Our Philosophy

Green Chimneys is founded on the philosophy that it is healthy and therapeutic for children to interact with nature and provides a treatment setting in which all interactions with staff and the environment have a potential therapeutic value. We strive to give students every opportunity to be a part of the environment, discover their own special talents, and develop the skills and confidence to grow into independent young adults.

We believe learning takes place both in and out of the classroom, and Green Chimneys School offers an enriched academic environment with a vast array of innovative programming, including life skills, music and art, animal-assisted activities, and outdoor education, all based in experiential learning.

  • Students participate in animal care, garden maintenance, adventure activities and diverse service projects.

  • Students participate in animal care, garden maintenance, adventure activities and diverse service projects.

  • Students participate in animal care, garden maintenance, adventure activities and diverse service projects.

Human-Animal Interactions and Outdoor Experiences Help Children Develop Critical Skills

Our renowned nature-based programs encompass animal-assisted therapy, horticultural activities, humane education, ecological study and sustainable agriculture education. Students participate in animal care, garden maintenance, adventure activities and diverse service projects. Over time, these human-animal interactions and outdoor experiences help children develop critical skills:

  • Trust
  • Self-esteem
  • Empathy
  • Emotional regulation
  • Responsibility
  • Positive social interaction
  • Cooperation
  • Goal attainment

We also believe family connections are essential to treatment and growth. Parents/caregivers are viewed as the experts on their children – knowing what their challenges and strengths are, what works for them and what they hope for them. Families are expected to see their children frequently, take part in treatment planning and counseling sessions, attend workshops/retreats and provide guidance as to what their children need to be successful.

Gracie & Reba

Donkeys Gracie and Reba have been residents of the farm since 1996 and are particularly valuable partners for the children because they offer immediate feedback on behavior. They are patient, shy and headstrong but because donkeys only acknowledge humans who appear calm, this pair helps children learn the skills necessary to approach them gently and quietly. Gracie and Reba also have an extraordinary bond and have difficulty being apart so students must keep this in mind, even for basic tasks such as walking them. If the donkeys lose sight of each other they will start calling to one another so students work together to make sure the pair can see each other for their entire journey outside.