Whole Life Learning Center – Winter Solstice Celebration Market

In mid-December, I finally got the chance to visit the Whole Life Learning Center (WLLC) in South Austin. The WLLC is a mix-use facility with the primary purpose of outdoor education for children. While the focus is for hands-on outdoor learning for kids, there are frequent opportunities for teen and adult environmental education. There’s also an on-site plant nursery, Cultivate Holistic Supply, which offers a slew of organic supplies.

In honor of the Winter Solstice, various vendors came together for a Winter Solstice Celebration Market. The products they offered ranged from hand-made jewelry to organic tinctures and anything you could imagine made from beeswax or honey byproducts.

Aside from the Winter Solstice Celebration Market, WLLC opened up their facility grounds as an open house for guests and parents with potential students to come and explore. I took the opportunity to walk the area and saw the various playgrounds, outdoor learning areas, unique classroom buildings, and animal pens. I was very impressed with how many features WLLC offered for childhood education and outdoor learning areas.

The WLLC facility reminded me of my time at Lost Valley Education Center and Ecovillage, where I received the adult education version of what is offered at Whole Life for kids.

One of my favorite features about the WLLC grounds was it’s large geodesic dome! During the academic school year it’s used as an activity space and classroom for the students. A place where kids can circle up for games, songs, and other educational activities without being in the confines of a traditional classroom and desk.

For the Solstice Market, the dome was converted into a shop space selling bottled goods, like extracts and tinctures. I really appreciated the porthole windows that let in significant natural light, and the hanging fan provided plenty of circulation within the dome.

On the way to my car to leave, I made a final stop at the Cultivate Holistic Supply, the on-site plant nursery. There were several tables full of native and adaptive plants for sale that would thrive in the local soils. The main store with fertilizers, extracts, and soil mixes was located in an nearby green yurt. I was very impressed with how much the nursery had to offer in such a small space!

Check out this video from Wild Family Studio “Austin Parent Entrepreneurs, Episode 2” where Michael Carberry, co-founder of the Whole Life Learning Center talks about the school “where people come to grow” in a holistic way: mind, body, and spirit.

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