Programs and Registration

Programs and Registration

About Our Programs

Taproot offers school year and summer programs for children ages 3 to 17. Age guidelines for each camp are flexible; we would be happy to discuss your child’s individual needs and abilities to find the right program for them. Contact us at or call 319.325.0695.

Activities in all of the programs vary from day to day and are highly dependent on the season, weather, group size, and children’s interests, but have included: hiking, sledding, shelter building, atl-atl throwing, yoga and mindfulness practice, bow making, fishing, found nature object art, creek wading, fire making, gold panning, mushroom hunting, cloud watching and quiet observation, vegetable and tree planting, creek exploration, fairy house building, pond canoeing and swimming with life-vests, owl pellet dissection, animal tracking, sand engineering, treasure hunting, native species identification, maple tapping, snow building, campfire tending and cooking, outdoor games, and much more. Read more about our educational philosophy here.

We go outside in all but the harshest weather–An important goal of the program is to help kids learn how to feel comfortable and safe in nature. We encourage parents to send their children with appropriate clothing, and we help kids learn how to wear it.

If dangerous weather prevents us from spending the day outdoors, we may go to the Natural History Museum, the Johnson County Historical Society Museum, the Office of the State Archaeologist, rec center gyms, the Iowa City Public Library, or the Water Treatment Facility, among other indoor locations.

Learn about financial aid and donations here.


Days and Dates: Throughout the month, July-May

Registration Deadline: Friday, June 30

Tuition: $2750 ($250/month)
Location: Varies

Building on Taproot’s principles of nonviolent communication and unconditional positive regard, Taproot Foundations is an eleven-month program that will introduce and explore a variety of topics to help students advance their understanding of self-knowledge and self-care. We will approach this in a variety of ways, with a heavy emphasis on experiential learning: group activities, monthly 1:1s with teachers, small group and whole group discussions, games, videos, podcasts, and occasional articles or books. We will introduce a topic monthly, lead activities, discussions and provide supporting materials to support learning of the topic, and, using an experiment framework, help students learn what works and what doesn’t for them, and to keep and build upon those things that work.

Ecuador Spring Break

Registration Deadline: August 15

Days and Dates: March 1-16
Tuition: $5500 ($1500 deposit required; Payment plans available)
Location: Ayampe and Las Tunas, Ecuador

The Ecuador Spring Break trip builds upon the principles introduced in Taproot Leadership Camp and Foundations, providing kids the opportunity to experience a wholly different environment and culture while enjoying the beauty of the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast.

Our days in Ecuador will be full and fun! We will be spending the majority of our time in the beautiful neighboring towns of Ayampe and Las Tunas, Ecuador, but we’ll also do day trips to other small coastal towns and beaches. Both Ayampe and Las Tunas are known for their pristine and uncrowded beaches, which are popular among surfers and nature enthusiasts.The towns are peaceful and relaxed, with a small community of locals and expats who live a simple and eco-friendly lifestyle. The towns are surrounded by lush tropical forest and are home to an amazing variety of wildlife, including different monkeys, amazing, colorful birds, and giant sea turtles.

School-Year Programs

After-School Program for Ages 5-12

Hours: School dismissal to 6:00 p.m.
Days and Dates: Monday-Friday, September 5-November 16
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $270-495, depending on the day and pickup arrangements
Group Size: Up to 18 children with three teachers

The 2023 Fall After-School Program happens Monday through Friday, from September 5 to November 16. Kids sign up for one or more days for the entire session...

Sprouts Mornings for Ages 3-5

Days and Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $495/session for one day per week, with a $100 discount for each additional day per week.
Group Size: Eight children with two adult teachers

The Fall 2023 session runs from September 5 to November 17, and children can participate in as many days per week as desired. Laura Max, Alena Green, Elesa Wedemeyer, and Zac Wedemeyer...

All-Day Programs for Ages 5-12

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Days and Dates: Monday, September 25; Friday, October 13; Monday, October 16; Tuesday, November 7; Friday, November 17; Wednesday, April 10; and Friday, April 19,
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $85/day
Group Size: 18 children and three teachers

Kids can spend the day outside with Taproot friends. Destinations and activities will depend on the weather and who signs up,but you can be sure the day will be filled with nature and friendship...

Family Programs

Family Fishing at Kent Park
Date: Sunday, July 30 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Place: Kent Park Lake Fishing Pier
Cost: Free (limited space, registration required)

Turkey Creek Family Day
Date: Sunday, August 13 1 - 4 p.m.
Place: Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, 2545 Sugar Bottom Road
Cost: Free (limited space, registration required)

Hickory Hill Family Nature ID Hike...

Summer Programs

Sprouts Camp: Ages 3–5

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Weeks: June 12-16, July 5-7 (short week), August 7-11, August 14-18
Meeting Place: This summer, parents or caregivers will deliver and pick up Sprouts at each day's destination, TBD
Group size: Eight children with two adult Taproot teachers and a teenage Junior Leader
Tuition: $240

Sprouts is designed to give young children quality time outdoors in natural settings, with gentle, knowledgeable guidance from experienced Taproot Teachers...

Saplings: All-Day Camp for Ages 8–12

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from June 19 to August 18, 2023
Meeting Location: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Group size: Eighteen children with three adult Taproot teachers and a teenage Junior Leader
Tuition: $395

Sapling Camp is a rich, nature-filled experience for children, guided by excellent teachers and surrounded by friendly kids in an atmosphere of Unconditional Positive Regard...

Cambium: All-Day Camp for Ages 5–8

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from June 19 to August 18, 2023
Meeting Location: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Group size: Twelve children with two adult Taproot teachers and a teenage Junior Leader
Tuition: $395

To meet increased demand, we will run two sections of Cambium Camp each week during Summer 2023. The different sections of Cambium will be determined mainly by when kids sign up, but if your child wants to be together with a friend please...

Taproot Leadership Camp: Ages 12–18

When: Evening of Friday, June 9 to noon Saturday, June 17
Meeting Location: Harvest Preserve Main Entrance
Group size: Eighteen kids and two adult Taproot teachers
Tuition: $1400 ($250 deposit required at registration)

Leadership Camp is an 8-day sleep away camp. Participants bring a tent and we camp at Harvest Preserve and go on daily field trips to various activities and events. Because it takes place in Iowa City, it is possible to make some custom arrangements if kids have scheduling conflicts or if they have difficulty staying away from home...

Payment and Refund Policies

All Taproot programs require a payment at the time of registration in order to reserve the spot. You will have the option to pay your entire balance in full or to pay a 25% deposit and enroll in an auto-billing plan that will automatically charge you in monthly installments. The 25% deposit is included in the total tuition cost.

Before May 1 all Summer Camp payments, including deposits, are fully refundable for any reason. After May 1, the deposit amount is not refundable if you withdraw your child from camp regardless of whether someone fills the vacated space, though the balance amount is refundable. After camp begins, both deposit and balance are not refundable, except in emergency.

All that said, we are human and you can talk to us. If you have extenuating circumstances that cause your child to miss camp, contact Zac at or call 319.325.0695.