One of the cornerstones of the developmentally based education at Ohlone Elementary School is the Ohlone Farm, which provides a place where children can interact with and learn about nature. A physical embodiment of Ohlone's Core Values, the Farm helps foster an awareness of the environment, nurturing and caring of animals, cooperative learning, social interactions between children of differing grades and respect for living organisms. Activities on the Farm help give children a sense of accomplishment and promote self-esteem, and allow for exploration and discovery in a peaceful, inviting, intellectually stimulating and safe environment.
Teachers Jana Littlefield and Bill Overton (now our principal) founded the Farm during the 1984-85 school year. The Farm is a unique facility that includes an organic vegetable garden, an orchard, a pumpkin patch, a CA native habitat with a pond, a greenhouse, a bee-hive, an animal area (sheep, goats and chickens), a greenhouse, a composting system, gardening and food preparation instructional areas and an outdoor science classroom. The Farm offers teachers and children a wealth of opportunities for hands-on practice of learning objectives in the sciences, arts, mathematics and social studies. Classes come out on a weekly basis and are instructed by the farm staff including the farm coordinator and the science teacher. Students may also visit the farm during a weekly Noon Farm hour.
The Farm owes its existence to the generous donations of resources and labor that are made by countless individuals throughout the year. It is overseen by the Farm Council, a group of parents and staff, which raises funds, recruits and trains animal care volunteers, maintains the infrastructure of the Farm and supports its teaching curriculum. Financially, the Farm relies entirely on private donations and project-specific grants. Produce and other products from the Farm are sold at an ongoing weekly fundraiser the Ohlone Farmers Market. The animals are cared for by families who volunteer time in the evenings, on weekends and during holidays through the animal care program. Physically, the Farm relies on constant contributions of time, attention, foresight, care, good humor and elbow grease by members of the Ohlone community during Farm workdays.