schools and programs for children
A listing of outdoor and other types of alternative education programs. Some link to the sites directly while others review programs from personal visits and link to the sites from those pages. With the exception of my own school here at the top, the rest are in alphabetical order.
A past program, I developed Outside School as an afterschool program in public elementary schools in Berkeley, California. We utilized the schools' garden spaces.
Located in Locarno, Switzerland, Al Boschetto’s “The Elves of the Forest” program brings children along a path and into the woods twice a week.
This Education for Change Public School in the Fruitvale District in Oakland, California has incorporated schoolwide nature curriculum into their schoolwide curriculum through school yard projects.
While this is not an outdoor program, it encompasses many important values including working together on projects and community in San Francisco, California.
California Academy of Sciences
This museum offers an immersive rainforest exhibit, old-fashioned dioramas with taxidermied specimens, penguins, planetarium, and living roof. For family visits and field trips.
Center for Archaeological Research
Located at the University of Califonia at Davis, the outreach program of the Center for Archaeological Research invites school groups to tour facilities, handle artifacts, and give flintknapping demonstrations outside.
Duck's Nest Preschool Garden
A once-vacant lot in Berkeley, California was transformed by Duck's Nest Preschool into a 1/10 acre garden space. Now purchased by a developer and slated for condominium construction, view the program as it once was at the link below.
East Oakland Boxing Association
Offering boxing, gardening, life skills, and leadership, this Oakland, California association is a backbone in this community.
This famous school site in Berkeley, California was initiated by Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse Foundation. Garden classes are available for one trimester for sixth graders at one of Berkeley's middle schools.
Located in Bali, Indonesia, this school is constructed of bamboo and has developed a holistic program to integrate nature and culture.
Harley Farms Goat Dairy
Located in Pescadero, California, this farm offers 90 minute tours (read: for older children).
Lindsay Wildlife Experience
Located in Walnut Creek, California, on offer are up close and personal views and experiences with non-releasable, local wildlife. A museum, place for field trips, and wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center, all in one building.
Loma Vista Farm
This farm is located right in the middle of a ton of public and private schools in Vallejo, California, as well as youth and rehabilitation programs. Families may visit during the day and schools can arrange field trips.
Los Gatos-Saratoga Observation Nursery School
Depending on season, families meet at "The Little Red Schoolhouse" or one of two area parks in the South Bay, California. Children are encouraged to play freely while parents write observations.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, Calirornia museum for visiting with family or field trips. Lots of indoor and outdoor exhibits to explore and citizen science opportunities.
San Diego Natural History Museum
In San Diego, California, this museum is for families and school groups and offers both field trips and nature hikes.
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
In Santa Barbara, California, this museum celebrates the wonders of the local natural history of land and sea, culture, and the cosmos. Available for families and field trips, with specimens and books available for schools to check out.
Seeds of Awareness
This community resource offers summer camp programs for neurodiverse children, in-school mindfulness training, counseling, and more in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sudbury Valley School
Located in Framingham, Massachusetts, Sudbury Valley School exists to allow children to pursue their own interests, each at their own pace. Ages preschool through high school intermingle with staff, who are equal learners and members of the community.
The first "free" or democratic school in the United Kingdom.
Outdoor preschool classes for three- to five-year-olds and summer camps for six-year-olds in Fairfax, California.
Tree House Hollow Preschool
Nature-based preschool for ages two through five in Sebastopol, California.
Whole School Learning Project
This is the newest program for reinvigorating the schoolyard at Washington School in Berkeley, California. The schoolyard was initially transformed into the Environmental Schoolyard in the 1970s, changed back into a more traditional asphalt playground, and then once again brought back naturalistic features.
Wild Child Freeschool
Located in parks in various South Bay, California locations, Wild Child Freeschool offers a variety of programs of different lengths of time for children ages 5-15.
YES: Nature to Neighborhoods
"...There are no gunshots, only crickets."- Arlene, Age 8. This Richmond, California program connects children, adults, and families with nature and community.