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What, Where, & How? 

Rock Tree Sky is not your typical school. Rock Tree Sky is many things - a Self-Directed Learning Community, a child-centered learning environment, a center for homeschool enrichment, a maker space, a loose parts playground... Young people, aged 3-18 at RTS are supported in their freedom to tinker, create, play, and engage in a variety of offerings that span a wide array of subject matter.


At its heart, Rock Tree Sky is a place where young people grow, learn, and explore with freedom to be their whole selves with the support of loving mentors. It is an interest-driven, relationship-rich, non-classroom learning community.


We know you're probably asking; What will your child do here? How does this happen? And where does it all take place?

What is the daily program like?

What We Offer

Put simply, a day in the life at Rock Tree Sky is different depending on the day. Since children are free to be the leaders of their own adventure, the range of activities one could explore throughout the week is vast. Mentors as well as specialists from the community offer a variety of seminars, projects, experiments, and skills. Kids have the freedom to opt into or out of offerings as they choose. Learners are also welcome to host offerings and explore, play, and experiment with the materials that have been strewn loosely about the space.


Some examples of what a learner could do at Rock Tree Sky may include (but are far from limited to) the following: 

  • Farm chores

  • Sculpting

  • Lego creating and play

  • Free play

  • Making music

  • Chaos tag

  • Storybook read aloud

  • Jewelry making

  • Gardening

  • Baking 

  • Free Write

  • Social justice discussions

  • Crafting

  • Natural Dyeing

  • Fantasy play

  • Gymnastics and dancing

  • Stop-motion animation

  • Game time

  • Letter writing

  • Bug hunting

  • Sewing

  • Bee keeping

  • Mind bending math puzzles

  • Bow-Making and Archery

  • Animal tracking

  • Fractions you can see

  • Physics experiments

  • Mini rocket launches

  • Poetry

  • Live Action Role Playing

  • Wood Shop

  • Community activism

  • Miniature model making

  • Electronics

  • Foraging

  • Creek walks

  • Book club

  • Fort building

  • Painting

  • Digital drawing

Daily Schedule

RTS offers programing option Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm.


Within that structure learners may sign up for one, two, or three days per week. Please note, most charter schools limit attendance at Rock Tree Sky to two days. If you are enrolled with a charter school, please refer to your charter school for any restrictions on days of attendance. 

Your child's schedule is set upon enrollment. We strongly request that families stick with that schedule (no swapping days!*). This is to support the learners in creating a culture and developing a community bond with their peers that regularly attend RTS together.  (*You will be charged a small fee if a change in scheduling does need to be made). 

What structure is there?

In a mixed age, self-directed setting, you might be wondering how RTS is able to provide the structure that children need to feel secure in their environment. Rock Tree Sky has a team of devoted mentors that do the work of holding the container for our learners to flourish. With such freedom and autonomy within our program, it is important to uphold some simple structures that support our learners as they navigate the richness of the dynamic community and campus culture. 

Our Three Agreements


Borrowed from from our friends at the Village Free School in Portland OR, Our Three Agreements are:


  • Take care of yourself

  • Take care of each other

  • Take care of the space around you


We request that all members of the RTS community agree to these upon arrival. These agreements are our tools for holding ourselves and others accountable for how we show up at Rock Tree Sky. If it is noticed that someone may be bending or breaking an agreement we address that with our conflict resolution process based on nonviolent communication.

Band Meetings 


Upon admittance, every learner is assigned to a "band(definition: group, camp, or tribe, the simplest form of human society.).  A band is an age-based group of learners that meet together every morning and afternoon with the guidance of a mentor. To learn more about how bands are structured please see Our Programs page. 



Just as our staff is arranged in a cooperative structure, so too is our community arranged in a way so that every learner and mentor has a voice and equal footing in decision making. To manage community life, an all-program meeting may be called at any time by any RTS member. During the meeting it may be decided that problem solving around that issue should be taken to a "culture committee." Culture committee meetings are focused group meetings comprised of individuals who feel personally invested in making the proposed agreements regarding the issue at hand. Once a proposal is prepared, the motion is adopted into practice or moved to a vote for further consideration. 

Developmental Relationships

Rock Tree Sky is founded on the principles of Developmental Relationships:


  • Express Care: We strive to ensure every learner feels valued and supported, affirming their worth beyond their achievements.

  • Challenge Growth: At RTS we encourage learners to stretch and grow, fostering resilience and a growth mindset.

  • Provide Support: We offer guidance and support, helping learners navigate challenges and develop problem-solving skills.

  • Share Power: We seek to recognize the voice of each learner. As learners participate in decisions that affect their education and community culture, their ownership and responsibility develops.

  • Expand Possibilities: By introducing learners to new ideas and opportunities, we aim to inspire and broaden their horizons.

This is based on this research from the Search Institute.

Developmental Relationships
Three Agreements

Where are we located?

Where does all this learning, playing, growing, exploring happen? 


Rock Tree Sky is located in Upper Ojai, CA. Our campus is nestled in the Topa Topa Mountain range and surrounded by stunning landscapes. Learners and mentors gather daily at our multi-roomed, open campus. Our campus is surrounded by natural settings where we enjoy excursions and curiosity igniting exploration. 


We take field trips to a local homestead with goats and chickens. Other trips are offered periodically so that our learners also have plenty of opportunities to venture off campus. In the past our learners have enjoyed field trips to the beach to explore tide pools, museums in Ojai, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara, local businesses, the Ojai Story-Telling Festival, and more.

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