Nature and Animals


Register for Classes Online

Registration opens Tuesday July 18th at 10:00am!

Before registering, please read and understand our refund and discount policies.

Questions about our hot/wet weather policies?  Read our Rain or Shine suggestions for more information about how we embrace exposure and the elements.


We are inspired to provide nature immersion programs that create a deep sense of place and nature connection in the next generation of global stewards.

We strive for multi-faceted learning experiences. When we make cheese one child may be learning the fine motor skill of juicing a lemon, while another is inspired by the simple chemistry of cheese curdling, and still another is navigating social skills and teamwork within the group. Each of these lessons is valuable and whenever possible, recognized with positive reinforcement. Small group size allows adequate space for each child to create their own experience, and every aspect of their experience has a lesson within it.

We touch, smell, listen to, and taste our lessons. Free exploration in nature, facilitated by an experienced mentor, provides the most fertile ground for teachable moments and developing a child’s connection with nature. We allow for this in our curriculum by ensuring that we do not schedule every minute of the day. The most important and lasting lessons of the day are often unplanned, when both the instructor and children are simply following their delight and curiosity down a gopher hole.

We manage risk by increasing our awareness of the world around us. Our instructors are highly experienced professional outdoor educators with outstanding safety records who are committed to safely engaging students in nature. We encourage children to run and climb trees when appropriate, and prefer to guide them with safe strategies for negotiating risks, rather than eliminating risks altogether. We understand that when a child leaves camp with a scraped knee and a smile they have experienced a valuable lesson, and we expect the same understanding from our students’ parents.

 


CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:


Let’s Play at the Ranch

Grade: Preschool & PreK (ages 3-4), with accompanying adult caregiver

Class Size: 6 students and their caregivers

Class Duration: 75 minutes

Class Tuition: $170/8-week session

Children and their caregivers will love this opportunity for a weekly visit to Sienna Ranch together. Each week will offer new wonders as you experience the ranch and her residents with the change of the seasons. Gardening, harvesting, crafting, and animal interactions will make up our weekly routine.

 Note: an infant sibling that is able to be happily worn by the parent/guardian for the full 75 minutes may attend Let’s Play at the Ranch at no extra charge.  We ask that other siblings, extra adults or visitors choose Family Day or another program to attend, as Let’s Play at the Ranch is designed for one student and one caretaker per registration. 

Junior Ranchers

Grades: PreK, Kindergarten and 1st (PreK = at least 4 years old as of September 1, 2017)

Class Size: 8 students

Class Duration: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Class Tuition: $366/8-week session

A unique program designed for this special age when everything is exciting and magical. Junior Ranchers will love getting to know the ranch animals, discovering our garden, making nature themed crafts, and enjoying unstructured nature play, exploration, and observation. In addition, each session will feature an opportunity to groom the pony, try out archery, and make a wood craft in our carpentry workshop.

 Note: Junior Ranchers must be able to use the restroom independently. 

 

Explorers

Grades: 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th and 5th-6th

Class Size: max. 10 students per class

Class Duration: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Class Tuition: $355/8-week session

The Sienna Ranch Explorers program develops a deep connection to the natural world by offering fun, exciting and diverse outdoor experiences. Our core activities include hiking, survival skills, animal interaction, wild tending, homesteading skills, gardening, cooking, nature based crafts, games, unstructured nature play, exploration, observation, and one field trip per session.

Each session we offer the opportunity to earn a Sienna Ranch Certification Badge. Certification Badges are a fun and non-competitive way to focus our explorations, and to delve deeper into topics such as first aid, knife skills, oak tree care, and much more. We will take a little time each week to build the skills and knowledge required to earn the session’s Badge. Certification topics rotate on a three year cycle.  You may join at any part of the cycle — classes start every 8 weeks during the school year.


School Year Online Tools

2017-18 School Year Wait List Report a Planned Absence Here

EXTENSION CLASSES:


Make your day at Sienna Ranch last a little longer! Extensions are 1 hour in duration and directly precede or follow Explorers and Junior Ranchers classes. Our staff will guide children from one class to the next in order to ensure a smooth transition. You can register for Extension Classes during the class registration process.

Note: not all extensions available all days

Ranch Connection

Grade (as of September 2017): PreK-2nd and 3rd-6th 

Class Size: 20 students max (2 instructors leading separate age brackets)

Class Duration: 1 hour, offered Tuesdays or Thursdays

Class Tuition: $88/8-week session

Ranch Connection is a great way to dig in and feel more connected to daily life on the Ranch! We will have time to rest and enjoy any remaining snack or lunch before getting to work working in the food forest, animals, or program zones.  Seasonal projects might also involve cooking from the educational garden.

 

Archery Extension

Grade (as of September 2017): 3rd-6th 

Class Size: 8 students

Class Duration: 1 hour, offered Fridays only

Class Tuition: $129/8-week session

Explorers students, 3rd grade and up, have an opportunity to add one hour of archery class to their Explorers program.  Archery Extension is only available Fridays and requires enrollment in a Friday AM Explorers in order to attend. See more info about our Archery Program on the Archery page of the website.

