Woolman Outdoor School

The mission of the Woolman Outdoor School is to steward learning communities and groups to enhance and deepen their connection with the natural world. The outdoor school curriculum is aligned with the California State Science Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to support teachers in meeting their educational goals. We partner with instructors at Sierra Streams Institute to offer engaging, hands-on activities that integrate environmental science with a powerful connection to the natural world.  Our program engages students through hands-on and place-based learning while promoting critical thinking and creative problem-solving.  Evening programs include campfires, skits, night hikes, and astronomy.

In addition to academics, the Outdoor School provides a unique learning environment where students gain important social skills, responsibility, independence, and confidence.  Students take part in garden harvests, meal preparation, and clean ups, giving them an active role in providing for their community.

Our program caters itself to the needs of each participating school or organization. Our science curriculum is provided by Sierra Streams Institute, a watershed monitoring, research, environmental education, and restoration organization based on the Woolman campus and active in the Sierra Nevada foothill ecosystems.

A TYPICAL DAY AT OUTDOOR SCHOOL

7:00 Wake up/ Shower

7:45 Breakfast in Dining Hall

8:50 Morning Meeting and Songs

9:30 Exploration Activity (Freshwater Biology, Orienteering, Wilderness Skills, Forest Walk, Mindfulness/Community Building etc.)

11:15 Lunch

12:00 Community Chores and Free Time

1:00 Exploration Activity (Freshwater Biology, Orienteering, Wilderness Skills, Forest Walk, Mindfulness/Community Building etc.)

3:30 Snack

3:45 Exploration Activity (Freshwater Biology, Orienteering, Wilderness Skills, Forest Walk, Mindfulness/Community Building etc.)

5:00 Free Time

6:00 Dinner

6:45 Teacher Time

7:30 Evening Program (Campfire, Night Hike, Environmental Justice game, etc.)

9:00 Prepare for Bed

9:45 Lights Out

Community

The Woolman Outdoor School is not only a place for playing, exploring, and learning, but it is also a unique opportunity to be immersed in intentional community. Woolman’s programming and day-to-day scheduling are saturated with community work and shared responsibilities - however this is just the foundation. Community can only be built if done so by every individual involved. Our activities empower students to utilize collaboration for creative problem solving, our meals invite a sense of home, and our policies and Conflict Resolution methods respect each individual's needs and expectations.

Community Chores & Dish Crew

Throughout their time at Woolman, students, teachers, parent volunteers, and Woolman staff will participate in Community Chores together. Everyday for 15 minutes after Lunch, Chore Groups will do their part to help our campus run - and we’ll have fun too! We will sing and dance as we sweep cabin floors, tell jokes as we clean dishes, and skip around the campus as we pick up lost and found items.

These chores are done by everyone at Woolman Outdoor School - no matter what position. Together we keep our space clean and safe. Dish Crew is a particularly fun time for dancing around the Kitchen, perhaps blowing a few bubbles out of the sink, and racing to beat a previous clean-up time.

The Community Agreement

At Woolman we believe that each and every community member should be treated with respect, empathy, consideration, and openness. We do not use “Behavior Contracts” with students. Every group that comes to Woolman is unique, and we do not believe we can adequately create a list of policies and guidelines that will meet the needs of every group. Instead, we we want every individual who comes to Woolman to have agency over their actions and how they can positively live-in and contribute to their community.