Upper Elementary: Ages 9–11 or Grades 4–6 (In-person)

We continue to find flexible and adaptive new ways to meet the needs of children and families during this pandemic. Our emphasis is on providing inquiry-based environmental and outdoor education programs for small groups, typically made up of no more than 10–12 individuals. Our programs, as always, are focused on learning from nature, but we are placing a heightened focus on meeting the need children have for unstructured time with their peers. It is essential to children’s social-emotional development and general sense of well-being to be able to play and be free outside with each other!

Programs may also be viewed in a calendar.

A note about registration: Many of our programs fill quickly, so we highly recommend registering on the waiting list. We go to this list first if a space opens up. And by adding your name, you can help us better plan for the programs that are in high demand.

Games in Nature Afterschool

Ages 9–11 or Grades 4–5
with Monya Relles
Mondays, March 22 – June 7 (no class April 19 or May 31)
Tier A-$275 | Tier B-$220 | Tier C-$165 | Tier D-$110


with Aemelia Thompson
Tuesdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm
March 23- June 8 (no class April 20)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$303 | Tier B-$242 | Tier C-$182  | Tier D-$121

Limited to 12 participants 

Hitchcock’s Nature Play Afterschool Program is designed to let kids be kids. Each week the group will spend time together beginning with games and move into nature play and free game building. Our Spring game days will begin with group games but a good part of the program will allow for exploring the world as it wakes from Winter. We’ll explore the wooded trails, get dirty, build forts, and play free in the woods. Structured games will focus on confidence building, leadership, communication, laughing. Free nature play will give individuals time to observe, experiment, and play, using the inspiration of the natural world. Our instructors provide a safe setting for children to explore nature and encourage children to stretch their limits.

Homeschool II: Outdoor Skills and Exploration Series

Ages 9–11 or Grades 4–6
Limited to 10 participants.

with Jeff Mazur
Tuesdays, 9:30am–12:30 pm
March 2–May 11 (no program April 20)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$563 | Tier B-$450 | Tier C-$338  | Tier D-$225


with Jeff Mazur
Thursdays, 9:30am–12:30pm
March 4–May 13, (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$563 | Tier B-$450 | Tier C-$338  | Tier D-$225

During this series, we will build our wilderness skills as we overcome challenges together. In our own survival story, we will need to develop skills to help us to survive, such as orienteering, fire building, shelter making, plant identification, and tracking. This class will also have time built in for free play, journal time and organized games. More than half of our sessions will require drop off and pick up at other locations within 20 minutes of the Hitchcock Center.

Art in the Forest Series

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 7–10 or Grades 2–4
Wednesdays, 10:00am–12:00pm
March 24 – June 9 (no class April 21)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$303  | Tier B-$242 | Tier C-$215  | Tier D-$121
Limited to 12 participants

The natural world has served as inspiration for artists of all varieties for all of humankind’s history. While surrounded by the undeniable beauty of the outdoors, children in the Art in the Forest program will be encouraged to develop awareness of the details in the natural world and learn how to utilize its beauty in artistic expression. Throughout the Spring we will welcome the world as it wakes up from Winter. We’ll paint budding flowers, make still life drawings, and sculpt with mud.  We’ll spend part of our time working together towards creating works of art and part free time in the woods, playing, talking and building community.

Girls into the Wild Series

with Katie Koerten
Ages 8–11 or Grades 3–5
Thursdays, 3:30-5:30pm
March 25 – June 10  (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$344 | Tier B-$275 | Tier C-$206  | Tier D-$138

with Monya Relles
Thursdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm
March 25 – June 10  (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$344 | Tier B-$275 | Tier C-$206  | Tier D-$138
Limited to 12 participants

Girls into the Wild continues in spring 2021 for more romping wildly through the field and forests of the Hitchcock Center. As always we’ll visit our favorite places to play in the forest, such as Stump City, the Ferns, and the Faraway Woods. Come build your confidence and show your wild side! 

April Vacation Days

Jumping Mice (Grades K-1) with Katie ; Limit 10
Brown Bats (Grades 2-3) with Monya; Limit 12
Groundhogs (Grades 4-5) with Aemelia; Limit 12
April 19-23, 10am-2pm

Fee per Child per day: Tier A-$55  | Tier B-$44 | Tier C-$33  | Tier D-$22
Fee per Child per Week: Tier A-$275  | Tier B-$220 | Tier C-$165  | Tier D-$110
*We strongly encourage signing the Jumping Mice age group up for all five days.  This will help group cohesion.*

Welcome Spring with our all-outdoor April Vacation Week. In order to maintain our policies of safety and care during this week, we will continue to offer outdoor only programs in lieu of our typical camp schedule.  This Spring the Hitchcock Center is involving a wider range of our valley in order to get kids outdoors and learning about the wonderful place we live. Each day we will offer a four hour program, running 10am-2pm, with a Hitchcock educator.

Our Jumping Mice group will explore different locations in the forest and fields near the Hitchcock Center.  Brown Bats and the Groundhogs will be at the Hitchcock Center and visiting some of our beloved nearby outdoor spaces. There will be two days where pick up and drop off will be somewhere other than the Hitchcock Center. Examples of places we might explore and play will be: the Horse Caves, Groff Park, The Hampshire College Woods, Amethyst Brook, and Buffam Falls.  Sign up for one day, two days, or them all!

COVID-19 Safety

Read our complete COVID-19 Program Participant Guidelines.

Our in-person programs will be held outdoors, even in the cold weather monthsOutdoor learning environments have been shown to be one of the safest ways to teach while  preventing the spread of COVID-19.  

Masks will be required at all times when social distancing (six feet apart) is not able to be maintained. This will continue until our local and state health officials say otherwise.

As much as our teaching approach is “hands-on,” we will be limiting touching and sharing. If any equipment or materials are needed as part of the program, we will provide participants with their own. All equipment and materials will be returned and individually disinfected at the end of the program.

Participants need to come prepared for all outdoor weather conditions. We suggest bringing a backpack with extra layers, including socks and hats, bottled water, and snacks, as well as insect repellent and sunscreen as-needed.


Given this time of financial hardship for our community and our organization, we are offering a new sliding scale fee structure aimed to provide greater flexibility in choosing a price that is right for you and your family.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment