Photo Gallery of the program (2000-present) shared with permission of the parents.
“Before children speak, they sing. Before they write, they paint. As soon as they stand, they dance. Art is the basis of human expression.” - P. Rashad
NATURE AND ARTS FOR YOUTH
DANCE MONKS established the Nature and Arts project (previously The Green Project) in the year 2000 in response to the deep-seated modern need for children to (re)connect physically and imaginatively to Nature through immersive experiences. This bi-lingual (Spanish/English) program was held weekly during the height of the COVID pandemic in response to the needs of local families. It included free Breathe Here workshops in support of struggling parents. Nature and Arts is a hybrid of play-based explorations and artist-led experiences. A typical day includes supported outdoor adventures, storytelling, drawing, gardening, and creative movement practices with music from around the world. The focus is on supporting children to stay connected to and strengthen their own unique vibrancy and gifts, learn self-care skills, cultivate empathy, and co-create a culture of kindness in relationship with one another and the natural world. While many adults are expressly concerned for the future of the earth, little has changed in the education system to support the future protectors of our planet. Nature and Arts encourages children to fall in love with the environment for a lifetime. Rodrigo and Mirah have drawn from thirty+ years of experience working with children of all ages in public and private schools to create this visionary, interdisciplinary program.
DANCE MONKS' past youth environmental performance projects include The Great Dreamer (Malcolm X in Berkeley), The Green Project: Rain Dances (Highland Elementary School in Richmond), The Green Project: Wild Child and other Tales of the Tall Trees (Berkeley Arts Magnet), The Green Project: Bike Tour (Bay Area), Madrid School (Mexico City) and Conversaciones con Arboles, (Nayarit Mexico). The Green Projects were made possible thanks to The Open Circle Foundation (2007, 2009, 2010, 2013) and The Zellerbach Family Foundation (2007 & 2016). Watch an excerpt from the GREEN project at Highland Elementary School, Richmond, California.
DANCE MONKS is part of the Children and Nature Network.
"Mirah and Rodrigo are such skilled, empathetic teachers. They are excellent at channeling the kids' energy into imaginative projects and games. There is such ease, flow, and delight (!) in these mornings. It's a really special, tight-knit group of kids and families." Larissa, Parent
"Nature and Arts has been a blessing for my son and our family. He has absolutely thrived under the loving and attentive care of Mirah and Rodrigo. They have created a magical and unique experience for little kids that celebrates each child, as well as the beauty of exploring nature, making art, gardening, movement, storytelling, and more. They have navigated the flux of Covid with grace and adaptability and place a real emphasis on community amongst the families. I feel truly grateful that we have found Nature and Arts!" Helena, Parent
"The Green Project (now Nature and Arts) is hands down the most inspiring and professional arts programming for children that I have ever encountered. I look forward to working with Rodrigo and Mirah for years to come."
Sarah, Public School Teacher