The Nature Enrichment Program (which was formerly called the After Care Program) is our signature, nature-based, after-school program at Kona Pacific. The program is focused on connecting children to nature through the use of ancient techniques, such as Coyote Mentoring, the 8 Shields Path, and primitive wilderness skills (i.e., shelter building, fire making, and ethnobotany) to activate the unique gifts of the individual children. Enrollment for the Nature Enrichment Program is on a first-come basis, with students going on a waitlist once full.
Mariah Mann is the leader of the program, and she brings her eight years of experience with Kona Pacific and her lifetime of pursuing connection to nature to her role of overseeing the program. She is also the owner of Journeys in the Na‘au, where she offers deep nature connection experiences on the Big Island. She is surrounded by a wealth of experience in her teammates Steve Fredlund, Angelo Pugliese, Nick Kern, Alli Craig, Johannah Duff, and Cara Moreau, all of whom bring their own specific specialties to the program and love connecting children to nature.
The typical rhythm of the Nature Enrichment Program’s day begins with sign in after school is released. Then the kids are led to the basecamp up in the woods to the beat of a drum. Once there, they repeat a chant where they bless the land and the elements and ask permission to enter the forest. Then the leaders “fox walk” the kids into the forest where they find a place to circle up, become “of one mind” and then proceed to individually give thanks for something in their life. The kids are then sent out to find a place in the forest where they spend some time doing their “Sit Spot,” where they spend time alone with nature (still supervised), which is one of the core routines of the program. After about ten minutes they are called back in and discuss what was experienced during their time with nature. The day then usually proceeds into snack time, some free time playing in the woods and sensory awareness building games. Toward the end of the day, the kids are brought down closer to pick up where they practice skills, do crafts, and talk story until they are picked up by their parents. The kids are usually dirty, tired and happy by the time their day is done.
This is a one-of-a-kind program in the Hawaiian Islands, and Kona Pacific Public Charter School is very excited to be able to offer this program to their students.