Public & Summer Programs

Programs Overview

Public Programs run year round.
Farm educators engage their students in agriculture/environmental activities and games, teach them how to be a farmer by participating in farm operations. and promote unstructured free-play.
We find that farm education teaches kids, and adults alike, the importance of social and physical competence with team work/collaboration, exploration, problem solving, and real farm work that connects people to their food!

Current NCOF Members at the Crofter level ($125) and above automatically save 20% on public program fees at checkout. Membership lasts a full year. All public program and membership registrations take place online in our online registration system.

  • ALL PROGRAMS ARE HELD OUTDOORS! Please ensure your child is dressed for the weather.
  • Weather Alerts: If Natick school cancels, we will cancel. If there is a delayed opening for Natick Schools we will ONLY run our afternoon programs
  • Click each season session to see program offerings in the drop down!

Seasonal Programming

  • Enrollment on our registration site opened November 1, 2020.
  • To see program times, please visit our registration site.
  • Note: If you’d like to sign your child up for back to back programming, we will have educators bring and drop them off to each program so parents do not need to come back in between. We will only accommodate this need when the program times are within 5 min of each other.
  • Note: Afterschool Farmers and Afterschool in the Woods programs that require pick up from the memorial school will need to email [email protected] with the pick up schedule. $20 for each pick up, we will arrange an invoice before programs start.

Afterschool Farmers (grades K-4) Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays
This program will involve students in our everyday Farm operations and chores. The afterschool farmers have the advantage to participate in farm operations and learning activities when time allows. Drop off program.

Afterschool in the Woods (grades k-4) Wednesdays
Let’s reclaim our woods for afternoon play and exploration. There will be time for hikes and activities. Drop off program.

Early Morning Drop Off, Mondays-Thursdays
Join us at the Farm for our new Early Morning Drop Off Program! We will do various fun, outdoor Farm activities, such as feeding an animal or taking a hike into the forest before the start of the school day. Drop off is at 7:30 am – we will walk Memorial students over to school at 8:30 am.

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 5-10) Tuesdays & Thursdays
Throughout the school year we will offer a Tuesday and Thursday morning for elementary aged homeschoolers at the Farm. Each morning the children will be involved in our everyday Farm operations, from animal chores to harvesting, and will indulge in farm learning activities, such as crafts and building. Over the course of the year children will get a deep insight into all aspects on a Farm. Drop off program.

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 11-14) Monday & Wednesdays
This opportunity for middle-school-aged youth is all about working together to solve problems creatively and to contribute meaningfully to the Farm’s mission. These intrepid students participate in every aspect of the farming seasons, from harvesting in the fall, to sugaring in the winter, to planting in the spring. Each group will have their own project they come up , from market stand products, to new benches for the farm, etc. Join us in growing people while growing food! Drop off program.

Youth Work Experience (grades 5-8) Mondays – Thursdays
We are inviting middle-school students to join Farm staff after school to take care of the animals and help with maintenance. During the winter months these youths will get an up close and personal experience with our maple sugaring operations. Drop off program.

Woodland Adventures (Ages 3-5) Tuesdays & Thursdays (K-2nd)
Spend some time in the forest, where free play is the order of the day, and where exploration and imagination guide the activities! This is a drop off program with general farm/animal interactions.

Fridays on the Farm (Ages 3-5) Fridays
Wake the animals up, help the Farmers give water and food to the animals, and gather eggs. Then spend some time in the forest, where free play is encouraged! Drop off program.

Chore Time (Ages 4-6) Mondays and Wednesdays
Come down to the Farm and wake up the animals. Help the farmers feed and give water and gather the eggs. Drop off program.

Farm Crafts (Ages 3-5) Mondays and Wednesdays
We are looking for little hands to help us make fun, farm crafts in the morning. We will harvest materials and learn new creative ways to craft! Drop off program.

Hop With The Bunnies (Ages 3-5) Mondays & Wednesdays
Spend some time each week learning about these warm, fuzzy little creatures, as well as the other animals on the farm. Learn how they live in the wild and how we care for them at home and on the farm! Drop off program.

