The owner of One Acre Farm, Catherine Griffin, is among the many animals that reside there. (Wesley Gardner/Community Impact Journal)
When discussing the methods of teaching her students, Catherine Griffin said she always thought outside the box.
Griffin, who has owned and operated One Acre Farm in Porter for 22 years, is a certified teacher in Texas. His students, however, do not sit at indoor desks all day. Instead, they learn through hands-on lessons conducted outdoors among gardens and livestock scattered across the property.
“As teachers and parents, let’s not think everything has to be done at a table or in a chair,” Griffin said, noting that she had used the method in homeschooling her own children before the start. opening of the school. “[My children’s] the interest was in the horses. … They could learn mathematics with horses. They could learn biology with the horses. They could do science.
Griffin originally opened One Acre Farm as an interactive outdoor learning environment for homeschooled children, but the nonprofit has since grown into an educational farm offering classes and workshops for all ages. ages. Although the farm does not have set hours of operation, events and classes are listed on the nonprofit organization’s website.
In 2016, the farm began offering specialized sessions for children with autism. Now, all classes on offer are all-abilities, apart from a sensory Sunday class exclusively for people with autism.
Griffin first came up with the idea of offering classes to people on the spectrum after listening to a presentation by Rupert Isaacson, a former British professional horse trainer who developed several therapy methods for his autistic son.
She said she realized that her teaching methods at One Acre Farm were very similar to the methods Isaacson was talking about, which focused on providing physical environments aimed at calming the nervous system and giving people with autism the ability to move freely while learning.
Griffin said she’s seen great improvements in the autistic children she’s worked with, noting that she’s been pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the transition from welcoming students of all abilities to the farm has been.
“Society today is much more tolerant than when I was a kid,” she said. “There is no such stigma.”
More than anything, Griffin said she loved seeing her students’ smiling faces as they learned.
“I’m a lifelong learner,” Griffin said. “I always want to encourage children to be happy, to play, to explore and to be curious about everything.”
One acre farm
3416 Magnolia Drive, Doorman
Hours: See website for events and class times