Nature-Based Approach to Behavioral and Emotional Support at Green Chimneys School
Green Chimneys provides students with special needs a supportive, nature-based environment.
Serving children in need of a higher level of support, both academic and clinical, Green Chimneys is an accredited special education program for students in grades K-12 who benefit from a highly structured and supportive setting. Therapeutic day and residential programs include an enriched curriculum for individualized academic, behavioral and emotional support, based in experiential learning. An innovative nature-based approach integrates animal-assisted activities, horticulture and outdoor exploration into treatment and education programs for enhanced learning and development.
Green Chimneys’ philosophy is based on the belief that, if children are given a chance to explore and discover their inherent strengths in a safe and structured nature-based environment, their self-esteem, coping and social skills will improve. The concept of an enriched treatment setting that brings people together with animals and plants in a mutually beneficial relationship lies at the foundation of the therapeutic school and treatment center’s approach.
Animals and nature help to put people at ease, allowing personalities or preferences to emerge, and lead to meaningful conversations and ways to address so many different challenges. Some children are reluctant to get close to a horse; others have no hesitation in petting a goat. You can observe if a child listens to adults while walking in the barn, if they follow instructions, or if they are unwilling to communicate at all.
These subtle observations help to lay the foundation for an individualized approach, which informs the therapeutic and education plans that guide the student, family, and treatment team. Students build on strengths and learn new skills through activities in animal care, horticulture, and nature exploration as they gain better understanding of themselves and the world around them. With full support from certified special education professionals and skilled clinicians, students find success in school and in their relationships with peers and family, as they pave a path for their future.