Farm Learning Workshop (Ages 6+) Mondays and Wednesdays
Join us for workshops on weekly topics related to the farm. In these workshops, participants can learn about taking care of livestock, composting, gardening, scout skills, wood working, and best farming practices! These workshops are ideal for hands on experience. Drop off program.

Outdoor Explore & Play (Ages 1.5-3, w/ caregiver) Mondays & Wednesdays
(Masks are not required for kids in this program 2 years or younger.) Come down to the Farm and wake up the animals, sing songs, hear a story! NCOF is a great space for play time.

  • Enrollment on our registration site opened January 31.
  • Note: If you’d like to sign your child up for back to back programming, we will have educators bring and drop them off to each program so parents do not need to come back in between. We will only accommodate this need when the program times are within 5 min of each other.
  • Note: Afterschool Farmers and Afterchool in the Woods programs that require pick up from the memorial school will need to email [email protected] with the pick up schedule. $20 for each pick up, we will arrange an invoice before programs start.
  • Refund deadline: 2/15/2021

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Afterschool Farmers (grades K-4) Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays 2-4pm
This program will involve students in our everyday Farm operations and chores. The afterschool farmers have the advantage to participate in farm operations and learning activities when time allows. Drop off program.

Afterschool in the Woods (grades k-4) Wednesdays 2-4pm
Let’s reclaim our woods for afternoon play and exploration. There will be time for hikes and activities. Drop off program.

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 5-10) Tuesdays & Thursdays 9-12pm
Throughout the school year we will offer a Tuesday and Thursday morning for elementary aged homeschoolers at the Farm. Each morning the children will be involved in our everyday Farm operations, from animal chores to harvesting, and will indulge in farm learning activities, such as crafts and building. Over the course of the year children will get a deep insight into all aspects on a Farm. Drop off program.

Farming for Homeschoolers (ages 11-14) Monday & Wednesdays 8:30-2pm
This opportunity for middle-school-aged youth is all about working together to solve problems creatively and to contribute meaningfully to the Farm’s mission. These intrepid students participate in every aspect of the farming seasons, from harvesting in the fall, to sugaring in the winter, to planting in the spring. Each group will have their own project they come up , from market stand products, to new benches for the farm, etc. Join us in growing people while growing food! Drop off program.

Youth Work Experience (grades 5-8) Mondays – Thursdays 3-4:30
We are inviting middle-school students to join Farm staff after school to take care of the animals and help with maintenance. During the winter months these youths will get an up close and personal experience with our maple sugaring operations. Drop off program.

Woodland Adventures (Ages 3-5) Tuesdays & Thursdays (K-2nd) 1-4pm
Spend some time in the forest, where free play is the order of the day, and where exploration and imagination guide the activities! This is a drop off program with general farm/animal interactions.

Fridays on the Farm (Ages 3-5) Fridays 9-12pm
Wake the animals up, help the Farmers give water and food to the animals, and gather eggs. Then spend some time in the forest, where free play is encouraged! Drop off program.

Chore Time (Ages 4-6) Mondays and Wednesdays 9-9:50
Come down to the Farm and wake up the animals. Help the farmers feed and give water and gather the eggs. Drop off program.

Little Hands in the Soil (Ages 3-5) Mondays and Wednesdays 10-11am
We are looking for little hands to help us tend to our gardens! Kids in this program will engage in farming with hands on gardening activities and crafts. Drop off program.

Hop With The Bunnies (Ages 3-5) Mondays & Wednesdays 11-12pm
Spend some time each week learning about these warm, fuzzy little creatures, as well as the other animals on the farm. Learn how they live in the wild and how we care for them at home and on the farm! Drop off program.

Farm Learning Workshop (Ages 6+) Mondays and Wednesdays 1-4pm
Join us for workshops on weekly topics related to the farm. In these workshops, participants can learn about taking care of livestock, composting, gardening, scout skills, wood working, and best farming practices! These workshops are ideal for hands on experience. Drop off program.

