The Farm School: The Biggest Little School

2024-2025 enrollment is now open!

The Farm School is a nature-based homeschool bridge program for children in grades 1-5. The school is located at—and deeply integrated with—Apricot Lane Farms, a 234-acre certified organic & biodynamic farm in Moorpark, California.

“Apricot Lane Farm School is the school we all wished we’d been able to go to as kids. The light-filled school house atop a hill at the lush farm is a place to grow emotionally, intellectually and physically, all at each child’s own pace. It invites curiosity, inquisitiveness and playfulness. Our son is so joyful coming here to learn. Thank you.“

“The ALF Farm School has indeed been life-changing for our child. Before Farm School, our child was an engaged learner, but this unique, outdoor classroom has deepened his love of learning, inspired by nature and surrounded by the warm feeling of family on the Farm.”

“Our son made huge strides learning English, coming out of his shell socially and becoming more independent since going to Farm School. Most importantly, the big smile on his face at pick-up reassures me he is in a caring and supportive environment.”

NATURE-BASED EDUCATION

The Farm School is an expression of Apricot Lane Farms’ ethos, embracing the same principles that inform our approach to stewarding land and nurturing life on the farm. The farm is both our primary educator and our classroom; its rhythms set the pace for the students’ learning journeys. Each child is nurtured using a whole child education perspective to support their holistic development.

The Farm School classroom extends into the 234-acre farm, providing an engaging learning environment where children grow in connection with nature. Our Multiage Model facilitates a child-centered approach to learning, where the children’s curiosities and innate interests often inform their Inquiry-Based Learning. This real-world approach to education enables us to work with an evolving curriculum, inspired by the children’s relationship to their natural surroundings, as well as the seasonal rhythms of the farm. Class sizes are small, with a 1:6 student:teacher ratio.

The Farm School academic year is divided into three Learning Phases, each inspired by a Biodynamic principle, which establishes a rhythmic educational flow in tune with land’s cycles. Students take field trips to different locations on the farm 1-2 times per week (weather, time and curriculum permitting); learn from ALF Farm Team members who share their expertise; grow their own food; compost; and learn about seasonal, traditional foods cooking from farm founder Molly Chester – among many more learning opportunities.

The Farm School Enrollment Process

1. Farm School Registration Request

Please complete this form as a first step.

2. Virtual Interview

After submitting applications, prospective families will be invited to an online parent and student interview with The Farm School Lead Teacher. 

3. Farm School Visit

Following the virtual interview, prospective families will be invited to tour The Farm School. 

4. Register for the 2024/25 School Year

Prospective families will be invited to register. Families have one week to register and make an initial 50% deposit.

5. Students are enrolled for 24-25 School Year!  

PROGRAM TUITION & PAYMENT SCHEDULE

Early Bird Registration: Complete registration & pay 50% deposit by February 5th to save $1,000 on tuition expenses. 

 

 

Tuition is $22,000 for the academic year, plus $1,000 to cover the costs of resources to further enrich the program. A 50% down payment of tuition is due at enrollment, and the remaining balance is due by the first day of school (Monday, August 26, 2024).

 

 

Beyond access to this special 234-acre classroom, and all of the opportunities and experiences that come with learning on a Biodynamic farm, tuition includes a daily healthy whole foods morning snack from the farm, and weekly seasonal produce harvested from the farm for The Farm School. At this time, there are no scholarships available.

 

THE FARM SCHOOL LEARNING COMMUNITY 

The Farm School is integrated within a vibrant learning community. Families have access to join a parent-companion group, and are invited to attend regular parent gatherings. At the culmination of each Learning Phase, Farm School parents, extended family, friends, and Farm Team members are invited to partake in The Farm School students’ Gallery Walk. Here, Farm School students shine as they share their learnings, and showcase  their newfound knowledge and personal growth.

 

 

THE FARM SCHOOL RHYTHM & REQUIREMENTS

The Farm School students learn together on the farm Monday – Thursday from 8:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M., for a total of 145 school days, comprising the 2024/2025 school year (August-June). To meet state homeschooling requirements, families are responsible for supplementing their child’s Farm School education with 30 additional days of learning. The Farm School is not an accredited school, and at this time, cannot accommodate students with special needs who require additional support. Our goal is to work in partnership with you, the parents, on the holistic development of your child. Only families who can commit to the complete 2024/2025 school year, and partnering in the homeschooling responsibilities, should inquire.

 

 

SHAWNA SNOW, LEAD FARM SCHOOL EDUCATOR

Shawna is an educator by profession, a mastermind of ideas since birth, and a creator of experiences by passion. She’s been training and leading others into adventures and growth experiences for the past 25 years with the aim of seeing others grow and flourish so that they are more capable of helping others. She desires to be part of a world where everyone plays an active role.

She began as a volunteer during college working with children at her church, then became a middle school science teacher before moving to The Netherlands. She founded Reckoning, an Amsterdam based NGO in 2007, which has trained and equipped hundreds of students in the areas of personal leadership, entrepreneurship, and sustainable community development in farming and agriculture both in The Netherlands and in South Africa. Reckoning was awarded Most Innovative Social Transformation Initiative – North Holland & Best Art Education Workshop Provider – North Holland in 2017.

To help others grow and flourish, she’s acquired many great tools over the years. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Global Urban Leadership where she was trained and certified as a Professional Facilitator as well as certified in the foundations of Positive Psychology from Penn State University and a certification with the Arbinger Institute NL, not to mention the handy tools and resources from teaching and training others over the past 25 years. She has authored a book, and co-authored a personal leadership training workbook, ‘Creating a Playground for C.L.A.S.S.(character, leadership and social skills)’. The workbook was used to train children in character education and personal leadership using art-making and play. The Farm school will bring out her personal love for nature with the opportunity to weave learning and growing within the context of the natural world.

 

 

HEIDI TUNGSETH, FARM SCHOOL EDUCATOR

Heidi has been teaching in some capacity throughout her adult life, ranging from preschool to adult ESL and everything in between. She holds a Masters of Education and taught K-12 Visual Art in the public school system in MN before moving to Los Angeles to freelance across the arts, piano teaching and academic tutoring. When the pandemic hit, she built out a van to move across the country to work on a regenerative farm in Vermont. Heidi has volunteered in various countries around the world.

 

 

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