Farm School Program

Program Description

This program is designed to reinforce children’s connection to the living world and recognize their place and value within it.  Through this program, we seek to support children who may be bored or taxed by a traditional school setting, and ground them in nature and real work, which we have seen time and again increase their engagement in other areas of their lives. We do chores and projects together, garden and explore the natural world.

As children arrive they jump right into morning chores.  We have a checklist that we work to complete together before we break for a snack. We seek to balance chores we all enjoy with ones that must be done for the health of the animals.  We strive for a collaboration, where we all participate equally.  After snack, students have the option of taking up a supervised workshop project or enjoying free time building snow forts, hay forts, mud pits, bridges, etc.  We believe there to be equal value in their creating their own play and projects, and working with us. We do not force either and typically find that most students strike a nice balance between the two.

We tend to encourage them to sort out conflicts on their own. If we step in to support conflict resolution, we seek to help all voices be heard, but encourage their own creative resolution. Our approach to discipline is based on Restorative Practices.

In every activity that we undertake with them, we seek to grow their skills to accomplish it without us (though working with cows is always supervised).  In all activities, we seek to build skills, competence,  confidence, and independence.

Activities include

  • Feeding and watering livestock
  • Collecting, cleaning and packing eggs
  • Milking cows and goats
  • Gardening
  • Carpentry with hand tools
  • Wilderness exploration
  • Plant ID

Farm life follows the rhythm of the seasons. In the fall we will harvest the farm’s abundance, dry flowers and herbs, save seeds and prepare the animals and farm for the cold ahead.  Winter is a quieter time with a focus on keeping animals healthy and warm, and learning new skills, including wilderness lore and fire-making. Spring is full to bursting with planting, new babies, and new projects!  Carpentry is a constant to all seasons, we seem to need to construct many things to keep farm life running smoothly.

The goals of this program include inspiring a deep connection to the land and animals; and building the capacities for confidence, independence, and joy in life and work.

Farm School Program for K-8th graders 2020-21.

Time: The program runs Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri from 8:30-3:00 for fall and spring, from 8:30-1:00 for winter. Sign up for one or multiple days a week. 

Fall session runs 8/31 – 11/20. Winter session runs 11/30 – 2/19. Spring runs 3/1 – 6/4. 

Mondays:  Skills Focus for grades 3-8.  Animal husbandry is always an aspect, along with a combination of wilderness skills and farm skills such as tracking, forest ID, fire building, carpentry, rudimentary smithing, simple mechanics.

Thursdays:  Free form.  K-3.  Days on the farm as they were meant to be.  First, we all focus on animal needs together.  Then we flow through the rest of the day, moving from projects to play and back again.  The season and weather provide us with endless opportunities to enjoy our landscape.  

Tuesdays and Fridays: Multi-aged and focused on our family.  Yes, we are a little quirky and different and we like the idea adding the intention of celebrating our differences.  Same focus and caring for the animals and the earth, with a little more emphasis on nurturing ourselves and each other.

Session 1:  Aug 31 – Nov 20.  Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday, or Fridays.  One Day – $750 First Child,  $600 Sibling.     Two days – $1350 First child, $1200 Second Child.

Session 2: Nov 30 – Feb 19.   Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. One day – $450 First Child,  $400 Sibling.     Two days – $850 First child, $750 Sibling.

Session 3: March 1 – June 4 .   Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays.   One day – $810 First Child,  $660 Sibling.    Two days – $1570 First Child, $1410 Sibling.

Typical rhythm:

TimeActivity
8:30-10:00Morning farm chores
10:00-10:30Snack break
10:30-12:15Free time or Project time
12:15-1:00Lunch
1:00-2:30Hike, project or free time.
2:30-3:00Clean up

Bring:

  • Hearty snack and lunch
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Hat (sun or warm)
  • Farm gloves
  • Clothing for the weather and the farm. We will get muddy and mucky often. For rain, children need a raincoat, rain pants, and boots; in winter, winter parka, snow pants, and boots. It is a good idea to designate a set of outdoor clothes “farm clothes” if possible.
  • A change of clothes is always a good idea in case we get wet through.

Leave at home or in your backpack: All electronic devices.  Phones, smartwatches, tablets, game devices, etc.