About Us

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

We acknowledge that we inhabit colonized land now known as Delray Beach in Palm Beach County, the ancestral home of the Jeaga and Taquesta peoples, and that Cocoplum Nature School has been established in part through appropriated traditions and practices of indigenous peoples of North America. We humbly offer our solidarity with historically minoritized groups of people to dismantle power imbalances and promote social justice in our local community and beyond. We acknowledge the privilege we have exercised to attain and use knowledge of ecological and environmental sciences, and we pledge to continue our learning journeys.

HISTORY

Several years in the making, Cocoplum Nature School was Founded in 2020 by two Delray Beach mothers, educators, and environmental stewards, Fernanda and Melanie. The two coincidentally crossed paths many times at the library and local community gardens when their first children were babies. They later learned that they were neighbors and shared much more in common than a love of nature. After much dreaming and talking, 2020 felt to be as good a time as any to make their vision a reality. In everything they do, Melanie and Fernanda's purpose is to provide for all Cocoplum students the education they have been dreaming about for their own children. 

WHO WE ARE

Cocoplum Nature School is an inclusive educational program built at the intersection of environmental responsibility, equity, and justice that incorporates the evidence-based practices of nature-based and place-based education in an outdoor school setting. Our highly skilled educators apply social and experiential learning theories to create conditions for children to discover their interests and hone their skills through student-led inquiry, field trips, teachable moments, research projects, and book clubs. At Cocoplum, we believe in the power of connecting with nature and the importance of environmental stewardship. We believe positive relationships with our families and friends in a diverse community are central to meaningful learning. And we believe education should be an exciting and inspiring quest for knowledge and connection. Cocoplum aims to be eco-conscious in everything we do by avoiding single-use plastics, nurturing native plant species, and repurposing salvaged materials. 

HOW IT WORKS

The program offered in spring of 2021 is called Cocoplum Nature Play. The application is closed at this time.

 

Our 2021-2022 school year programming will include Cocoplum Nature Play for pre-K, Cocoplum Nature School for primary grades education, and after care. Click here to apply for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Families who are registered with the School District of Palm Beach County as a home education program (Florida Statue 1002.41) are welcome to apply. As a home education program, the parent/guardian is the educator of record and is empowered by the State of Florida to make all educational decisions. Cocoplum provides: help with home education registration with the school district; a program of integrated curriculum to supplement families' homeschooling programs; documentation and assessment of knowledge and skills for the state-required education portfolio; and portfolio evaluation by a certified teacher that will be provided to the caretaker/guardian. 

AFFILIATIONS

Cocoplum Nature School is proud to be an organizational member of the Eastern Regional Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS), the Natural Start Alliance (NSA), the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), and the League of Environmental Educators in Florida. Through these networks, Cocoplum faculty and staff stay connected with latest nature school and environmental education research and methods, and they have access to professional development and certification programs.

OUR SCHOOL

The environment is our main classroom. But of course, even budding naturalists need shelter from lightning, 100 degree days, and torrential rain. Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, we will be proud to be at home in the educational wing of the iconic Cason United Methodist Church near downtown Delray Beach. The church shares a namesake, Rev. John Robert Cason, with the Cason Cottage downtown which houses the Delray Beach Historical Society. It was build in 1969 and has gradually expanded over the years to better serve the needs of our community. The school's cozy indoor classrooms each have doors leading directly to our outdoor space where mature native trees including Live Oak and Sea Grape provide a diverse shade canopy. The school is within walking distance to the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, the Cornell Museum of Art, Cason Cottage, the Swinton Community Garden, and the Delray Beach Public Library. Cocoplum's future school site, in the heart of Delray Beach near so many cultural, civic, and arts centers, is an ideal setting for place-based learning. 

 

GET INVOLVED

Cocoplum is a non-profit and we depend upon the support of our generous donors and local partners. To make an investment for the education of our young leaders, activists, and environmental stewards, visit the Support Us page. For information about tuition and financial assistance, please visit the Admissions page. To learn more about our local partners, visit the Partners page. 

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