NATURE SCHOOL, Russian Jack Springs Park

Don’t miss out! Now offering half-day Afternoon Sessions at Russian Jack and the Hillside Trails

AK Kids afternoon programs at Russian Jack Springs Park

AK Kids: ages 5-7 & 8-12

session 1: august 31 – september 25

Kids in the Trees afternoon programs on the Hillside Trails

Kids in the Trees: ages 5-7 & 8-12

session 1: august 31 – september 25

“Learn by doing” at this new program held in Russian Jack Springs Park in east Anchorage. Explore nature-based themes that integrate skills of reading, science, and math with a dash of interesting Alaska history and culture, all within the beautiful landscape of this 300-acre forested park.

Designed to spark an interest in nature and a lifelong love of the outdoors, daily activities will cover topics like wayfinding, Leave No Trace principles and stewardship, basic tree and plant identification, stream studies, soils and geology, Anchorage history, and Dena’ina traditions. Look for lots of outdoor art, journaling, and other creative outlets for learning in a hands-on, all outside format that encourages curiosity for one’s environment.

This is an active program with plenty of walking, forest play, and socially-distant interaction with peers within the guidelines of local, state, and national COVID-19 policies and/or mandates.

  • Three age groups at most locations offer scaffolded building blocks of outdoor skills:
    • the young outdoor explorers club:
    • 5-7 year old children learn the basics of outdoor safety skills, letting their curiosity run wild in the woods. The basics of outdoor safety, like water, bear, moose, and weather begin to become a second-nature response as we practice these skills every morning.
    • the junior outdoor explorers club:
    • 8-12 year old children take this even further, continuing to practice the fundamentals while building shelters, going over the theory of fire safety, essential para cord knots, the threes of survival, tarp use, and much more. We look deeper into the science behind what we see. We enable confidence by creating leadership roles and giving children a chance to shine.
    • the Anchorage youth hiking club:
    • 13-18 year old youth will learn more intensive skills, going back to the foundational learning from previous years, culminating in the chance to go on a backpacking trip in Alaska’s back country.
    • Youth do not need to have any prior experience in the outdoors-children may join our programs at any age! We continue to focus on foundations of outdoor safety skills and meet each child where their learning needs are for their given program.

Our Programs: outdoor studies and learning in the woods

We are proudly offering school-year programs, with session 1 starting August 31, 2020. All programs have a focus on academic subjects within the context of nature; we creatively combine experiential learning of academic topics with outdoor safety skills to support your child’s learning during this school year.

For example, in math and science we will bring in map reading, the making of compasses, and measuring natural phenomena like creek levels, trees, and doing geometry measurements in the mountains.

In literature and writing, we will read while in nature but also assign children to read outside of the program so we can discuss the book while wandering through our natural spaces and learning outdoor safety skills. Kids – everyone- learns best while moving and using their hands. We are excited to bring Into the Woods Alaska into this next phase of development and offer more quality outdoor studies programming to your family.

We are keeping our groups small and static for month-long commitments. In the second session, when it is colder out, we will offer half-day blocks only (3-4 hours).You can book your program by 1-month sessions. Book a single day per week/per session, or book multiple programs to create a full-time nature school program per session.

Experiential learning, Outdoor Studies, and a childhood spent playing in the woods — This is what we’re all about.

Into the Woods Alaska is dedicated to the idea that all children have the right to grow up playing in the woods and learning the value of nature in our lives. During these stressful times, children need nature in their lives now more than ever. Our nature school programs are designed so children can have quality time outdoors while accessing an education in core curriculum studies.

Safety is our top priority. Now with this crisis, this gives a whole new depth to that practice. At drop-off, children remain in their car – our central guide scans with a touch less thermometer and checks them in, directing them to their guide and group stationed several dozen feet away. We will ask that children with temperatures over 99.1 stay home for the day and potentially longer. All adults wear masks at drop off and pick up, and in close quarters. Children are encouraged to also wear masks in the same instances…more on masks below. At check out, our guide will walk your child to your car. Before drop off, we ask that each family take a moment to fill out our Daily Health Questionnaire.

Safety is paramount. We therefore have safety protocols in the event of an emergency or necessary field medicine.  Our lead guides are CPR/ first aid and/or Wilderness First Aid certified at a minimum while some are certified at a higher level of Wilderness First Responder.  All personnel at Into the Woods, LLC have background checks and references.  All guides will carry appropriate radios and communication equipment as well as bear abatement tools (bear spray, air horns). Firearms are strictly prohibited in our programs, and we do not carry firearms of any kind in the pursuit of our programs.  All guides are trained in and will follow wildlife and environmental safety standards at all ITWAK programs.

Our programs are active, with plenty of walking, forest play, and socially-distant interaction with peers within the guidelines of local, state, and national COVID-19 policies and/or mandates.

Contact us if you have any questions, subscribe to our newsletter for the newest updates, and welcome to the Into the Woods Alaska Family!