Awarded Outstanding EE Program in 2021 by AAEE & Educator of the Yr in 2022 by AZGFD.
Signed in as:
"Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives."Thomas Berry
At this time we are not offering in-person classes. Program director and lead educator, Kathy Balman and her 2 children were in a car accident in November 2022 and Gwyndolyn and Rowyn passed away. In January I relocated back to Georgia to be with my immediate family as I heal from my injuries and grieve the loss of my children.
My saving grace is that I was able to spend every day, for the last 11 years, beside my children and watch them learn, explore, and grow into amazing teens who accomplished a lot in their short lives, and made a lasting impact on everyone they met. As many know Gwyndolyn and Rowyn also helped me with the ECO programs an dECO was created because of them. I am still very passionate about helping to get children outdoors to learn and continuing to support the homeschool community, but as you can imagine it is taking me some time to get back into work mode. I appreciate everyone's understanding and patience during this difficult time.
If you would like to continue to receive updates, please feel free to join one of the Facebook groups that have been started in the children's honor. One such group can be found in the updates section of the GoFundMe Fundraiser that was started for us by the community You can also friend me on Facebook.
I invite you to join our email list, above, to receive updates about future programs. I hope to offer programs in Georgia and Arizona in the near future. I am currently working on launching a one of a kind nature swap subscription box in memory of my children and also fulfilling my daughter's rat therapy business dream. I am also offering a variety of homeschool consultaning services via my Patreon Page.
For all who have selflessly shared their support, encouragement, and strength the past several months I am so very grateful. Words cannot express how fortunate I feel to be surrounded by so many caring, supportive, and loving friends.
ECO began its mission to get more children outdoors to experience nature and learn about their natural world in 2017. The program began in Atlanta, Georgia and launched in Phoenix, Arizona in 2019, after the founder relocated due to health reasons. Since 2017 ECO programs have assisted over 150 children in spending over 1,000 hrs outdoors.
ECO is a 100% outdoor education, place-based program that is similar to the "forest school" programs prevalent across Europe, minus the forest. Instead we have a wondrous, beautiful, and biologically diverse desert to explore, so we refer to our program model as a "desert school." We are one of the few 100% outdoor desert schools across the world. Our mission is to immerse children in connecting with the natural world. Through ECO, children learn about and explore nature through cross-curricular, hands-on, experiential activities, so that they will develop knowledge about, love for, and dedication to nature's wonders.
Our program has been very well received since launching in Phoenix. As a result, we have expanded our programming so that we can assist even more children with getting outdoors to learn. We now offer outdoor programs in Tucson, Casa Grande, Marana Prescott, Show Low, and Phoenix Metro. In addition to our semester homeschool programs, we are also offering weekend and evening programs for families, as well as private programs for groups (school, after-school, scouts, etc). We also offer wildlife wonder drop in class options, nature journaling classes, nature-themed book club, family hikes, and youth bird outings for families who are unable to commit to our semester program. View our calendar below, and check back often because we are always adding programs.
We have expanded our semester homeschool programs and will have 11 program options beginning in August 2022. Our Pathfinders program is for children in PreK-K, our Trailblazers and Adventurers programs are for children in 1st-4th, our Explorers program is for children in 4th-7th, and our Teen Naturalist program is for children in 8th-12th. In Fall 2023 we will be launching ECO Inchworms a program for toddlers and moms. We have redone our website to make it easier to navigate. Programs are now broken down by location Glendale, Queen Creek, Show Low and Marana. More cities coming soon.
If you would like to help us ensure that no child is left inside, please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund. This fund will help cover program costs for families that need financial assistance.
If you would like to learn more about our programs we invite you to join our next Info, Meet and Greet or view our Info, Meet and Greet video.
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Thank you for visiting our website. Please let us know if you have any questions.
We are honored to be awarded the 2021 Outstanding Environmental Education Program award!
Kathy is honored to be awarded the 2022 Educator of the Year Award award!
Kathy was selected to be a NASA PLACES Case Writer for 2022-2023.
We accept Arizona ESA scholarship funds through Class Wallet.
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Educating Children Outdoors logo, Cabinet of Curiosities logo, Nerdy for Birdies logo designed by Benjamin Balman at illucid Studios
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