4 days, 4 hours each day
$235 members, $245 non-members
$25 discount for siblings
The Ecology Center
37201 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
What to bring:
Please send your child or children with
- Closed-toe shoes
- Clothing suitable for gardening in the outdoors.
- A hat
- A reusable water bottle/canteen.
We will be taking pictures and possibly video to use on our website, social and other educational media, and by registering for this workshop you agree to our photo/video release policy.
Cancellation Policy: We understand your plans may change. We will give you credit toward a future program if you cancel at least 2 weeks in advance. Credit must be redeemed within 90 days of issue. To account for our preparation and our instructor’s time, we cannot give refunds or credits if cancelled with less than 2 weeks notice or in the event of a no-show.
Farm Lab Campers will dig deep into food and farm life in the season when the garden really comes alive. Activities include seasonal planting, chicken care, compost exploration, fort building, eco-crafts, and harvesting and cooking from the garden. All activities revolve around our core initiatives of GROW, EAT, and MAKE. Taking place in our 1-acre eco-labs teaching facility nestled next to a 28-acre organic farm, campers will have an unparalleled view of the farm process and what it means to grow from seed to harvest.
Our Farm Lab Eco Summer Camps are unique 4-day camps for kids ages 3-8 to connect with nature, explore our learning labs, gain hands-on skills, and engage with quality mentors in an interactive outdoor setting. Eco Camps take place in a well-designed educational and natural setting that nurtures the whole child. Eco Camps are led by a team of experienced Waldorf leaders in the arts, sustainability, and school gardens who get kids excited about becoming stewards of the environment through fun and inventive projects, activities, and games.
What will a day at Farm Lab look like?
We will begin our days with Magic and Music Mornings- exploring in wonder joy and freedom, partake in Gratitude Gardening where children will learn to observe and interact with nature with a sense of discovery and reverence while having fun with meaningful activities that teach us how to give more than we take. and we will end the day with a cool “crafternoon” full of excitement, beauty, and creativity!
We will explore the energy of the land and its connection to the Ajcashemen (Juaneno) — “Mother Village” will also be acknowledged and recognized implicitly by the teachers and explicitly with intuitive stories and fables, historic vignettes, images, and crafts with care to avoid cultural appropriation.
ARRIVE: We meet at the center with a handshake, hug, or high-five to start the day and enter into free-exploration: explore clay, sand, water and mud, build gnome forts and fairy houses, dress-up play, care for the chickens, prep a snack, play in the garden, hike or tour the farm, and learn about the nature around us.
MUSIC and MOVEMENT: We sing, move and play together, working on cooperation and verbal skills, poetry, theater games, imagination, and creativity. We will learn and sing songs, finger puppet plays, games, learning verse and song. And find reverence in working with others.
CREATING & EXPLORING: Each day we have a project: art, baking, cooking, preparing for a festival, felting, or making beauty with their hands.
LUNCH: Yum! Each day we will prepare a meal together as a group- like a family!
Based on activities, two different groups will be formed to further development within age groups and brought back together to create a sense of community within the group as a whole.
9-10: Play and snack prep
10-10:30: Movement/Music Circle
10:45 Work Groups to prep Lunch (separate activities possible for younger/older groups) (a craft needing more time for depth and breath could begin at this time to finish after lunch)
1:00 Closing Song
July 15-18 // Mon – Fri, 9 am – 1 pm
July 22-25 // Mon – Fri, 9 am – 1 pm
July 29-Aug. 1 // Mon – Fri, 9 am – 1 pm
Aug. 5-8 // Mon – Fri, 9 am – 1 pm
“I’m very impressed how quick he learned to be more cautious in overuse of water and try to compost all kitchen scraps. He is now open to try tasting different plants / vegetables and I’m surprised to see how much he loved eating fenugreek flower at the farm table. Thank you for a wonderful experience!” – Nakisa Nowroozi
“Isaac had a great time at camp. Pretty much the entire week was a slam dunk for him. He loves the Ecology Center and all of the activities were not only engaging but also fun. Thank you for putting on a great camp!!” — Erin Lloyd
“This Camp, in a nutshell, blew us away. It was beyond what I imagined it was going to be…and I have a pretty good imagination. It was the highlight of Griffin’s summer and something we will be doing every year. The kindness of the counselors and the totally unique nature of the program itself is something we are very grateful to have in our lives. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. We will definitely be doing this camp again and highly recommend it.” — Abby Illenberger
“Lily had a fantastic experience, we are so fortunate you are offering these classes for kids at the Ecology Center. She’s a devoted farmer/future chicken owner- Thank you and the staff for educating our kids.” — Amy Yeung
“I loved farm camp more than anything else I did this summer. The staff that I met there are so special and cool and nice. I learned so much about seeds, what farmers actually do, how to use all the info in my daily life. I would love to go again next year.” — Lily Yeung
Meet our Farm Lab Lead Educators
We are honored to Welcome Gregory Foster and Colleen Culhane to our education program. Both dedicated Waldorf teachers focused on expanding creativity and connecting to nature.
Gregory’s earliest memories are of how much he loved to explore with his family the Green and
White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. Here, Gregory would follow game trails,
make friends with forest creatures, sing along with the birds and splash about in the wonders of
nature. The joy of these foundational experiences appreciated into what is now a passion for
creating and developing nature-based, fun and wonder-filled learning environments for
children. Gregory has taught professionally for twenty-five years. He has degrees in Art
Studies, Elementary Education and Special Education, but it was fatherhood and his two
daughters, Emily and Sophia, that led him to Waldorf Education. Gregory has worked since
1996 as a Waldorf Teacher, highlighted by the fostering of three grade school classes- two first
through eighth-grade cycles and one first through third-grade cycle. He taught two years of
Kindergarten and directed several High School drama blocks and theater productions
(including: Pygmalion, Oresteia, Urinetown, Wizard of Oz). Gregory loves to collaborate with
parents. In 2016, he established a Waldorf-inspired practice called, “The Appreciative Parent”
and has since helped many parents by introducing them to a process which promotes health
and unlocks the powers of Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. Now, Gregory is excited about
what lies ahead. He and his wife, Colleen, are thrilled to play their parts in helping children
discover the tools, knowledge, skills and capacities to transform our relationship to the Earth
and to one another.
Colleen has enjoyed a lifetime surrounded by children. She was raised one of eight spirited
children in Rochester, New York, in a family that treasures the spark of childhood. Early
experiences caring for her younger siblings and babysitting, planted the seeds that grew into a
career in education. In Brooklyn, Colleen taught preschool at a Jewish Community Center for
two years. Colleen worked as a class teacher, grades 1-8 at the Lake Champlain Waldorf
School in Shelburne, Vermont from 2010 to 2019. Successfully holding a class of children as
they grew from 7yrs old to 14 was a profound and strengthening journey. Colleen’s most
treasured memories are of the many sensory rich experiences of the natural world that she
provided for her class and for others. She greatly values opportunities to guide children to a
meaningful understanding and appreciation of our earth and all her gifts.
Colleen holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, and Waldorf Certification from
Antioch University New England (2009). She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sound
Recording Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Guitar Performance from SUNY
A true Renaissance woman, Colleen’s skills integrate many disciplines– artistic, academic, and
social. What she loves most about educating is forming caring relationships with the children.
Following the child’s lead, Colleen delights in shared wonder, as she guides and crafts
experiences, building capacities for lifelong love of learning.