Program Director’s Note 

Dear Teachers, 

On behalf of the entire Kroka community, we are looking forward to hosting your class trip. Challenging and enriching, Kroka school programs strengthen the class community and bring learning alive in ways that are not possible in the classroom. This is not your typical field trip. We embrace risk, we welcome discomfort, and we shed the layers between ourselves and the natural world. 

Transformative education requires dedicated teachers. We will do our part to fully prepare for the program, plan your itinerary, and train leaders who will safely guide your class through their expedition. In turn, we are asking you, the class teacher, to take time to thoroughly prepare yourself and your students for their class trip.  

Our expeditions are most successful when students are both physically and mentally prepared for the journey. In the weeks between now and your program, it is important to engage your students in activities and curriculum that will support the experience they have at Kroka.  

First, please read the enclosed Teacher Handbook thoroughly. We have written this handbook to give you a clear picture of what to expect during your time with Kroka. This allows us to focus our time on your students. It is very important that all adult chaperones have read this handbook and are familiar with our unique teaching philosophy as well. After all, you yourself are embarking on an adventurous wilderness experience along with your students! 

Thank you for all that you do to make this experience possible for your students. We are looking forward to the adventure! 

Sincerely,
The Kroka Team

Kroka Mission

Kroka is a wilderness expedition school based on a year-round organic farm in Marlow, NH. We believe that the consciousness and altruistic will that lives within all people can be brought forward through a living relationship with the natural world and by taking our places in the circle of community.

About Your Students

As our instructors prepare for the program it is helpful to get to know your students before they arrive. In the weeks leading up to your program we ask that you provide us with a brief description of each student who will be attending. One short paragraph per student is sufficient. You may describe their personality, place/role in the class, relationship with nature, goals for the experience, and anything else relevant that you wish to include. Some teachers ask their students “What should your Kroka teachers know about you?” or “What are you most excited about and most nervous about?” 

Requirements for Chaperones

Typically we ask for schools to send one adult chaperone for every 10 students on the trip. Chaperones can be other teachers at the school, parents, or another adult who has a strong relationship to the class. Chaperones need to know the class well and be seen as an authority figure. It is important that chaperones are looking forward to the wilderness aspect of the experience and are excited about taking on the challenges of their role. We expect chaperones to work alongside us throughout the program and role-model positive leadership for the students. The chaperone must understand that they may not have access to email or phone use during the program. If the chaperone is a parent of one of the students, it is essential that s/he is able to relate to all of the students in the class equally. If your school is having difficulty finding an appropriate chaperone it is acceptable that the class teacher be the only adult from your school.

Your Role On Our Program

We view our work as a partnership between Kroka staff and the class teacher. Kroka staff will hold the group and facilitate activities, mealtimes, and travel. Kroka staff will make and manage all safety decisions and will act as the medical officer. During the trip you, the teacher, have the opportunity to step back and observe your students in action – but we also expect you to take an active role during the program. The class teacher is responsible for managing student behavior, holding bedtime and morning routines, and role-modeling participation for your students. In some cases we may ask the class teacher to take responsibility for managing and distributing student medications.

Pre-Trip Check-In

During the week prior to the trip your course director will contact you for a pre-trip check-in. We will address your role on the trip and how leadership will be shared between the class teacher, any additional chaperones, and our Kroka teachers. This will also be an opportunity for you to ask any questions about the program and share any concerns. We will also discuss a plan for your arrival and departure logistics.

Arrival At Kroka

Most schools travel to Kroka in passenger vans or small buses. Please note that our facility cannot accommodate large buses and that turning around can be difficult even for small buses. We have limited parking onsite for school vehicles, so please let us know how you will be arriving so we can prepare to greet you. Upon arrival, your Kroka leaders will meet you and help you unload.

Early/Late Arrival And Departures

We discourage early or late arrivals, as well as early departures, for individual students as this is disruptive to the program and can create logistical complications that compromise safety. Please contact us in case of an extenuating circumstance.

Facilities

While at the base camp, students will be housed in our traditional-style dwellings. These include earth lodges, canvas wall tents, and small yurts. There will be separate accommodations for boys and girls unless you request otherwise. When appropriate, we may ask teachers and chaperones to share dwellings with students.

While on expedition we will stay in lightweight nylon tents sleeping 4-5 students. Most teachers request an individual tent or share one with a chaperone. Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary for teachers to stay with students on expedition. We will do our best to make you (the teacher) as comfortable as possible during your time at Kroka. If you need special accommodations, please let us know in advance.

Bathing

Seasonally we will swim and bathe in mountain lakes and streams, as well as our own pond at Kroka Village. At the end of the program students will either bathe in our pond or in our solar-heated shower. Teachers and chaperones on the program will have access to showers while at the basecamp.

Dietary Restrictions

There are many limitations to food and cooking in a wilderness setting, including refrigeration, weight, and cooking equipment. While we strive to meet the needs of our students, some needs are greater than we can provide for. We reserve the right to refuse students with exceptionally severe food allergies and/or strict dietary restrictions. If you or a student in your class requires a special diet, please visit our website to learn about what we can and cannot accommodate and let us know as far ahead of time as possible.

