When considering methods for teaching her students, Catherine Griffin said she has always thought outside the box.

Griffin, who has owned and operated One Acre Farm in Porter for the last 22 years, is a certified teacher in Texas. Her students, however, do not sit at desks inside all day. Instead, they learn through hands-on lessons conducted outside among the gardens and livestock scattered about the property.

“As teachers and parents, let’s not think that everything has to be done at a table or in a chair,” Griffin said, noting she employed the method in her own children’s homeschooling prior to opening the school. “[My children’s] interest was in horses. ... They could learn math with horses. They could learn biology with horses. They could do science.”

Griffin initially opened One Acre Farm as an outdoor, interactive learning environment for homeschooled children, but the nonprofit has since evolved into an educational farm providing classes and workshops for all ages. While the farm does not have set hours of operation, events and classes are listed on the nonprofit’s website.

In 2016, the farm began to offer specialized sessions for children on the autism spectrum. Now, all of the classes offered are fully inclusive of all abilities, outside a Sensory Sunday class that is exclusively for individuals with autism.

Griffin first got the idea to offer classes to individuals on the spectrum after listening to a presentation by Rupert Isaacson, a British ex-professional horse trainer who developed several methods of therapy for his son with autism.

She said she realized her teaching methods at One Acre Farm were very similar to the methods Isaacson spoke about, which focused on providing physical environments aimed at calming the nervous system and providing individuals with autism the ability to move freely while learning.

Griffin said she has seen vast improvements in the children with autism she has worked with, noting she has been pleasantly surprised at how smooth the transition of welcoming students of all abilities has been at the farm.

“Society today is a lot more accepting than when I was a kid,” she said. “There’s not that stigma.”

More than anything, Griffin said she enjoys seeing her students’ smiling faces as they learn.

“I’m a lifelong learner,” Griffin said. “I always just want to encourage kids to be happy and play and explore and be curious about everything.”

One Acre Farm

3416 Magnolia Drive, Porter



Hours: See website for events and class times