What IS Our Program?

Hooker Oak School's Alternative Program has provided quality educational experiences for children since 1973. It was started by Chico parents and educators who wanted a learning model that emphasized the development of the whole child. In 2005, this program expanded to include grades seven and eight to offer a seamless K-8 experience. The Hooker Oak K-8 structure allows the nurturing and support of all students in a personal, in-depth way for nine continuous years.  Continuity in curriculum, facilities, staff members and program means a seamless transition from elementary school to middle school at an important point in a student's academic career.  It is a unique opportunity to prepare for the rigors of high school and adjusting to a set of different teachers and changing classrooms throughout the day--in a familiar, supportive environment.

Hooker Oak creates a community of learning where teachers, students and parents are actively involved in the educational process. The Hooker Oak alternative program provides a unique opportunity for learning in a K-8 setting through the following:

  • An intimate learning community with close relationships to teachers, other adults and peers.
  • Current Technology
  • Creative Arts Program
  • Hands-on lessons and projects
  • Inventive explorations
  • Mentoring relationships with other children
  • Multi-aged learning opportunities
  • Strong academic achievement
  • Integrated curriculum through more than one content area
  • Attention to student learning styles and preferences
  • Individual and Social Responsibility
  • Individualized Instruction in Basic Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Self Concept Development which build Self Reliance and a Positive Learning Attitude
  • Problem Solving and Thinking Skills
  • A Rich and Stimulating Environment
  • Student Opportunity to Make Learning Choices

What are the origins of our program?

Thoughtful men from Aristotle to Robert Louis Stevenson have observed the exploratory nature of children, and in recent years a number of educators have considered the restructuring of traditional education in light of these observations. Jean Piaget, John Dewey, John Holt, William Glasser, Charles Silberman, Susan Isaacs, and others proposed a learning system which, as well as being concerned with the transmission of knowledge, also considered the manner in which children learn. The system was first implemented in England during World War II when traditional schooling was disrupted. Subsequently many classrooms across the United States have implemented the concepts of that are Hooker Oak.

What are the goals of the Hooker Oak Classroom?

Hooker Oak strives to provide an environment of responsibility and trust in which a child can interact with other children who are at different ages and stages of development, and one which offers many opportunities for acquiring knowledge. The goals of Hooker Oak reflect a concern with cognitive, affective and perceptual motor growth. Given the our program, it is assumed that each child will:

  • Increase in motivation to learn.
  • Increase interpersonal competence and awareness of the feelings of others.
  • Increase self-esteem and self-reliance.
  • Increase participation in creative endeavors, such as music, art, writing, inventions, and movement.
  • Increase communication skills.
  • Experience learning situations appropriate to the uniqueness of the individual.
  • Develop basic skills (reading, writing, speaking, mathematics) at a level commensurate with ability and readiness.
  • Use learning skills for problem solving in real life situations that have personal meaning and/or practical benefits.
  • Become acquainted with the richness of materials in the sciences and humanities.
  • Develop skills sufficient for a positive experience of learning in subsequent educational settings.
What are the basic learning concepts of our program?

Academic and Social Responsibility . Teachers and children establish classroom guidelines to nurture both academic and social responsibility. As readiness develops, children are empowered with more and more choice and responsibility for their own learning. The desired outcome is students with the ability to function independently and responsibly.

Group Interaction. Group interaction is used as a primary activity to stimulate learning, share information, learn social skills, develop self confidence and self concept, and develop social responsibility.

Facilitation of Learning . Many modalities are utilized to facilitate learning needs. Individual, small group and large group instruction occurs daily. Cross age tutors, instructional aides, parents and university volunteers make this style of teaching possible. Competition is discouraged. Rather, the child is encouraged to value quality for its own sake.
Integrated Curriculum. To accommodate learning needs and encourage child-centered activities, classroom curriculums frequently incorporate many subject areas and the use of current technologies.

What does the classroom look like when you walk in the door?

Each classroom is unique and contains equipment and materials arranged according to teacher preference and student interest. All are generally divided into academic areas, including a group meeting area, reading area, interest centers, creative arts area, computer center, writing area, and science/nature area. The shelves in the various areas are crammed with a multitude of learning materials and concrete items. The classroom is considered an open, flexible space that changes as units of study, student interests, and student needs change.

Upon entering the room, a visitor will see a variety of activities occurring, such as group discussion, small groups working cooperatively or each child doing something completely different - from quiet sitting and reading, to playing a game, to constructing a project. Group size may vary from 1 to 10 to 30 and may be teacher or child selected. Although the activities may vary and appear confusing, it is important to understand that there is a high degree of structure, organization and planning which makes the our system function effectively.

A Special Message to Parents

Parent volunteers, student teachers, university students and others from the community at large support the teachers in the classroom. Parents specifically support the classrooms by collecting materials, transporting children on field trips, assisting in classroom construction, aiding in the classroom, sharing special areas of expertise, planning for the overall program needs, and fund raising. Because parent support is essential to the success of the program, there is an expectation that parents will volunteer the equivalent of two hours per week per family in some way. Hours can be banked and spread out to meet the two hours per week requirements.