The Evolved Nest for Children: A Manzanita School Video Series

About the Video

The Evolved Nest for Children video is born of a recognition of human ancestry and a study of the successful practices of nature-based peoples who’s cultures embody practices found for over 99% of our human history. Similarly, at Manzanita School, we recognize that adolescents are in a dramatic transition moment and have vital biological and cultural needs determined by their long evolutionary prehistory.

These inputs are what they expect from their world, and from the adults in that world. It is vital that we structure schooling to meet those needs if we want our youth to flourish. Manzanita School is located in Topanga Canyon, in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles County. 

Manzanita’s Forest Kindergarten through High School program recognizes that young people need educational models which meet them at each formative period of their lives. We are especially sensitive to supporting the healthy transition for adolescents from age 9 to 15, offering a learning context in which adults serve as both teachers and mentors. We know that the healthy maturation of our youth depends upon a strong connection to the natural world, robust challenges, and an academic program that provides intellectual understanding of one’s emerging intimacy with the natural world.

By high school, Manzanita students have gained a perspective on their growing connection to the natural world, and understand it as having a historic precedent via our long ancestry as nature-based peoples. As part of our professional development for all of our staff, we examine much of the research on healthy human development from an anthropological context. We are grateful to adapt and extend the work of Darcia Narvaez and other proponents of Evolved Developmental Nest Theory, identifying important ways these ideas can apply to youth.  

Learn more about the Evolved Nest on Kindred.

Visit the Evolved Nest’s Self-Directed Learning Center.

Visit the Manzanita School here.

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