The Vocational Program
Attention: The Vocational Program is presently seeking a director. The program is not active until a Director of Vocational Development can be found. Please check back with the page frequently to see when program is active.
"Educating students with special needs to meet the special needs of local farmers."
Flint Hill Farm Educational Center offers quality vocational instruction for students with disabilities preparing for life after high school. As teachers, we look to organizations like you to help our students obtain real world experiences that further their goals of full participation, economic self-sufficiency and independence. We offer three vocational tracts that include greenhouse gardening, small animal care/dairy production, and egg production. All of the natural, PA preferred milk, yogurt and fine cheeses produced by our students are sold to the public, providing them with basic business skills through hands-on experiential learning opportunities. Click on a topic below and learn more about our vocational tracts:
The Gardening Tract:
The gardening tract provides an opportunity to learn the basics of garden design, composting, planting, fertilizing and maintenance. Time management and goal setting strategies will be used to plant in preparation for farmers' market sales, and to complete duties that will maintain a healthy garden. All aspects of the growth process are instructed throughout the season from soil preparation in early spring, to harvesting produce in fall and preparing soil for next year's garden.
Students will become familiar with gardening tools, methods of fertilization, composting, plant identification, and transplanting.Students will also have the opportunity to experience an extended growing season with a fall crop of produce in our hoop houses. All vegetables will be sold at various farmers markets that students can also take part in accompanied by their job coach. This portion of the program, like the chicken vocational tract, instructs basic business skills including money changing and customer service. All gardening activities will be student centered, with both student interest and transition goals in mind. Students will be able to experience the joy of growth in the plots they maintain, and positive feedback from happy customers at the farmers market.
Chickens: Layers and Egg Production
Students will learn basic care of fowl and how to prepare our all natural, PA Preferred™ eggs for sale. In addition to the feeding and watering of our flock, participants will learn how to clean, and package eggs for sale. Students will utilize sustainable farming practices with our open air portable chicken houses, and learn how to use egg production records to adjust flock care. Component skills of self monitoring task completion and basic academics will be embedded at each level of instruction.
The opportunity to sell produce at the farmers market accompanied by their job coach is also an option for participants. This will solidify the connection "from farm to friends," and allow students the opportunity for basic business skill instruction.
Goats and Sheep:
Our PA Department of Agriculture-certified facility offers all natural raw and pasteurized milk, pasteurized yogurt and soft cheeses. Flint Hill Farm currently maintains a milking herd of seven does that produce four gallons of milk per week. Two gallons of milk will produce approximately 1 1/2 pounds of soft cheese. We milk twice a day. From the milk we can make cheese, milk and yogurt. The goats and sheep ruminant tract provide instruction in small animal care with the additional component of dairy production. As students master basic care skills, they will have the opportunity to become involved in milking/cheese making in our dairy, and wool fiber preparation from our sheep. As with all vocational tracts, component skills of self monitoring task completion and basic academics will be embedded at each level of instruction.
Our three Jersey cows are milked twice a day. From the milk we can make cheese, milk and yogurt. As students master basic care skills, they will have the opportunity to become involved in milking/cheese making in our dairy, and wool fiber preparation from our sheep. As with all vocational tracts, component skills of self-monitoring task completion and basic academics will be embedded at each level of instruction.