • If you or your child have been sick, please flow sick protocol in Parent/Guardian Handbook. 
  • Make sure to check the weather and dress appropriately. All information for gear/clothing can be found in the Parent/Guardian Handbook.

Amara Gilraine, Lead Teaching Mentor

Amara Gilraine was homeschooled/unschooled from preschool until high school graduation. Her mother encouraged nature-based and child-led learning. Amara has a deep love of learning new things and has many hobbies, including guitar, backpacking/hiking, foraging, rock climbing, weightlifting, bushcrafting, and anything that has to do with exploring nature. Amara is a mother and deeply believes in allowing children to express themselves through movement and learn through exploration. She believes that curiosity is the best teacher, and loves to encourage curiosity in children. Encouraging a lifelong love of learning is her goal when working with students!

Jessica Burkett, Educational Director, Co-Teaching Mentor

Jessica has an educational background as a Forest School Director and Forest School teacher, Kamana Naturalist, personal training, yoga teaching, and natural movement, certified in nutrition, and thai yoga practitioner. She is the Outdoor Educator for TROY Alternative School for at-risk youth and currently homeschools her two teenage sons. She joined with Giving Gardens of Indiana as the Educational Director in the summer of 2019. She serves on the Tree Board in Columbia City. She is currently in Naturalist training through Wilderness Awareness School. Sharing her excitement for the world around us and nature with kids is what she loves to teach most. She is a teacher to the core! Jessica has been in love with gardening since her, and her husband were married and has grown something everywhere since (even when traveling in their schoolie!). Her passion for hiking has turned her into a forager and hobby herbalist. Taking care of the natural world and educating others in this area is one of her top priorities. She tries her best to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and share that example with others. Because of this personal mission, she is the “Green Team” co-founder for the Ignite Group for their ultra trail running series, with a mission to help “Green” up the races so that there is less waste generated by the sporting events. That has also led her to be a local food advocate and share the importance of seasonal, local consumption in a sustainable way, because not only is it healthy for you, but it also supports the earth and the local community and families. Being a part of Giving Gardens as Educational Director is all of her dreams and experience rolled into one!