There were many reasons our family moved to Yosemite National Park three years ago. Prime among them was our daughter. She is a good student academically but she is also an ace fidgeter, a condition that does little to endear a child to a teacher. When we found Yosemite Park’s Wawona Elementary School, with its supremely gifted teachers and a curriculum that includes all the basics plus healthy doses of art, music, cooking, nature studies and even skiing, we jumped at the chance.
At the time, our daughter was in an excellent school in Los Angeles but her inability to sit still proved so relentless that we’d enrolled her in occupational therapy in an attempt to contain the urge. When we announced to her aunts and uncles (really friends but family nonetheless) that we were leaving for Yosemite there was a hue and cry about the dangers of taking our daughter out of occupational therapy, a fear that she would begin to slip backward. So I went to see her therapist and asked her what she thought. Her answer? “Nature is occupational therapy, 24/7.”