We don’t do things to people or for people. We do things with people and then watch them do it themselves.
At Meristem we offer a wide range of classes that satisfy a diversity of interests, all of which enhance Executive Functioning skills such as:
- Organizing, planning and prioritizing
- Completing tasks
- Regulating emotions
Students develop these critical skills through planning and completing tasks, experiencing success, confronting failure, and reflecting upon the process. These skills are directly transferable towards their long-term goals such as employment, attending college, and/or successful independent living,
Independent Living Skills
Students gain practical life skills by creating hygiene routines, weekly shopping, preparing meals, organizing social events, and more.
Students develop tactile sensitivity by transforming soft clay into a fired and finished piece. Through this process students rely on their kinetic awareness to give them information about the form, texture and thickness of the piece they are creating.
Our Culinary Arts program is made up of three classes for different skill levels. Students generalize these skills to prepare and serve meals in the dorms and at home.
Culinary Arts: Students execute basic culinary concepts including safe working practices, use and handling of culinary tools and equipment, nutrition, reading and following recipes, measuring, cooking and preparing food, and food storage/handling.
Bakery: Students experience a wider range of roles in the kitchen. Working together, they learn about ingredients, techniques, and scheduling.
Café Internship: Students prepare a meal and plan menus, and use a range of produce harvested from our garden. Students serve food to the community and work in a busy kitchen, serve food, and receive customer feedback. Students practice rectifying mistakes, and adapting recipes to address tastes or dietary needs.
Offered on campus at our forge and offsite at the Folsom Museum forge, students learn proper heating and shaping techniques for metal work.
Students collaborate to create healthy garden-based products that promote self-care and focus on process. Working with natural ingredients sourced from our garden, herbs and essential oils, the Herbal Arts products inspire a sense of wellbeing and may be given as gifts or sold. Students develop diverse business skills as they produce, market and sell their product line.
Currently in a “soft” re-opening for special events, students run an on-campus Bed and Breakfast. Students conduct cleaning routines, take reservations, greet guests, prepare breakfast, and manage budget, costs, and income.
Students explore careers and reinforce critical skills like communication, dependability, punctuality, problem solving, teamwork, professional attire, etiquette, and confidence. Student build job search skills such as developing a master application and resume and mock interviewing. Students role play work scenarios, during which they may videotape a workplace social scenario or interview for constructive review. Overall, students work towards self-awareness in their interests, abilities, values and skills, and career-awareness to learn what career opportunities exist and what is required to pursue them.
Students engage in a range of activities on our three-acre biodynamic farm. Students manage the care of soil, compost, seeds, annual/perennial crops, pastures and orchards. Students engage in our seed-to-plate curriculum which allows them to see where their food comes from and to collaborate with Culinary Arts students to transform fresh produce into a nutritious meal.
Students work with copper to create bowls, bracelets, ladles and hooks. Students are shown how the uniform, unbroken hammering of a simple area teaches them to be exact and accurate. Bending copper with hand tools develops a feeling for form and symmetry.
Students attend individual and large group lessons in Transformational Movement. Students guide themselves through a progression of neurologically beneficial movements, cooperative movement conversations, and body awareness activities. Students practice grounding and flow. Students develop spatial orientation and integration.
Self expression, rhythm, coordination, and confidence all flow from practicing and performing music. Students can take music classes focusing on vocals, an instrument, or band jam sessions taught by professional, life-long musicians.
Students challenge themselves by increasing their level of stamina and strength, improve coordination and balance, build resilience, and concentration. Classes train and/or certify students in cycling, cycling maintenance and first aid/CPR. Students plan, train for and execute field trips that strives to be a completely self-powered, self-managed and self-sufficient adventure from start to finish.
Students build hand-eye coordination through hand sewing, felting, crochet, and embroidery. Working on a project like hand sewing a bag from start to finish builds executive functioning and experience with self initiation.
Visual art is an invaluable tool for communicating as it transcends language barriers. Our Visual Arts class encourages students to communicate and share their personal voice through non-verbal means. Students learn and apply techniques to class assignments and personal projects that may include drawing, comic book illustration, cyanotypes, collage, and photography.
Students hone skills and executive functioning by planning, prioritizing, and self-monitoring. Students work with greenwood to create candle holders, spoons, spatulas, bowls, stools, coat racks. Students master basic tools, materials, and safety.
Students learn hands-on work experience through grounds-keeping, landscape and maintenance work, event support, campus projects, and even the use of power tools.