The Learning Garden is for tasting, smelling, planting, watering, and harvesting. Children are an essential part of planning, planting, and caring for this garden!
The Farm is where most of the vegetables are grown. It is great to see (and help!) the farmers and the high school students who are working and learning. Our honeybees have hives here, too.
Our Farm Animals offer lots of opportunities for observation and for learning to interact gently with living things. Our year-round residents include chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, and sheep. Springtime brings baby chicks!
The Wetland is a magical spot to watch the seasons change. The water level goes up and down with the seasons, the natural spring changes from a trickle to a fast-running flow, and we can watch the cycle from eggs to tadpoles to frogs, who return in early spring to peep and call and leave new eggs of their own.
The Forest offers endless possibilities for play and exploration. On campus, we can build forts and have campfires at the Outdoor Classroom. On the trails in West Rock Park, we can visit Turtle Rock, wade in Wintergreen Brook, climb into Judges Cave, or take in the views from West Rock Summit.
The Farmhouse has a teaching kitchen where we can make delicious food from the farm, and a classroom we can use for activities if we need a break from challenging weather. Just outside the farmhouse, the Mud Kitchen is a favorite place for digging, playing with water, and mixing up some mud pies!
We share our campus with Common Ground High School, an environmentally themed public charter high school for 225 students in grades 9 – 12. While children’s programs have their own spaces and teachers, we all benefit from the shared campus and are part of the same organization. CGHS students join us for internships or volunteer opportunities and everyone enjoys the multi-age learning and leadership opportunities.
Our staff team
Our teachers are professional educators who bring a wealth of outdoor education knowledge to the program. They are a team who are ready to teach firecraft and beekeeping, cook over the campfire, read a story, help friends talk out a disagreement, join kids in sledding down hills, warm-up cold toes, and follow deer tracks through the woods.
Our team is a mix of full time and part time staff. Everyone at Common Ground is fully background checked, and as a team, we participate in ongoing professional development on a wide range of topics. We see ourselves as educators, and also as caregivers. We love sharing new knowledge, skills, and adventures with children, and also take very seriously our role in keeping children physically and emotionally safe and well cared for.