Speech Language Pathologist or Family Bonding Nature Program/ Forest school.

Dear Brooke,

I have a unique opportunity right now to grow in big ways- professionally. I have two options: Take the steps to get my masters in Speech Language Pathology (SLP) or to focus on my ultimate dream and develop a nature program for families.

SLP: Pros- $50-60K average, well known, work in many settings, more secure. Cons: lots of sitting, cost of degree and all requirements- abt $70K. ½ time and money will be spent on adults-not my desired area of focus. Need about 2 yrs worth of training to become certified. Baby will have to go to daycare so I can work.

Nature program: Pros- Im outside in nature, Im helping others get outside into nature, Im working on defending childhood and helping parents deepen their relationship/connection with their children, Im helping parents understand early academics and how to follow their child’s lead to embed skills in a developmentally appropriate way and how such a big academic push down is not necessary, but a hindrance. I want to help parents learn how to embed academics in fun ways that allow their child to be intrinsically motivated and remain curious abt learning. So much fun in bonding!

I have two acres w a small farm and garden; we even have a pond! Lots of space to do cool experiments and engineering projects, etc.

Needed training: forest school training (no regs- yet), early child education training so that I understand how to teach standards so that I may then morph them into being developmentally appropriate with a nature twist so that this component will be desirable by parents. I need to become a guide so that we can go out on official local trails, I want to develop my story telling and music skills, I need to take parenting classes so I can offer ideas when issues come up.

My money goal is $50K. I would like to make this program accessible to everyone. Not sure how that is possible yet. I have even considered how I can do this in a coaching format- for the future. Not sure how to do that either of even it is possible or necessary.

CONS: scary! New. No such program exists. Sooo many unknown variables. Less guidance from others.

I know there is a need and I know people will pay.

I am 33 and have one daughter (5). We would like to adopt another daughter in two years- at the end of all this training! My undergrad degree is in speech and language communication delays and disorders- so I have a Speech Language Pathology Assistant degree.- Which will serve me greatly in either field. I currently make $15/hr as an early interventionist (EI) early childhood communication specialist- helping parents help their children (0-3) communicate. I could be making more and will as I am working on my confidence and my ability to defend my expertise, experiences, and contributions. I have had the privilege of being a stay at home mom as well as developed and operated my own nature-based in-home daycare/preschool program (2015-2016). So fun!

Problem I want to solve- Ultimately, I see the family relationships deteriorating and that is the problem I want to address- though nature of course with a forest school twist. I know- that is a mouth-full! But I can’t decide what to take away. Maybe that is part of my dilemma in making this ultimate choice. ????? UGH!

So my goal has two components: help develop relationships and build skills. Lot more side benefits happen by accident: social emotional growth, speech and language, cognitive, self-help/adaptive, etc.

I joined SCS in December. I feel a bit guilty about that because my life is beautiful and amazing! But my mind is a complete disaster. I need help and I deserve to work on myself! I am so excited about moving forward and growing in all areas of my life. I just need a little guidance in making this hard and final decision.

I am so excited!

Thank you Brooke- for all your wisdom and your willingness to help the world be a better place

I look forward to talking with you.

-Meagan Duncan