Children in the Garden
 
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Welcome

Dear families,    

It is with a heart full of gratitude that I welcome you to The Wizard School! We are an immersion program that offers forest preschool for ages 3-6, forest school classes for ages 2-9, and a forest school summer camp. 

 

At the Wizard School, we inspire children to discover the magic of the land and their unique power and genius that is reflected in it. We nurture them in finding purpose, passion and their voice, so they can share their gifts with the Earth and each other. While on our daily adventures, children craft creative expression, while nature ignites their curiosity and imagination. Wizards are the wise sages that can use their magic to create a better world. In addition to child-led play and inquiry in nature, we practice and learn indigenous traditions, honoring the original custodians of our land, story-telling, myth, fort building, foraging, wild tea and "potion" making, and much more. Our curriculum is inspired by The Cedarsong Way "which increases awareness of and connection to the natural world in order to foster compassion and empathy for the earth and all its inhabitants." 

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Meet The Founder 

Caitlyn Pezza 

With a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Masters in Adolescent Education, and Certifications in Nature Based Early Childhood Education and RTT Therapy, Caitlyn with over 10 years of experience working with students of all ages inspires and guides them in creative expression, self-confidence, and authentic learning. She has dedicated herself to supporting children through their academic journeys while studying educational programs, philosophies, environments and curriculums to create a more natural way.

While on her own journey through academia, Caitlyn discovered her gift as a poet and her passion for education that nurtured connection between the self and nature. On this quest, the vision for The Wizard School was born. Caitlyn designed this program after gaining experience in a variety of roles within the school system (teacher, mentor, department head, assistant principal, director of admissions, head of school) so she could better understand the experience and structure of education from every perspective, as well as study how children develop within the school environment. She has toured over 100 schools in both NYC and NJ studying a variety of programing. Caitlyn recognized a great need for bringing play, "magic," nature, story telling and empowerment into the experience for young children, and that the environment is crucial in fostering these conditions. She vowed to create a school that children were over the moon excited to engage and learn in everyday.

Caitlyn is experienced in working with students at all stages of their journey from struggling to thriving. She is an academic coach, consultant and advocate that has been working specifically with children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and specific learning disabilities. She works alongside and collaborates with a top child psychiatrist to do this work. She has the ability to see the strengths and potential in every child meeting them where they are, and guiding them through their unique development using myth, poetry and the hero's journey as tools.

Caitlyn's poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Southeast Review, Able Muse, Espresso Ink and others, her reading has been featured on NPR. She is especially inspired by history, science and nature in her work and experiments with form.

 

Our Program

So, why are we called The Wizard School? The word wizard derives from the Middle English word, "wys," meaning "wise, to know, to be aware." Wizards, are highly skilled masters who understand magic. But, what do we really mean by magic? Magic in our world is that beautiful dance between wonder, imagination and creation from our authentic and empowered selves. At The Wizard School, we learn to know our power and how to use it to create more joy, love, harmony and creativity in the world. We understand that we have a connection to all things in the natural world, and we can influence the things around us in magnificent ways. Our children build confidence, self-awareness, collaboration, and creative problem-solving skills. We do this while fostering an intimate connection to the natural world and the wisdom of our ancestors. 

In collaboration with The Sanctuary, home of the The New York Bee Sanctuary, our mission is to bring students on a learning adventure through a magical world that connects students to a deep inner passion for learning, nature, making new friends, and awakening their inner potential. We provide children with the resources to explore, play and learn on this sacred land where they can discover over 100 species of wild edible plants, fruit and vegetable gardens, and bee and pollinator friendly flowers. 

What We Do:

Our classes take place in all types of weather through the surrounding forest over an extended period of time so that children can develop a close connection with nature. During a TWS class you will see children exploring the woods, running with butterfly nets, building forts, gardening, foraging and digging in the dirt. Our students invent new games together, pick wildflowers, climb on fallen trees and much more. We also include structured lessons in story-telling around the fire where students learn about the rich history and science of our land and ecosystem honoring the indigenous land keepers that came before us. This time in the forest sparks joy, curiosity, cooperation and wonder! We learn to make tools like cordage, play with lose parts, and use elements of nature to create new avenues for learning. 

