School Programs

We listen to you, and we design each program specifically to fit your students, your
place, and your curriculum. We listen to students; inviting them to work alongside
our instructors to seek answers. We prioritize questioning. On a Kestrel
adventure, students wonder, investigate, record, process, and make sense of what
they find. Our instructors challenge students to look for the big picture, even
when it's a little messy and complicated. Students learn to construct knowledge of
the natural world from their personal experiences. They practice applying what
they've learned to new situations.

All of our programs focus on developing a sense of wonder, understanding and connection to the natural world through playful, outdoor, scientific inquiry. We offer both school and after school programs for Grades K - 12 with a special emphasis on elementary and middle schools.

Quick Download      School Program Booklet

Kestrel is the only nonprofit in Essex County dedicated exclusively to working with teachers and students, especially at the elementary school level, to improve science education by doing actual science in accordance with Next Generation Science Standards.

During our programs, students become scientists who conduct real science in the real world. Instead of delivering pre-determined, "canned" programs, we empower students to sharpen their inquiry skills by posing questions, seeking answers, and communicating results.

Kestrel believes – and research confirms – true authentic learning can only occur when students are given the freedom to construct complex ideas for themselves in ways that are deeply and uniquely personal. The result is a kind of tailor-made educational experience that creates real and lasting student growth.

When you partner with Kestrel, we work with you to:

  • Develop natural science programs designed to meet the specific needs, interests and abilities of your students. 
  • Choose field locations close at hand, often within walking distance, so you can return again and again. When getting outside is impossible, we'll bring the natural world right to your door. 
  • Link each age-appropriate lesson with the curricular standards adopted by your school. 

Our instructors are well-trained, experienced, professional educators, which means we never rely on canned or scripted lessons. Instead, we work with you to deliver memorable experiences that are always authentic and often totally spontaneous.  

Our unique approach to teaching and learning allows students to:

  • build sensory awareness skills
  • ask questions for themselves
  • strengthen critical thinking abilities
  • build meaningful constructs of the world around them
  • synthesize information across seemingly disparate disciplines and 
  • cultivate systems-thinking
  • connect more deeply with local wilds and local communities