Wild Kids was started by a class of 6th graders at Le Jardin Academy in 2008. They designed a learning culture built on imagination, adventure, compassion, freedom and love of the land. Since then, each age group has been added as a direct result of bold young people demanding that they be included!
The program is designed to offer students the freedom to make mistakes, create their own way (both literally and metaphorically), and hone their awareness of their surroundings, others and themselves. Wild Kids is built around exploration, discovery and imagination. It is not a science class or an outdoor survival course.
In Wild Kids, students are encouraged to expand their comfort zones by trying new things and making mistakes. For the program, students are not provided with all of the answers, but guided through their own problem-solving processes. This may include the following experiences: what to do with an invasive species, how to find the trail, how to build a shelter without man-made objects, how to identify a bird or plant, how to create a game that is safe but still fun, how to climb up a hill without creating erosion, how to keep everyone in the group safe, what to do if you get hurt, what to do about mosquitos, how to run in the forest without tripping, what to do when you make an unsafe choice, and a host of other conundrums that we may come across on our adventures. Allowing students to develop their own solutions and manage their own reactions is perhaps the most important lesson.
After school for two hours, students explore the land adjacent to LJA’s campus and enjoy mud slides, scavenger hunts, hiking, tree climbing, making up games, building shelters, creating nature-based art, camouflage activities, scouting for trails, tracking birds, and searching for the magical forest elves known as "Little Greenies." In addition to our after school adventures, families and friends are invited to join the group on two different weekend excursions, including various hikes on the island, snorkeling with marine biologists, and community service projects that are centered around environmental stewardship. To culminate each session, families are invited to a camp at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens for Grades 3-8.
Each session is scheduled to run for six weeks. However, sessions generally take 7-8 weeks to complete in order to accommodate school breaks, Holidays and rescheduling due to inclement weather.