Our Activities:

  • climbing and balancing on fallen trees

  • digging in the dirt and gardening

  • creating nature-based art projects

  • recognizing patterns in nature

  • telling and listening to stories

  • nature-based poetry

  • identifying animals and plants

  • playing games

  • observing changes in the natural world around us

  • building shelters

  • singing songs and playing instruments 

For More Information about The Cedarsong Way:

Visit https://cedarsongway.org/history-of-cedarsong-way/ 

For More Information about The NY Bee Sanctuary:

Visit http://www.newyorkbeesanctuary.org/

Our Classes and Workshops

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Forest Kindergarten (Preschool) for ages 3-6: This drop-off program serves children with all the benefits of traditional preschool plus the incredible benefits in social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and ecological learning that forest education has proven to provide. Children receive hands-on learning that develops their science, math and creative arts education. 

Caregiver Forest School Classes for ages 2-5: These classes run once a week for 90 minutes to offer children and their caregivers a chance to explore nature together and learn different nature-based skills, sing and tell stories around the campfire together. 

After School Forest-inspired Workshops for ages 5-9: These classes run once a week for 90 minutes teaching specific enrichment courses like creative writing, gardening, fort building, "potion" making and foraging, archery, bee-keeping and hand crafting. 

 

The Summer Camp for all ages: Our summer program incorporates guest experts that teach different crafts and forest-based skills to our children, while they receive all the benefits of our regular programing.   

(Coming Soon) Virtual Wizard School: We are currently developing an online platform that brings students through a magical adventure in an online educational gaming format that supports and supplements our in-person learning.  

The Benefits of Forest Education:

Social 

Cultural knowledge about self, community, and land (place-based aspects of learning) Friendships 

Teamwork and collaboration 

Perspective-taking/empathy 

Navigating conflict with others 

Emotional 

Values of empathy, gratitude, kindness, and compassion 

Regulating emotions 

Stress reduction 

Depression 

Mental health 

Reflection and appreciation 

Emotional quotient (EQ) 

Cognition 

High order thinking skills  

Problem-solving and resourcefulness 

STEM-based learning (science, engineering, technology, math) 

Creative and expressive arts 

Language and literacy development 

Fresh air/impact on cognition 

Naturally occurring bacteria in soil/impact on cognition 

Vitamin D intake from sunshine

Physical development 

Vestibular, proprioception, spatial 

Gross motor, locomotor 

Fine motor 

Hand-eye coordination 

Sensory integration 

Eye health 

Decreased symptoms of ADD and ADHD 

Ecological Identity 

Stewardship and care-taking habits 

Connection with indigenous heritage/origins of land 

Personal connection with the natural world 

Caring and concern for nature 

Understanding and respect for diversity and interconnectedness of ecosystems 

Self-help skills 

Learning to care for one’s basic needs (eating, toileting, dressing for weather, etc.) 

 

Testimonials

My daughter has always loved writing. I felt she was a fairly strong writer as of the end of last school year. I decided to sign her up for this workshop over the summer for a few reasons, mostly I know how talented Caitlyn is and I had a feeling my daughter would benefit by working with her. I cannot tell you all how much my daughter enjoyed the class. It was almost like a magical, fairytale world in her mind. In addition, on two occasions during the class and several times since the workshop concluded, she has read me some material she has written and the difference between her totally fine writing previously and her writing now is astronomical. I hope she'll be continuing with the workshop in the fall. I hope you all will trust me when I say that this class was so impactful and amazing. Thanks again, Caitlyn. xo

Maplewood Mom

 

 

Ms. Pezza taught a few of my fourth grade students in her creative writing workshop during our after school program. I am always begging her for her lesson plans because I was blown away by how she got some of my most reluctant writers to love it and to improve their work with rich details and a sound flow of ideas. She even got them keep their notebooks on them, even taking them out on the the playground to record their observations!

Mrs. Melissa Lewis

Caitlyn Pezza’s poetry is marvelously smart, insightful, witty, and complex. Her feel for sound and meter is delightful, inventive, and sophisticated. Pezza is one of the finest poets I have worked with at the New School and I expect great things from her.

Jennifer Michael Hecht

 

I highly recommend Caitlyn Pezza as an English teacher and tutor.  Caitlyn was my daughter's 11th and 12th grade one on one English teacher and was able to accommodate all my daughter's special needs which included a very low reading level, dyslexia and auditory processing.  Caitlyn not only helped my daughter increase her reading level, but also broke down step by step the writing process, so that my daughter could learn and start mastering writing at a high school level.  Caitlyn worked closely with me and my daughter's outside tutors to coordinate my daughter's learning.  My daughter not only improved her reading and writing but also gained confidence in her ability to continue her education at the college level.  Caitlyn was extremely responsive to my daughter's individual needs. I'm sure any student would benefit from Caitlyn's tremendous skills and her empathetic approach.

Angela Wong

Contact Us

Fountain Pen

5617183052

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