 

Gardening Extension 

Grade (as of September 2017): PreK-2nd, 3rd-6th

Class Size: 8 students in the PreK-2nd class, 10 students max in the 3rd-6th class (2 separate classes)

Class Duration: 1 hour, offered Fridays

Class Tuition: $88/8-week session

Work with our Garden Staff to turn the compost piles that nourish our educational garden, sheet mulch, sow and tend seedlings in the greenhouse, transplant and weed of our many organic garden beds, and more!  Gardening extension students will also help with preparing any seasonal harvests to help fill the Sienna Ranch Farm Stand.  Dig in the dirt and have fun learning the rain or shine importance of connecting to the heart of our ranch.  We might cook from the garden a few times too!

 

Junior Woodworking Extension

Grade (as of September 2017): PreK-2nd 

Class Size: 6 students

Class Duration: 1 hour

Class Tuition: $129/8-week session

Explorers and Junior Ranchers students grades PreK-2nd, have an opportunity to add one hour of woodworking class to their day. Woodworking Extension is offered on Fridays only and requires enrollment in a Friday morning program to attend. See more info about our Woodshop Program here.

 

Pottery Extension

Grade (as of September 2017): 5th-9th 

Class Size: 8 students

Class Duration: 1 hour, offered Fridays only

Class Tuition: $88/8-week session

Pottery students will learn basic hand building techniques while drawing inspiration from the natural landscape and ranch life surrounding us. We will touch upon elements of design, texture, balance, and fundamentals of construction and glaze application.  Any level of clay experience is welcome. Projects will be designed to cumulatively build skills and inspire creativity. Pottery Extension is offered Fridays only and requires enrollment in Friday AM Explorers (Grades 5-6) or Nature Sages (Grades 7-9).  See more info about our Pottery Program here.


2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR REGISTRATION INFORMATION


Classes are eight weeks long.  Join us for one session, or register for the full year.

Registration opens Tuesday July 18th!

Before registering, please read and understand our refund and discount policies.

2017-18 School Year Dates

Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4
Sep 4-Oct 29 Oct 30-Jan 14 Jan 15-Mar 11 March 26-May 27
no class: 11/20-26; 12/18-12/31  no class: 4/2-8

FAQ


What does a typical day in the Nature Programs look like?

Every day of our nature programs is a new adventure, but each day you can expect some of the following components:

  • Gratitude Circle and Nature News
  • Group Game
  • Animal Visits and/or Garden Time
  • Snack Time & unstructured Nature Play
  • Focused Activity (eg: shelter building, making goat cheese, soapstone carving)
  • Nature Exploration Hike
  • Closing circle

 

What is ‘unstructured nature play’?

Unstructured nature play is a cornerstone of our philosophy of nature connection. Our experience indicates that allowing children the time for imaginative play outside is key to establishing a sense of place in nature. Unstructured nature play is a time for our instructors to closely observe their students, gently guide them and mentor them as they explore the world around them on their own terms. Authors such as Richard Louv and John Young have written extensively on this topic and have greatly influenced our pedagogy.

 

I heard Explorers used to go on field trips…

The Explorers program used to have one off site field trip per session, scheduled on the fifth class of each session. Field trips were located within 15 minutes from Sienna Ranch. The offsite field trip was a great opportunity to learn and experience a different ecology and landscape from the Ranch.

As of Fall 2015

With site improvements like the food forest, hobbit hole, expanding educational garden and more, we now are excited to remain on site all 8 weeks of the session and diversify our student experience without the additional logistics of relocating program off site.  Extension classes will run all 8 weeks of the quarter, and no more need to stagger dropoff for Middle School Science or Junior Ranchers siblings.

 

What about the weather?

All Sienna Ranch classes are held rain or shine. Experiencing the elements is an integral part of nature education, and we believe it is healthy for children to sometimes feel wet or cold. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Please send your child prepared!

 

What about children with special behavior needs?

Sienna Ranch staff and facilities are not equipped to safely accommodate the special needs of children who have emotional or behavioral exceptionalities. We expect our students to have age-appropriate impulse control, and to accurately follow verbal directions in an outdoor setting amongst plenty of distractions. Please call our office if you have any questions, we are always happy to spend the time ensure your child has a safe experience at the Ranch.

 

Can I choose the group my child will be in?

Our goal is to have cohesive groups who work well together and support one another’s ability to experience the full benefit of the program. When registering, consult any families you wish to be with and ask them to select the same day, time and grade level.  This will ensure you’re in the same group.  For classes with multiple sections, communicate with friends whether you’ve selected Class #1 or Class #2 to make sure children are with the same instructor.

We’re always happy to have older siblings or friends drop into younger groups if they wish to be together.  Please do not graduate younger students into older age groups.

 

Who are my instructors?

The instructors at Sienna Ranch are a key component of what makes our program unique. Our staff are outdoor education professionals with extensive experience mentoring children in nature, and many have attended distinguished instructor training programs and intensives. Above all, our instructors share a passion for facilitating positive learning experiences with youth in nature. Parents have reported that staff often leave a lasting impression on their children due to their care, creativity, positive communication, and enthusiasm.

Meet our staff.


School Year Online Tools

2017-18 School Year Wait List Report a Planned Absence Here

 

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