Woods and Words Writing Workshop: Nature Writing for Teens - Fall Break Workshop Openings

Summer & Holiday Camps Now Enrolling
Preteens, Teens

Enrollment is open for Woods and Words fall mini workshop at Tilden!

Woods and Words is an outdoor creative writing workshop for kids aged 12 - 17: https://woodsandwordswritingcamp.com/

Woods and Words is for...

Nature Lovers

If you love being outside and are looking for a chance to spend some quality time with the elements, then Woods and Words if for you. We will connect with nature in a personal way, using writing as a tool to explore our relationships with the natural world. If the idea of sitting silently with the wind appeals to you, if you are called by bird song and the smell of the dirt, then Woods and Words is for you.

Experienced Writers

While writing experience isn’t required, if you’re already a writer and want a chance to further develop your craft in a supportive community with personalized mentorship, then Woods and Words is certainly for you! You’ll gain new tools for generating material and have the rare opportunity to build friendships with other young writers. At Woods and Words you’ll crack open your practice, find inspiration in surprising places, and forge new creative alliances.

Wild Hearts

If you enjoy exploring new terrain, meeting new humans and trying on new forms of connection and expression, then Woods and Words is for you. You might not identify as a writer, but you love story and are curious about using writing as a way to connect with yourself, others, and the natural world. If you are curious, creative, adventurous, and game, then Woods and Words is for you.

About Woods and Words Director, Caitlyn Louchard

School works for many students, but for some–myself included–it can be stifling. A few years back I had the opportunity to teach at a forest preschool, and it made so much sense to me. Kiddos were free to romp through the woods, playing with mud, bugs, and one another, building a solid relationship with the natural world. The absence of walls, bells, and desks meant that students were free to be in their bodies in a more intuitive and wild way. Play was central, and the curiosity of the child was the driving force behind the curriculum. 

It occurred to me that all children need this kind of wild freedom, not just preschoolers. I saw a kind of disembodied resignation in many of my middle and high school students, and it broke my heart. Big kids need play, too! Big kids need mud and the freedom to follow their own curiosities. As an educator, my highest priority is to remind my students to respect their own instincts and passions, and trust in the wisdom of their bodies. 

My teaching career began in the summer of 2008, when, just after graduating from NYU with my BFA in theater, I taught Shakespeare Camp with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Exploring Shakespeare with young people was wildly fun and inspiring: each student brought their own truth to the text and taught me to hear it in new ways. I coached students to trust in the language to carry them, to be brave, to take up space, and use their voices.

In 2018 I decided to pause my professional acting career to focus on teaching full time. I taught theater in a variety of settings and I loved it. I decided to deepen my teaching practice by pursuing a master’s degree in education at Mills College, along with a credential to teach upper school English. I did my student teaching at Berkeley High School, where I had the opportunity to teach AP English to a group of fabulous juniors.

Woods and Words is the culmination of many years experience at the intersection of education and the arts. I’ve also practiced Zen Buddhism for ten years, so Zen finds its way into my work as well. I hope to offer my students an experience of freedom, empowerment, joy, and meaningful connection.

Caitlyn Louchard
woodsandwordsworkshop [at] gmail.com