Curriculum Integration & Trip Preparation

A successful expedition begins with the planning. The more effort we put into preparing before we leave, the more meaningful the expedition is! At Kroka, we invite students to be involved with all aspects of the preparation. With older students, each student carries a responsibility for a piece of the trip for the duration of the program. The planning, the expedition, and then the post-trip cleanup. We call these responsibilities “Big Jobs.” Each student’s Big Job is necessary and integral to the functioning of the group. We will work with you to integrate the expedition planning into your classroom curriculum. Some ideas include: 

  1. Read a book with the class that is relevant to the upcoming experience. We are happy to provide a list of suggestions.
  2. Post a map of the trip area in the classroom. This will increase the students’ excitement about the expedition. A topographical map is best.
  3. Study the history of the place where we will be traveling. Discuss the geology, natural history, flora and fauna, or human impact on the landscape.
  4. Hand-craft personal gear items in the classroom. We have patterns for sewing stuff sacks, mitten shells, and more that we are happy to share with you.
  5. Take your students outside! Get them excited about unplugged, outdoor learning ahead of their Kroka expedition.

Photography

A good-quality digital camera is the only piece of modern technology that travels with us into the wilderness. Kroka staff are trained to be discreet photographers. We rely on high-quality images to create beautiful publications and share your class trip with parents. If you or the accompanying chaperone are excited to take pictures, we invite you to bring your own camera along and we will supply an SD card and a waterproof case. After the program we will share an online album of the photos that you can share within the school and parent community. To limit the use and presence of electronic devices we ask that students do not bring their own personal cameras. Please note that due to the interfering presence of technology on our campus, we do not allow phones to be used for photography! 

Packing

Please go over the packing list with your students well ahead of the expedition. Communicate to students and families that they must pack everything on the packing list and nothing more. Our packing lists are tried and true. Students will have everything they need. It is our experience that having less allows students to experience more. Ensuring that students are well prepared for the expedition will allow us to spend more time in the wilderness and contribute to a safe and successful experience. We hope that you and your students will rise to the joy and challenge of simple living with a minimal amount of items! 

Additional Teacher packing list 

In addition to the individual packing list, please bring the following items for the group:  

  • 1 tube of natural toothpaste  
  • 2 large tubes of chemical-free waterproof sun block 

We recommend that students bring their packed gear to school the day before you leave. Go over the list and leave behind all extra items. After you go over their gear, we suggest that students keep their bags in the class at school so that they have no temptation for last minute additions from home. Students should transport their gear to Kroka in a duffle bag or backpack.

Students who arrive to Kroka without the proper clothing and personal equipment, and who have not made a request to rent/borrow available items from Kroka, will be outfitted from the camp store. Your school will bear the financial responsibility for these purchases. It is up to the school to bill families individually.  

Renting Equipment from Kroka

When reviewing the packing list for your program, some students may need to rent specialty gear from Kroka. In order to ensure that our trip flows smoothly and that everyone is prepared for the expedition, we ask that you collect a list of student rental needs and submit this to us at least one week prior to the program start. You can use the rental form included with this handbook.

Kroka Camp Store & T-Shirts

We have many useful items including clothing and gear available in the Kroka Camp Store. Proceeds support our scholarship fund. All Camp Store products are high quality, responsibly manufactured, and locally sourced as often as possible. Many classes choose to purchase Kroka t-shirts for all students. Our shirts are made in the USA from organic cotton and have beautiful student artwork printed on the front and back. The cost of a t-shirt is $14 each for group purchases. Individual purchases of t-shirts are $16 each. We keep a limited inventory, so please note that we may not have the design/color of your choice in stock at the time of your program, but we will do our best to provide matching shirts for your group. If you would like to order t-shirts for your entire group, please let us know the quantity and sizes in advance!

Transportation

During the program, Kroka staff will take responsibility for driving and transportation of students. Our staff training includes rigorous driver training and a certification exam. Our vehicles house 15 people including a driver. On rare occasions, when driving within our local area (1-5 miles away), we may drive a van with 16 people including our staff. While your students and teachers will always have working seat belts, it is possible that a Kroka staff may double-buckle in order to fit in the van. This is a choice we make to keep a second vehicle off of the road and reduce our environmental impact.

Post-Program Reflection

Returning from the expedition, students may have mixed emotions. While some students may be exuberant and bursting with energy, others may experience a sort of culture shock. You can expect everyone to be tired when they return home. Thoughtful reflection and follow-up are just as important to the student’s experience as pre-tip preparation. Below, we recommend some ways to debrief your Kroka experience back at school: 

  1. Give students the day off upon their return home. This allows them to return to school rested and ready to resume their rigorous academic life.
  2. Share your perspective with the parent community. Parents will want to know what happened on the trip and how their children did. Writing a detailed “trip report” to parents will help alleviate some of their anticipation and will allow everyone to be on the same page following the program.
  3. Maintain the rhythms and routines of the Kroka trip. We will work hard to establish daily patterns: circling before our meals, morning sit spots in nature, nightly gratitude circles, etc. Keeping one or more of these routines alive in the classroom goes a long way to keeping the lessons from your class trip alive.
  4. Offer your students a writing or drawing prompt related to their Kroka trip, their accomplishments, challenges, and successes as a class. As a side note we love receiving student art and writing in the mail. We’d love to see how your students are reflecting on their class trip! 
  5. Work with your class to create a presentation for parents and/or the school community. Sharing about their experience through theater, song, and story will share the lessons learned on their class trip into the school community. 

Feedback & Follow-up

One to two weeks after your program concludes, your course director will get in touch to hear your feedback on the expedition. We rely on the thoughtful feedback from class teachers to continuously improve and reinvent our programs. Please take time to reflect and send us your thoughts by mail, email, or over the phone. If we don’t hear from you we will likely follow up.