Santa Cruz County Office of Education Photo montage
Educational Services Division

Residential Outdoor Science School Program


Outdoor Science School Feature, "Outdoor Science School collaborates with UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science"

Outdoor Science School Feature, "Learning Comes Alive in the Redwoods"

Outdoor Science School Feature, "Redwood Forest Comes Alive with the Winter Rains"

At the Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School, fifth and sixth grade students experience a four- or five-day residential, hands-on science program. Students focus on investigating the rich coastal redwood forest ecosystem that surrounds our coastal community.

During field class, students study the forest, meadows, and streams with a qualified naturalist. Through the use of science inquiry, games, and other activities, naturalists teach ecological concepts. Children see the interrelationships between plants and animals and learn about the effect they, as people, have on the environment. A richer understanding of their natural surroundings helps prepare them for the mature decisions they will make as adults.

Mission Statement:

Residential Outdoor Science School promotes care for self, others and the natural world upon which our survival depends. We are committed to a safe and stimulating educational environment that nurtures an inquisitive mind.

We Believe That:

  • Each student attending the Residential Outdoor Science School will develop valuable understanding of and appreciation for their environment and will begin to acquire informed attitudes concerning the conservation of natural and human resources;
  • The use of the out-of-doors as a learning laboratory will complement and enhance classroom learning in the areas of science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, art, and physical education;
  • Each student will develop their sensory skills enabling them to more closely observe and accurately identify the components of the universe;
  • The Outdoor School program provides first hand experiences with the interrelationships and adaptations found in the natural environment; the dynamics of energy, cycles and systems of change; and our dependency on and responsibility for the environment;
  • Socially, each student will make new friends, be responsible for their own behavior and the consequences of choices made, and will experience healthful and democratic living where the sharing of essential responsibilities is expected;
  • Students will develop self confidence, respect for themselves, and an increased understanding of and respect for cultural differences as a result of small group living;
  • Each student will experience the joy that can be derived from pleasurable activities in the out-of- doors;
  • The Outdoor School program will develop informed citizens who will influence future legislation to conserve our natural resources and preserve the quality of the environment.
  • We support teachers in their endeavor to meet California State Science Standards; and, we provide a unique learning environment for each teacher to observe their student in a new light.


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Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.