Outdoor Explore & Play (Ages 1.5-3, w/ caregiver) Mondays & Wednesdays 9-9:50am
(Masks are not required for kids in this program 2 years or younger.) Come down to the Farm and wake up the animals, sing songs, hear a story! NCOF is a great space for play time.

  • Priority registration for Summer opened on Jan 15 for members Crofter level and up only.
  • General public registration will open on Feb 15.
  • By week: M-Thu AM and PM sessions, June 14 – August 20.
  • Refunds are accepted through June 1.
  • Refunds, cancellations, and changes to program registrations can be made at no cost within 5 business days of registration. After 5 business days and before the June 1 deadline, changes will be subject to a $25 fee. During the Summer, no refunds will be granted after June 1 for cancellations or changes.

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Early Morning Drop Off (Ages 3-7) 8:30-9am

Early drop off for families that have split program times. If you’ve got a kid in a 9am start and an 8:30am start, register for this session to drop everyone off at 8:30am. Activities will vary from crafts to light farm projects.

Budding Farmers (Ages 4-5) 9-12pm & 1-4pm

The day of a Budding Farmer is filled with exploration and imagination. As our youngest group on the farm, Budding Farmers discover this fascinating place with all five senses. Children taste a variety of vegetables for the first time, listen like bunnies in a rabbit circle, and feel the rough tongue of the cow licking grain from their hands. Guided by farm educators, expect your child to build their powers of observation while immersing themselves in the farm landscape.

Forest Explorers (Ages 3-5) 9-12pm

With the Forest Explorers, children discover the woods as a place of magic and make-believe through song, play, and storytelling. What’s behind that tree? What’s under that rock? What’s around the trail bend? These questions, when infused with a sense of adventure, make each day a truly epic day in the woods. Build a fort, bake a mud-pie, make a leaf collage, or splash in the pond. Each week, the Forest Explorers fill the woods with wonder and laughter in the morning.

Growing Farmers (Ages 8-9) 8:30-12pm & 1-4:30pm

Growing Farmers are ready to be part of the farm. Whether it’s making some mint tea after weeding a fence line, singing a song while stacking some wood, or holding the second annual Forest Stream Regatta, these youngsters experience the breadth and depth of farm life. Through work, through play, Growing Farmers discover what they can do, learn, and become in the potential of the farm has to bring.

Young Farmers (Ages 6-7) 9-12pm & 1-4pm

The day of a Young Farmer is filled with creativity and discovery. They discover that they can create works of art through found material and, hopefully, discover that the Farm just wouldn’t be quite the same without them. Who would wash the sap buckets? Who would gather rocks from the chicken pastures? Who would help the Farmers unearth lost potatoes in the lower field? These kids get their hands dirty turning the Farm into their classroom, stage, and playground.

Woodland Wanderers (Ages 4-7) 1-4pm

For the kids who love to wander, whittle, and build out in the woods. This afternoon program is out in the Forest, like the morning Forest Explorers, but is geared for kids who are a little older. We will hike, explore, and try out some basic primitive skills in our beautiful forested area adjacent to the Farm. PM session only.

Jr Working Farmers (Ages 10-11) 8:30-12pm & 1-4:30pm

The Junior Working Farmer program is for kids ready to have fun while doing good work. This can-do team and the work they do touches all aspects of farm life. One day they are carpenters, fixing a sticky gate. The next day they might be engineers finding the gradient for a storm drain. And everyday they curate and polish the market stand. Each day brings something exciting and new, new problems to solve, new opportunities for creativity. The Junior Working Farmers is a great chance for kids to learn all things farming!

Working Farmers (Ages 12-15) 8:30-12pm & 1-4:30pm

The Working Farmer program is a learn by doing experience. As Working Farmers kids become agricultural juggernauts, powering every dimension of the growing process. Seeding, weeding, cultivating, harvesting, selling- they are hands on at every step. Working right alongside our expert growers, kids learn where their food comes from and how to grow it. Throughout the summer, this team develops the skills and the confidence to run the farm and have a blast while doing it. So get ready to roll up your sleeves!

