Cultivating Connection, Expression and Resilience
Our mission is to provide educational programming for youth in Thurston County that focuses on cultivating connection, expression and resilience as lifelong habits in order to
help our children live happy, healthy lives.
We believe children deserve to be given the tools that they need to live their best life. The challenges we are faced with in today's rapidly changing world are worth considering when preparing children for the future; our programs are informed by our circumstances, and our intention is to provide the tools children need to
be the change they want to see in the world.
Subtle learning is always happening naturally, we honor that by allowing flow and flexibility that supports the moment. We encourage thoughtful participation and inclusiveness.
As educators, we stay in tune with our own curiosity and creativity, so we can lead by example and not just through words.
Each and every one of us has something unique to offer the world, and we all deserve to have our voice heard;
We aim to make sure every child who goes through our programs understands their own value, and feels connected to our community.
I believe that it's important to be passionate about the things we teach so that we can ignite children with the drive to be actively engaged in their lives and in the world. I began studying various alternative education theories when my daughter was born in 2006. I studied early childhood education with an emphasis on art and music while volunteering in schools and daycares beginning in 2007, and became a full time employee of the Olympia school district in 2014, spending most of my time supporting students with special needs. My training and education has taught me to truly value the unique learning needs of each child.
I am also a USSEA Certified Skateboard Instructor;
Core principles of that training are safety and gradual progression which allows the student to grow at their own pace. I love encouraging fun and challenging ways for kids to get active outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
It feels incredibly important to me that we do all we can to support our future generations in being courageous, innovative, and open-minded about what is possible. I feel it is my life's work to provide a structure for families to plug into that makes that goal more achievable.
Dave "Caveman" Friedman
Caveman has been mentoring young people in nature since 1997. In his quest to nurture Mother Earth, he creates a world of magic and wonder that captivates young adventuring minds. His passion for connecting with ecosystems through observation and experience, provides an excellent inspiration for the naturalists of the next generation. He continues to be a role model by having fun, remembering to stay young, being creative, learning daily and sharing his knowledge with others. Caveman graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology.
Ellice Cryder is a recent graduate of The Evergreen State College. She has 5 years of experience caring for children of all ages and is passionate about fostering nurturing learning environments for young folks. During her time at Evergreen, Ellice studied culturally responsible and holistic education methods. Ellice grew up in the PNW and spent a significant amount of time exploring the natural world as a child. She believes that children who are encouraged to be creative and develop a loving relationship with nature will grow a strong sense of identity and self worth.
Alex has been living in Olympia for all of his adult life, and graduated from the Evergreen State College in 2009. He spent several years as a staff member at ACORNS NW, a local outdoor school focused on nature connection for children ages 3-10. Alex is a multimedia artist and musician, as well as an avid forager, gardener, and lover of all things Wild.