Programs and Registration

Programs and Registration

About Our Programs

Taproot offers school year and summer programs for children ages 3 to 18 along with events for whole families. 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 info@taprootnatureexperience.org 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.

Foundations

Days and Dates: Throughout the month, July-May

Registration Deadline: Saturday, June 22

Tuition: $3500 ($320/month, includes 4-day Foundations Kickoff Camp June 29-July 3)
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 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 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, 2024

Days and Dates: March 1-16, 2025
Tuition: $5500 ($1500 deposit required; Payment plans available; Subject to change before registration deadline)
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. This trip is open to current and past participants of the Taproot Foundations program and Taproot Leadership Camp in Grade 8 and above, including recent high school graduates.

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, March 18-May 31, 2024
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $350-495, depending on the day and pickup arrangements
Group Size: Up to 20 children with three teachers

The 2024 Spring After-School Program happens Monday through Friday, from March 18 to May 31, 2024.

Kids sign up for one or more days for the entire session.

Sprouts Mornings for Ages 3-5

Days and Hours: Mondays 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $450
Group Size: Eight children with two teachers

The Spring 2024 session runs from March 18 to May 20. Elesa and Zac Wedemeyer are the Sprouts teachers. Sprouts ride in the “Lorax,” our 15-passenger Ford van. Families provide a car seat or booster, which can be installed each day or left in the van for the session.

All-Day Programs for Ages 5-12

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Spring ’24 Days and Dates: 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

We had a wonderful time at our Family Events this past summer and fall! Stay tuned for more events next spring! Here’s what we did:

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)

And much more! Read more to find out.

Summer Programs

Sprouts Camp: Ages 3–5

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Weeks: June 17-21, June 24-28, August 5-9, and August 12-16
Meeting Place: Parents or caregivers deliver and pick up Sprouts at each day’s destination, TBD
Group size: Eight children with two Taproot teachers and a Junior Leader
Tuition: $250

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

Cambium: All-Day Camp for Ages 5–8

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from June 17 to August 22, 2023
Meeting Location: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Group size: Twelve children with two Taproot teachers and a Junior Leader
Tuition: $440

We will run two sections of Cambium Camp each week during Summer 2024. The different sections of Cambium will be determined mainly by when kids sign up, but if your child wants to be with a friend, please let us know and it can most likely happen.

Saplings: All-Day Camp for Ages 8–12

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from June 17 to August 22, 2023 (Except July 1-3)
Meeting Location: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Group size: 20 children with three Taproot teachers and a Junior Leader
Tuition: $440

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.

Taproot Leadership Camp: Ages 12–18

When: Evening of Friday, June 7 to noon Saturday, June 15
Meeting Location: Harvest Preserve Main Entrance
Group size: 18 kids, with Elesa and Zac as the main teachers.
Tuition: $1450 (25% 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’s possible to make some custom arrangements if kids have scheduling conflicts or 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. All camp balances are due by June 1.

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 info@taprootnatureexperience.org or call 319.325.0695.