We believe that the human mind responds deeply to the rich, interconnected, patterned complexity of the natural world. Frequent and sustained immersions in nature nourish the learning mind in profound ways. Thus, Chrysalis students spend a significant amount of time outdoors - rain or shine - on weekly field studies, field trips and camping trips, putting their classroom learning into action and experiencing the rich natural history of our region.
Ultimately, by the time a Chrysalis student graduates from 8th grade, we want them to:
Twice a year, the whole Chrysalis family goes camping to fully immerse ourselves in nature for a few days. Recent trips have taken us to Mount Shasta, Mount Lassen, Whiskeytown, the Redwood Coast, Yosemite, Lava Beds National Monument, Monterey Bay, and Point Reyes. On our trips, teachers led excursions for famiies to hike, explore, study and experience the many natural wonders in our region. Moreover, these camping trips provide unequalled community bonding time as we cook together in the camp kitchen, eat together around the same table, sing together around the campfire, and make unforgettable memories together under the trees and stars.
Once a year, the whole school (including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) goes rafting on the Sacramento River. It’s a wonderful way for us to start the year, have an adventure, and bring our community together. Seeing your community from the perspective of a raft in the middle of the Sacramento River changes the way kids and adults interact with the river and changes how we see our place in this world.
If students are to become competent, self-motivated, lifelong learners, they must be given the opportunity to practice self-motivated learning. Their enthusiasms and interests must be empowered to alter the course of learning that happens in the classroom. Students are supported in self-directing their learning to investigate those things they are passionate about. Teachers flexibly modify their curriculum to respond to student ideas, linger on a topic that kids find fascinating or challenging, and allow students a great deal of choice.
This freedom extends to our teachers as well. Every person has something new and interesting to teach. Education is not just about core academic studies. It is also about the broadening of the mind and the exploration of what we are capable of. Our Electives program is the expression of that idea. For one afternoon each week, the school breaks into Electives classes; small courses offered by teachers, parents, or other members of the community who have a skill and a passion to share. Students choose one class per trimester out of a wide variety of topics, such as: