At Gathered Oak, we offer programs for children in Preschool through 4th grade where they are immersed in nature and farm life as they learn. Gathered Oak aims to cultivate a genuine love and affection for what is good, true, and beautiful. We do this through immersive contact with our little farm and teaching that inspires imagination and wonder.
We know you have many educational options for your child, and it is our desire to offer something distinct that will fascinate and engage your child. We have taught in many different learning environments and have been exposed to different educational philosophies. Our experience teaching in public schools, charter schools, tutoring, and non-profit contexts has exposed us to the richness and limits of different educational approaches. We’ve taken what we’ve learned in each of these learning environments to create our own unique approach at Gathered Oak.
We’ve found that education is formative when it cultivates a genuine love and affection for the world around us. Our aim isn’t simply to teach facts and information so kids can progress or pass a test. Our aim is to provide a learning experience where kids develop a genuine love for learning, for their neighbors, and for their specific place in the world. In order for this to happen, we must have real, tactile contact with others, our environment, and with the outdoors. In fact, there is a growing body of research suggesting that extended time outdoors with other kids is a critical part of a child's development.
We’ve started Gathered Oak not as experts, but as eager learners ourselves. The pandemic gave us the clarity and the imagination for starting a farm and using it as a place to invite kids to learn alongside us. The farmer and philosopher Wendell Berry has been a helpful guide as we’ve dreamed about Gathered Oak. Consider his words:
"I will say, from my own belief and experience, that imagination thrives on contact, on tangible connection. For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it. By imagination we recognize with sympathy the fellow members, human and nonhuman, with whom we share our place. By that local experience we see the need to grant a sort of preemptive sympathy to all the fellow members, the neighbors, with whom we share the world. As imagination enables sympathy, sympathy enables affection. And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind, and conserving economy."