Educating Children Outdoors

Educating Children Outdoors

Not all classrooms have four walls!

Not all classrooms have four walls!

Services

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 now 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. We offer programs for Toddler-12th grade in N. Phoenix, Glendale, N. Tempe, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Carefree areas.

Why I started the Business

Kathy quit her full-time job in July 2011 to become a stay-at-home/homeschool mom to her two children. On November 7, 2022 tragedy struck and Kathy, Gwyn, and Rowyn were in a car accident that took the lives of Gwyn and Rowyn. One of Kathy's saving graces is that she was able to homeschool Gwyn and Rowyn for almost 12 years and explore, learn and grow with them. It is because of Gwyn and Rowyn that Kathy found her passion for environmental education. Our Vision: We envision a world where place-based, outdoor learning is viewed as being vital to ALL children's health and development. And we envision a generation of bold explorers, naturalists, community scientists, and stewards that not only have deep connections to nature but also their community, and self. Our Mission: 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 natures wonders. Our Values: Our values are rooted in commitment to the natural world and family values. We believe in providing experiences of wonder through nature immersion and exploration, fostering compassion for one another and the natural world, building a community through teamwork and collaboration, and teaching responsibility so that children are capable of making rational or moral decisions.

What Parents are saying about me

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About Me

Kathy has been teaching, organizing fieldtrips, and supporting the homeschool community since 2012 through various homeschool groups. Kathy is passionate about getting children outside and immersed in nature which she has been doing with her own children since they were just a few days old. It is this passion that has driven her to create ECO, so that all children can become immersed in nature and learn more about the natural world around them.  Kathy is an AZ Certified Environmental Educator, NAI Certified Interpretive Guide, USNPN Certified Phenology Leader Outdoor Wildlife Leader, Conservation Leader, Master Naturalist (in GA and AZ), GA Master Birder, National Geographic Certified Educator, Audubon Volunteer, Keep Nature Wild Ambassador, Friends of the Tonto volunteer, and Treekeeper with Trees Atlanta. She is certified in Project Wet, Project Wild, Project Learning Tree, Aquatic Wild, Wilderness First Aid and CPR Certified. She has completed over 2,000 hrs of professional development training in the subjects of science and outdoor/environmental education. Kathy was awarded the Outstanding Environmentall Education Program award in 2021 by AAEE and the Educator of the Yaar award in 2022 by AZGFD. She is also a public speaker and has presented at conferences and webinars about environmental education.  You can view her credentials here. When she is not teaching, and running her businesses, Educating Children Outdoors and USA Homeschool Fieldtrips, she enjoys volunteering, birding, blogging, hiking, geocaching, creating art, traveling, and watching movies. Read more about the Balman family’s homeschool journey on their blog, Kathys Cluttered Mind.

Social Media

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