Hochoka’s Outdoor Alternative School allows for students and teachers have the opportunity to experience education from another perspective, outside the walls of the classroom; with animals and nature as learning catalyst for growth and education. When we think of education, the first thing that may come to mind is academic achievement or cognitive learning such as a person’s ability to read, write and do math. It is important to remember the other domains such as physical and social/emotional development and not to focus only on academic skills. Fostering the ideals of environmental and personal responsibility, civic engagement, entrepreneurial spirit, and global understanding are elements of the learning opportunity at the Outdoor Alternative School. The various directions a person would like to explore as their life’s work can be done through the creativity based program and the entire concept of the freedom of the outdoor learning environment which allows for self growth more than traditional school environments just because of the integration of the whole self as a basis of all curriculum. The whole self includes the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.
The concept of an outdoor learning environment is not new to our world. More progressive states in the US offer this and these have been operating at every level of education.
Hochoka has touched on the elements of the outdoor school at our old location; and at our current location we offer day only programs. Hochoka provides educational course work, on site at the farm for Universities, home school associations and families, and local schools. Hochoka has curriculum which includes self-awareness programs, emotional intelligence, life skills training and development, safety and first-aid, art and creativity, leadership, animal welfare and care, and environmental studies. The outdoor learning environment provides for a nurturing and stimulating atmosphere where people learn about their world through nature based, person-centered learning. Students can, of course, explore the campus on their own, with trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding
After spending a day, week or longer at Hochoka, living and learning together, students develop a sense of community, a confidence in themselves and an appreciation for others that carry over into their homes, relationships and community.
Hochoka’s concept is a residential, environmental education program. Programs can be offered for an entire year or week-long stay for respite situations; or anywhere in between. Currently, we are only offering day programs; as we are in search for land ownership for Hochoka Outdoor Alternative School.