News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Scio farm offers community co-op to area youth

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

A series of unique playdates at a Scio farm opens young minds to the intertwining of experiences.

Spirit of Play On The Farm is a membership-based community co-op grounded in building trust relationships with self, community and the earth. 

Classes at the farm start on Jan. 24 and are held Mondays and Thursdays through May 21. 

Youngsters ages 3 to 6 will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the barn on the farm, at 41142 Ridge Drive, for group play with circle time, crafts, music, gardening and cooking. 

Cost for a five-day class pass is $75 and an eight-day class pass is $104. Parents may bring siblings under the age of three free of charge. 

“We are very excited to start this program in Scio, and kids and parents love it,” said Jennifer Jeffcoat, the program director. She has been holding space for kids, families and communities for more than 25 years as a Waldorf teacher, midwife assistant, doula, somatic therapist and education consultant. 

“My heart indwells relationships grounded in connection with the rhythms of mother nature,” Jeffcoat said. “We meet children where they are and hold space in safety. This is when embodied learning unfolds.”

As the children arrive, the program starts with morning chores, including gathering eggs, water feeding animals and harvesting, according to Jeffcoat.

“Then we come into our morning community circle and sing songs, tell stories about the season,” she said. “After our morning, we have open exploration and projects while the parents are preparing lunch. We come back together for a community lunch and share about our day. 

“In closing, the kids wash their dishes and we have our closing circle,” she added. “Our pedagogy – mindful, conscious and ecological – is biological learning the way nature intended.”

Spirit of Play pathways aim to create communities rooted in empathy, compassion, healing, interconnection, altruism and creative problem-solving. Jeffcoat and her team “combine previously disconnected concepts into new circumstances, bringing back supported lived experiences into the community, evolving caring and courageous kids.”

“We believe childhood needs to be joyful and wholesome and the value of climbing trees, harvesting veggies, catching frogs is part of the experience of being human,” according Jeffcoat’s website “about” information. 

Other programs offered on the farm include Homeschool Enrichment & Curriculum for ages kindergarten to fifth grade as well as a co-op preschool. Summer camps, monthly family fun nights, family camping adventures and retreats start this summer.

Hatchlings is a parent co-op for children 18 months to 4 years. Chicks starts in summer for children four to seven years as does Pullets for children ages seven to 12. 

Coming in 2024 is “Creation,” a community group for birth through 12 months, and Egglets for parents/children six months to two years. 

“We also have professional teacher trainings and are looking for a teacher at the moment,” Jeffcoat said. 

Feedback has been great from parents whose children attend programs in Little Milwaukee, Oregon, and
The Village in California. 

“It’s like a second home, and the friendships that unfold are deep,” Jeffcoat said, adding, 

“After all that has unfolded in the last few years, community and learning to live with the rhythms of nature are essential for our future, emotional, social, physical and mental well-being.”

For more information, call 503-767-2324, email [email protected], or visit the website at www.spiritofplayonthefarm.com.

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