We currently have about ten children, from infants to preteens, living at Earthaven full time. Another dozen like-minded families live very close to Earthaven and visit often.
Most of the school-age Earthaven children are homeschooling, as well as participating in the homeschool enrichment programs and regularly scheduled playgroups.
What is it like for families and children at Earthaven?
In some ways, it’s an ideal place to raise children; however, there definitely are challenges. Given that we’re still in the process of developing our physical infrastructure, many families are in less comfortable living conditions than they may be accustomed to elsewhere. And there are a lot of demands on parents’ time and energy at Earthaven, since they share in the work of co-creating this village.
Yet, we live in a beautiful mountain forest with a wholesome, safe environment. Our children are surrounded by streams, waterfalls, frogs, and woodland creatures; lots of friends; and dozens of adults to befriend and mentor them. Kids love it here! While most community meetings are adult-oriented, the children are an integral part of our community meals, plays and entertainments, celebrations, workdays, and other community events. For those families who are called to take up this work and share this way of life, parents and children both thrive!
If you’re seeking a community with a high-spirited, environmentally and socially rich environment for children, come see what we’re doing here.
Two myths about raising children in community
Myth #1. The entire community will co-parent my children. Earthaven is an independent- income community (not income-sharing), so the work of raising children is not credited as community work, as it is in income-sharing communities. There is one exception: childcare provided during Council meetings so parents can attend counts for community labor credit. Children are their parents’ responsibility and, given the costs of living at Earthaven, having financial stability already established before joining the community is definitely helpful. However, parents and children do receive various kinds of informal support here.
Myth #2. The children will be sheltered from mainstream society.Children at Earthaven do learn a way of life close to the seasons and the elements, as well as respectful and honest communication between people and concern for nature’s creatures. They also, though, are exposed to the “outside world” in a variety of ways. For example, the children ask for toys or processed foods they learn about from advertising.
Meet a few of the families at and near Earthaven:
Kaitlin, Bruce, and Rowan: Kaitlin and Bruce live in the Hut Hamlet neighborhood, with their son, Rowan. They met at Earthaven while both were work exchangers at the Medicine Wheel House in 2008. They married in 2013 in the biggest wedding Earthaven has ever seen (250+ people from around the world!). Rowan was born a little over a year later. And he is just the cutest thing!
Rowan is an immensely physical child who does not so much walk as run wherever he goes. He finds books fascinating, and can already use many kinds of tools and carry firewood. Kaitlin, Bruce and Rowan love living at Earthaven, and plan to stay forever. Bruce mixes odd jobs (caregiving, bookkeeping, tutoring) with farming and Kaitlin is a stay-at-home mom (gardening, farming, hauling wood, etc.), as well as being a Priestess and serving the community.
Corinna and Dylan: Corinna has been an Earthaven member since 1998, and her son Dylan has lived on the land since birth in 2000. Dylan participated in the former Forest Children Collective, for which Corinna provided years of leadership. Dylan and Corinna live above Corinna's business, Red Moon Herbs, at Village Terraces. “As a single mother, it’s wonderful to be able to homeschool my son and to have a home-based business doing work I love and believe in. I am continually amazed by the richness of life at Earthaven for my son. . . he's soaking it in!”
Ema, David, Noah, Nim, and Gita: Ema and David's family is one of about a dozen like-minded families that live within a 20-minute walk from Earthaven. They have built their own cordwood home which houses their family of five. Ema and David are founding parents of the Forest Children Collective. Ema is the Event Coordinator for Southeast Wise Women and has worked at Earthaven since 2003.