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Big Sur Charter School offers an alternative to traditional public schooling.  We believe in a holistic approach to learning, and understand that learning best occurs when students feel safe, respected, and have a sense of belonging.

Our hybrid learning program combines education at our Monterey Learning Center, the home environment, in the community and in nature. Experiencing learning in multiple environments provides students with the experience of what it will mean to be an adult in an ever-changing world.  Accessing knowledge and skills across environments is a step towards solidifying that knowledge. Each environment contributes a unique set of circumstances to learning. The amount of time spent in any one learning environment is determined by grade level, with kindergarteners spending more time learning at home, and eighth-graders spending more time learning at the learning center and in the community.

Learning Center classes are taught by credentialed teachers in small classes with the academic focus being math and English language arts.  Students participate in lessons that provide for multiple means of engagement, acquisition and the expression of understanding.  BSCS uses direct instruction with project-oriented learning opportunities. While we recognize the importance of academics, we also understand that children learn best when they feel like part of a community. The teachers and staff are aware of the relationship between emotional well-being and learning. 


Our teachers help students to find ways to express emotions appropriately, move through them safely, and to be nonjudgmental and empathetic of others. This emotional support in tandem with small class size (15:1) creates an environment where students can state their point of view, take risks, and learn from their mistakes.

Spending time in nature, embracing diversity, being a social thinker, and having a sense of belonging are at the core of becoming a strong, resilient learner and leader. All of these aspects of humanity are what we at Big Sur Charter School believe are imperative to the future of our society and our planet.  


Learning also happens at home with parents as the home educators. Students are provided support and practice opportunities in math, language arts, and science at home, as well as opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of social studies and science in diverse and personal ways.



Our Coastal Stewardship Program includes a series of outdoor classes in which Big Sur Charter School K-8 students move toward an increased appreciation of our coastal ecosystems.  The overall goal of this program is to create a deep and lasting relationship between students and our local environs. As students move through our Coastal Stewardship Program, they begin to take on active roles in protecting our coast.

Middle school students develop their understanding of current issues facing the health of our ocean and collaborate in civic engagement projects.  These projects foster coastal stewardship behaviors by allowing students to address an existing climate or ocean-related issue in our community.


Students gather, calculate, and analyze data revealing the effect of their actions on the climate and ocean. Leadership and project management skills develop as students evaluate their impact, effectively executing their coastal stewardship vision.


Each year middle school students immerse themselves in the wilderness of Big Sur during our Coastal Stewardship camp, with hands-on educational experiences; including guided nature walks, lessons in stream ecology, and Systems Thinking discussions and activities. Students will:


Gain love and respect for nature


Demonstrate ability to learn outdoors safely while having fun


Learn to live WITH nature and become an environmental steward


Experience the beauty of our local coast


Understand the seven Ocean Literacy Principles


Integrate the Next Generation Science Standards in hands-on learning


Initiate a coastal stewardship project

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