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Who We Are

Dancing Sol History:
Matty and Rees Maxwell founded Dancing Sol in 2008, but it has been many years in the making.

Matty Maxwell has 30 years of experience teaching young children. She received her Masters in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Oregon in 2001. She worked as an educational and behavior consultant with EC CARES. Through this agency she supported parents and teachers in the Eugene/Springfield community to help young children succeed to their highest potential. Before moving to Eugene, Matty was a lead teacher for toddlers in a child development center, and was a Special Education Teacher in a Life Skills program in Portland. Prior to that Matty was a Preschool Teacher and a Special Education Teacher in Washington State. She taught sign language to children from age 3-9 years old. She worked on a Native American Reservation, providing support to families and young children. All these experiences have helped her to see what an amazing difference can be made in the lives of young children. She realizes how important it is to work with children when they are young, because it is this early education that becomes the foundation for all later learning. She works with the whole child, in all areas of development; physical, emotional, intellectual, and social.

As a parent of two boys, she realizes what an important and difficult job it is to raise children. It is a job that requires support from a community. Her mission is to not only create an amazing early childhood program that nurtures the spirit of the child, that connects children to nature, and helps them connect with the greater community, but to create a supporting environment for all families who have diverse social and cultural needs. The people who know the child best, the parents, are also the child’s very first and very best teacher.

Rees is also co-founder of Whole Earth Nature School. He continues to offer lessons to Dancing Sol students in the area of nature awareness and wilderness living skills. Your child may learn how to build a shelter one month, and the next learn about safely harvesting plants for food or medicine from the woods. I was a child of 14 when I taught my first class of children. In college during the early ’90s I created and taught an environmental ed. curriculum to grade-schoolers, and worked in a group home teaching teens with Autism. Since moving to Eugene, and following the birth of our first son Aiden, I rediscovered the importance of connecting children with nature. Teaching grade-schoolers at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum confirmed my excitement of, and commitment to, deepening children’s roots in nature. In 2005, after the birth of my second son, Rowen, my family moved up to Washington state where I enrolled in Wilderness Awareness School’s year-long intensive adult residential wilderness program. During that year I also taught at their Roots & Wings nature program for preschool-aged children. Since our return to Eugene in 2006 I cofounded Dancing Sol with my wife Matty and co-taught for five years. During that time I also co-founded Whole Earth Nature School to reach more children in a wider age range, continuing to develop a highly effective curriculum for creating deep connections with nature. Whole Earth Nature School teaches thousands of children each year, and during summers many Dancing Sol parents choose to send their 3-5 year old children to summer camps at Whole Earth. You can find out more here: https://WholeEarth.org.

Through games and fun exploration, children at Dancing Sol are mentored in a ‘whole earth’ approach to nature, learning about individual elements such as what animals and plants are native to our area, as well as ecological aspects that link all of these elements together. Children are also mentored from a ‘whole child’ perspective, addressing all areas of human development including their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Our time outside connecting with nature is supported by time in the classroom where kids will be able to explore their relationship with nature and community through stories, music, art and more. And of course, we co-create the curriculum with the children, as their unique interests lend direction to our day’s experiences and learning.

We thank you for your interest in Dancing Sol!

-Matty Maxwell