Next Step Teaches & Facilitates
With more than 75 years combined experience in classrooms, camps, hospitals, afterschool and church programs, the Next Step team collaborates with schools, individuals, and organizations to help kids and grownups learn new stuff.
Whether it’s a special yoga class for a targeted population, a workshop at a conference, or a series of classes, our team confidently steps into the seat of the teacher and facilitator. We start our planning with insight into where the group begins.
To teach is to bring a group along in knowledge or skill. To facilitate is to make something easy. We teach so that learning comes easy, and we make it exciting and satisfying for our learners.
We’ve used the MACA Poverty Simulation since 2011; during the pandemic we developed an online version of this powerful tool. If you have a large group (50-80) the in-person version is ideal, but if your group is small, or spread over a wider area, or your time is limited, the online simulation accomplishes a lot of the same goals as the roleplay. Our team that can put together a powerful experience that will:
- Give your group a glimpse at the challenges faced by people with limited incomes every day and month
- Increase your group’s empathy toward others
- Open new lines of communication among participants
Take half a day to give your group a powerful experience of how it feels to survive on less than a living wage.
Would you like to be more empathetic?
Yoga classes and programs
Martha and Ashley teach yoga at local studios and for organizations like Polk County Conservation, Drake University and LICA. Shelly is a regular teacher at summer programs in Urbandale. We’re pros at making the many benefits of yoga accessible to every body through:
- The use of chairs and props
- Controlled breath and pranayama
- Adapting yoga practice and myth to the needs of diverse groups
- Yoga for mental health
Imagine calming yourself just by changing the way you breathe. Can’t touch your toes? We can get you there! Think yoga is something you have to BE strong to do? Yoga will MAKE you strong!
Would you like to be strong AND flexible?
Mindfulness & Movement
Mindfulness is such a buzz word these days, but the team at Next Step delved into the concept before it was on magazine covers! We use and teach many techniques; some are collected in our Mindfulness & Movement Activity decks, but we’ve already added enough to start another deck. Let us bring you a fresh take through approaches like:
- Walking meditation
- Controlled breath & pranayama
- Developing your own mindfulness practice
- Gratitude practice
The benefits of a mindfulness practice are priceless. Learning to be in the moment, stay where your hands and feet are, enhances everything from enjoyment of everyday chores and routines to remembering where you set down your glasses. Being mindful in the 21st century is a big challenge, but our team can help you develop a regular practice that will make your life a better place.
Would you like to develop or enhance your own mindfulness practice?
Nutrition & healthy eating
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the recommendations about what to eat and how to be healthy. We do a lot of teaching as part of our work with the farm to school work. Shelly teaches Pick A Better Snack at elementary schools for Des Moines Public Schools. At Next Step we stick to the basics:
- Eat lots of fruits & veggies
- Eat local
- Get plenty of exercise
- Go outside
- Eat sweets, fats, and processed foods in moderation (or not much at all? well, maybe not)
Farm to school programs help kids develop healthy eating habits to last a lifetime. Research tells us students pick more fruits and vegetables when they have high quality, farm-fresh produce to choose from. When kids are well-nourished, they learn better.
Would you like the kids in your life to learn about nutrition & health?
Science and math often show up on surveys as the most difficult to teach. When the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) came out in 2011, there was a mix of excitement and terror!
But the basic scientific skill is asking questions, guessing what the answer might be, and then testing your guess. Setting up simple experiments can be done in any classroom, and they will keep students engaged in learning. Next Step staff can help you:
- Develop simple science experiments using inexpensive supplies and equipment
- Help with step-by-step instructions
- Tie your favorite activities to science standards
- Teach science concepts outdoors
There are a variety of science teaching methods you can draw upon when helping students understand their world.https://www.fizzicseducation.com.au/articles/methods-for-teaching-science/
Whilst there are several approaches to try, the most important thing to keep in mind is that our role as science educators is to help students understand how the scientific method actually works and why science impacts upon their own lives.
Is science NOT your forte?
Teaching, Parenting, & Youth development
Being a parent or teacher is more challenging than ever in these post-pandemic, digitally connected times. Not that it hasn’t always been a tough job!
We need to pull out all the stops on what we know about how young people grow and learn to meet the challenges that they are presenting. There is so much we can do to help them grow strong and resilient. teaching and youth development.
The Next Step team draws from experience and experiments in education and youth development:
- The experiential model, and hands-on education
- Research on resilience; protective factors and other youth development research
- Learning styles research
- Best research and practice on parenting throughout life
“Every truth has four corners. As a teacher I give you one corner and it is up to you to find the other three.”Confucius