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,
Students develop fine motor skills by creating pieces of art with a variety of mediums, each of which require different types of grip, pressure, and movement when applying them to the intended surface to yield desired results. Students strengthen executive functioning skills by depicting both internal experiences and external experiences in their completed pieces, and by practicing time management while creating deadlines for artwork.
Students gain practical work skills by taking inventory, fulfilling online orders, helping customers, answering calls, preparing orders to ship, and reconciling the cash register.
Students learn hands-on work experience through grounds-keeping, landscape and maintenance work, event support, campus projects, and the use of power tools.
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 all the ingredients, techniques, and the scheduling required to run a production bakery.
Café: 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 public kitchen, take customers orders, prepare and serve a range of food items, and receive customer feedback. Students practice rectifying mistakes, and adapting recipes to address tastes or dietary needs.
Digital Arts and Media
Students focus on recall, sequence, and reflection through art and story. Students take lessons in drawing from still life, nature, peers, and their own imagination. Next, students use the computer to color-finish products. They create meaningful pieces with personal lessons through storybook and animation projects in which they map-out a sequence of events, and develop a story from the perspective of themselves and of others.
Offered on campus at our forge and offsite at the Folsom Museum forge, students learn proper heating and shaping techniques for metal work.
Meristem partners with Sacramento Art Glass to provide glass blowing sessions for our students. Students master the properties of glass, and achieve focus as they make a range of objects including paperweights, plates, bowls, glasses and vases.
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.
Students run the on-campus Bard Bed and Breakfast. Students conduct cleaning routines, take reservations, greet guests, prepare breakfast, and manage budget, costs, and income.
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.
In the navigation/orienteering class students develop a sense of self, a sense of place, critical thinking skills and physical fitness through the activity of navigating with a map and a compass. We take the principles of navigational skills and learn how to use them in a variety of environments that we all move through in life. Students develop the confidence to move into any environment and find their way.
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 make a simple design to be created for others. After proficiency in basic skills, they work on orders and needs for the campus and eventually the outer community. Students focus on design and production, learn the process, care for a space, check inventory, build needs lists and orders, and have meetings with clients.
Students experience the practice and performance of a Shakespeare play or a series of vignettes. Class includes speech work and mindfulness training.
Students practice basic character drawing skills, sequential reflection and recall, and skills needed for the progression. Students work in small groups to create a storybook. They elaborate on the skills learned and work on a larger scale than personal reflection. Students are in charge of creating a story with a moral or lesson that they feel living inside of them to express to others. Then, students use the skills learned to address a worldwide audience in creating an animated short. The team grows larger and addresses a lesson that they would like to see addressed on a more global scale.
Storytelling explores what it takes to tell a story verbally that is both entertaining and informative. This includes creating both real and fictional stories as individuals as well as working with a team. Students explore different ways to share a story, including group art, story stones, writing, and speaking them out loud. Students also become familiar with monologues and scenes, both scripted and improvised.
Students volunteer to participate and typically serve for one year. The council collects suggestions and concerns from the student body, and brings issues or proposals to the Student Council President. They hold awareness-raising and fundraising events. Students learn about diplomacy, the democratic process, how to chair meetings, accepting and understanding constructive criticism through peer feedback and teamwork.
Students perform exercises designed to develop voice and movement skills conducted in group settings. Through improvisation, and character and scene creation, students practice expressive abilities and awareness of moods and feelings. Students practice awareness of personal space and their spatial relationship to other actors and surrounding stage environment. Caring for the stage, rehearsal space, costumes, and props reinforces responsibility and the practice of living skills.
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 master new workplace skills and reinforce previously learned skills such as communication, positivity, dependability, punctuality, responsibility, professional attire, etiquette, and confidence. Students practice skills through role play, during which they may videotape a workplace social scenario or interview for constructive review. Students work towards self-awareness in relation to interests, abilities, values and skills, career-awareness to learn what career opportunities exist and what is required to pursue them, teamwork, problem-solving, presentation skills, job search skills such as resume writing, job application and portfolio preparation, and interviewing.