Tsula Adohi Nature School Curriculum

At Tsula Adohi Nature School our curriculum emerges from the intersection of each child’s unique way of being in the world including their interests, experiences, gifts and needs,  with our mission to prepare them to take care of themselves, each other and our planet in a time of world-wide climate, ecological and social change. Children learn science, math, communication arts, social science, and the arts and engage in physical activity as they engage in meaningful activities including short and long-term individual and group projects, and participate in special events.

Our approach to schooling is based on the idea that we all learn by interacting with each other and the rest of the world. This means that “math” and “science” at Tsula Adohi Nature School might be embedded in building a bridge over one of our creeks, or it might mean accompanying a local falconer out in our meadow to experience birds in flight with follow-up discussions about the physics of flight. “Social Studies” might mean having a tribal elder come to the farm to explain indigenous customs and mores.

All of the main subjects will be taught:

  • English / Writing
  • History and Social Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Nature Sciences

Amy Eskew teaches the humanities. Walt Hite teaches mathematics and sciences. We also have guest teachers at the school to augment learning.

While we will be outdoors as much as possible, we have indoor spaces, including a library, classroom spaces, and a full kitchen. We will also have structures scattered throughout the grounds that will be used as classrooms.

Much of our activity at Tsula Adohi Nature School is organized around planning, participating in, and documenting ongoing and short-term group and individual projects. Our curriculum is organized around projects because:

  • We all learn best when we care about what we’re learning. Projects embed learning content in meaningful activities like growing, preparing, and eating food. 
  • Projects, unlike the kinds of fragmented decontextualized tasks featured in factory schools, are rich in entry points proving niches for diverse individuals. Setting up and maintaining a garden includes so many different kinds of sub-tasks that there is something for everyone to connect with.
  • Sharing individual projects and working together on shared projects provides young people with lots of opportunities to learn with and from each other.
  • Much of our adult lives are spent engaged in projects from cooking a meal to finding a career and raising children to design lives we love. Selecting and working on projects supports young people in learning how to set goals, gather resources, and design, implement and evaluate their own goal-directed activities.
  • Working on projects is transdisciplinary, giving young people lots of opportunities to bump into concepts from many academic fields at the same time, enabling them to see big patterns and make connections between fields.
  • Having the opportunity to choose their own projects and roles within projects gives young people experience in finding something they deeply care about and following it through to fruition. This is key to building lives we love!
  • Completing projects gives young people the experience of tasting quality. They get to feel the satisfaction of creating something they wanted to create in the way they wanted.

Our ongoing group projects include:

  • Developing and maintaining our permaculture site, which includes ecological gardening and natural building
  • Gathering, growing, storing, and preparing healthy food
  • Participating in the governance of our school 
  • Planning and taking action as part of the Earth Guardians Nashville Crew
  • Publishing an online school nature-based art and science magazine
  • Participation in quail research

To learn more about the mission and idea behind Tsula Adohi Nature School, please make sure to read our about page.
Interested in applying to Tsula Adohi Nature School? Please go to our Admissions and Tuition page to fill out an application!