  • Registration open now!
  • Please remember to pack a snack and dress for the weather.
  • Refunds accepted through 1/31

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We are welcoming 3-5 year olds on the farm for our new farm program for preschoolers! These little farmers will explore the farm with daily animal interactions, and will learn about our fields and forest through learning activities. Farm Educators prepare learning experiences with fun games and short lessons to enrich participants wonder of farming. In addition to farm learning, participants will have free time in their very own play space, which allows their imaginations to flourish! This program runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-12pm.

Highlights:

The model of this program encourages social/emotional best practices with child-led free play. This means we have a general structure to the day, however the children are free to play in their space, which changes based on the seasons. The little farmers are outside for the whole program, in all weather, as we believe nature is our best teacher, and educators spend their time guiding unstructured free-play for the children’s physical, personal, and social development growth.

  1. Two teachers for each group
  2. Play-based philosophy education
  3. Range in ages respect development differences
  4. Fostering a connection with agriculture

February Vacation Explorers (Ages 3-5) Feb 16-19, 9-12pm & 1-4pm

Experience the Forest in winter. Little ones will engage in free play in our woods playground space each morning of February vacation, where they can explore their creative imaginations.

February Vacation Farmers (Ages 5-10) Feb 16-19, 9-12p & 1-4pm

Experience the Farm in winter. Care for the animals, enjoy the warmth of the greenhouse, learn winter crafts, make yummy treats and explore winter in the woods. You’ll be part of the opening maple sugaring season. Help tap the sugar maples if the weather is right.

February Vacation Work Experience (Ages 11-14 & 7-12) Feb 16-19, 8:30-12pm & 1-4:30pm

Middle school students are invited to join the Farm staff during February vacation to help with our maple sugaring operation, work in the greenhouses, care for the animals and their new arrivals, and help with maintenance.

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Refund deadline: 1/31/2021

Program Meeting Spot
Youth Work Experience Gazebo
Homeschool – Middle Picnic Tables, Left of Barn
Homeschool – Elem. Gazebo
Hoppin’ on the Farm Front Bushes, Farmhouse
Woodland Adventures Picnic Tables/Left of Barn
Afterschool on the Farm Apple Tree
Afterschool in the Woods Woods Entrance
Chore Time Barn Entrance
Learning Workshop Barn Entrance
Little Hands in the Soil Barn Entrance
Friday on the Farm Gazebo
Outdoor Explore & Play Front Bushes, Farmhouse
Early Morning Drop Off Picnic Tables/Left of Barn
Farm Sprouts Woods Entrance

Testimonials

“I have been meaning to write for months, really ever since my 4 year old son, A., finished up 5 weeks of the Budding Farmer program (or farm camp, as we fondly called it) … Everyday he was full of enthusiastic stories,what he’d found in the woods, the animals he’d cared for, the bee stings he’d bravely endured! He talked more about farm camp (and with more enthusiasm) than he has about any school, camp, or class he has ever done. Part of that is because of him and what he loves/feels connected to. But most of that is because of you and the wonderful programs you run. Please know how grateful A. and our whole family is for the important work that you do on the farm.” A.L., Parent

“My son participated in the April Vacation program and absolutely LOVED it.  He is five and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but he came home each day saying, “Camp at the Farm was AWESOME.” with two thumbs up and wants to return every afternoon after his sister naps. ” S.L., Parent

“My son Greg is LOVING the Wednesday in the Woods program. He comes home so excited about new things he’s learned and explored. I can’t tell you how much we rave about the program!!” M.P., Parent

At Home Activities

Bring the farm to you with our at home activities for kids of all ages!

Questions?

If you have questions regarding programs, enrollment, registration, or policies email [email protected]

 

  • Refunds for Spring 2021 will be issued until February 15. No other refunds unless NCOF cancels programs, outside of weather cancellation.

Holidays and Days Off

New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, February School Vacation Week, Presidents Day, Patriots Days, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the week of Dec 28

Program Information

Learn about our Covid Response, behavior, weather, and other policies, and Farm FAQs for all NCOF programs.