Kids Healthy Outdoors Challenge (KHOC)

 A unique opportunity for third grade teachers and their students.

KHOC Application

For the 2023-2024 school year, KHOC teachers who had participated during the 2022-2023 school year were invited back to establish a new three-year cohort rotation.

About Kids Healthy Outdoors Challenge (KHOC)

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) spans Alameda and Contra Costa counties with 73 beautiful local parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature study.

In school year 2012-2013, EBRPD piloted the Kids Healthy Outdoors Challenge (KHOC) with an aim of introducing children to local parks through classroom-based activities. Before the pilot, EBRPD worked to ensure that KHOC supported third grade Common Core curriculum standards as much as possible by inviting a group of local educators to contribute to content. We want KHOC to support learning so that it is not just “one more thing to do” in the classroom. This means that KHOC will change with time to meet educator needs and curriculum standards.

KHOC includes ten lessons, designed to be fun and easy to complete. They include Connecting with the Past (e.g., exploring Ohlone culture), Planting a Seed, Exploring Nature, and Following a Trail. The curriculum also contains activities that students can explore with their families outside of school time.

KHOC’s goal is connecting third graders to the outdoors and recreational opportunities, promoting health and well-being, physical activity and life-long parks use. To achieve this, KHOC provides:

  • A Teacher Guide and Student Booklet (available in English or Spanish) filled with engaging activities aligned with third grade curriculum content standards.
  • An EBRPD-facilitated orientation to help teachers learn to use the curriculum.
  • A no-cost* EBRPD Field Trip for every participating class with an optional Naturalist-guided field trip available.

KHOC is also closely aligned with activities in the California Children’s Outdoor Bill Of Rights which states that every child in California, by the completion of their 14th year, should have the opportunity to experience a number of common outdoors activities such as discovering California’s past and heritage, exploring nature, and learning to follow a trail.

* There is no fee for bus transportation, as this is covered by grant funds from the Regional Parks Foundation. Bus availability is limited and cannot be guaranteed.

You can learn more about the Outdoor Bill of Rights here:

How KHOC Works

Interested and eligible third grade teachers apply to participate in the KHOC program by the application deadline.

KHOC/Park District staff review, evaluate, and make recommendations (accept or decline to accept) for each application. Determinations will be made and communicated to all applicants.

For the 2023-2024 school year, KHOC teachers who had participated during the 2022-2023 school year were invited back to establish a new three-year cohort rotation.

If accepted, at least one approved teacher from each qualifying school attends at least one mandatory Virtual Teacher Orientation to become eligible for bus transportation funds for their school. *Teachers are encouraged but not required to attend a subsequent in-person/in-park orientation as well. (Refer to orientation schedule below.)

* There is no fee for bus transportation, as this is covered by grant funds from the Regional Parks Foundation. See Bus Fund Allocations below. Bus availability is limited and cannot be guaranteed.

Teachers obtain printed resource materials (Teacher Guide and Student Booklets) and incorporate at least three KHOC lessons into their curriculum.

Teachers then decide if they wish to:

  • take their class on a self-guided (teacher-led) field trip to any East Bay Regional Park

– OR –

  • request a Naturalist-led field trip at one of the eight visitor centers within the Park District

Teachers confirm a date for their field trip (either self-guided OR Naturalist-led) and apply for no-cost bus transportation by the transportation deadline.

Teachers complete their field trip by the activity deadline. Teachers complete optional end-of-year survey.

    Eligibility of Participants

    Applications should:

    • Be submitted by a public elementary school located in Alameda or Contra Costa Counties.
    • Document ability to ensure participation by third grade classrooms from the same school.

    EBRPD’s aim is to include an ethnically and socio-economically representative sample of classrooms. We seek applications from urban, suburban, and rural communities.

    NOTE: Participation in KHOC is limited to three years per teacher.

    For future programs:

    • First year KHOC teachers will receive their introduction to the program and self-guided options.
    • In their second year, KHOC teachers should develop their skills and activities.
    • In their third year, KHOC teachers should perfect their outdoor teaching skills by exploring the self-guided options.

    After this, we hope that teachers will have the skills to continue using the Regional Parks (and self-guided materials) on their own. Please also see our FAQs for more information on this change.

    Expectations of Participants

    If selected to participate in KHOC, at least one teacher from each qualifying school will be expected to:

    • Attend a mandatory KHOC Virtual Teacher Orientation
    • Obtain a printed KHOC Teacher's Guide
    • Obtain printed KHOC Student Booklets (one booklet for each student)
    • Incorporate at least three lessons into their classroom during the school year

    Bus Fund Allocations

    Due to severe driver shortages industry-wide and increasing bus costs, bus funds will be allocated to accommodate the maximum number of classes on the fewest number of buses. In most cases, one full-size school bus can accommodate two classes plus teachers/chaperones. Bus availability is limited and cannot be guaranteed.

    Bus fund allocations* per school are as follows:

    One participating class

    Funds for one bus

    Two participating classes

    Funds for one bus

    Three participating classes

    Funds for two buses

    Four participating classes

    Funds for two buses

    Five participating classes

    Funds for three buses

    Six participating classes

    Funds for three buses

    *Assuming capacity of a full-size school bus. Bus funds will be allocated according to field trip requests.

    Orientation Dates and Locations

    Only approved KHOC teachers may attend orientations. Orientation signup information will be communicated to teachers accepted into the KHOC program.

    Virtual Teacher Orientations (via Zoom)

    Monday, December 4, 2023

    6:00 – 7:30pm

    Wednesday, December 6, 2023

    6:00 – 7:30pm

    Tuesday, December 12, 2023

    6:00 – 7:30pm

    Thursday, December 14, 2023

    6:00 – 7:30pm

    In-person/In-park Teacher Orientations (and material pick up) – early 2024; dates coming soon!


    5:00pm on Thursday, November 30

    KHOC Applications & Virtual Orientation Signup Due

    December 4-14, 2023

    Virtual Teacher Orientations (mandatory)

    TBD Early 2024; dates coming soon!

    In-person Teacher Orientations & Material Pick Up

     Friday, January 5, 2024

    Naturalist Program and/or Bus Transportation Requests Due

     Friday, May 10, 2024

    Completion of KHOC Lessons and Field Trip

    Mid-late May 2024

    End-of-year Teacher Survey

    Teacher Resources



    Self-guided Trip Options

    In 2016, KHOC began promoting self-guided field trip options at four parks, with activities highlighting the natural and cultural resources of each park. Instructions are included on this website, and activity packs and materials are available for free checkout at the following sites:

    Video Supplements

    KHOC Results

    The number of KHOC classrooms has increased year over year, with over 3,100 third grade students throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties participating in the program in school year 2018 - 2019.

    KHOC has had impressive results. as measured by a year-end survey. In school year 2018 - 2019, most teachers said that KHOC lessons increased comfort with leading classroom activities outdoors (90%), and their skills teaching outdoors (76%).

    Most (86%) agreed that participating in KHOC made their class want to spend more time being active outdoors. and 60% agreed they spent more time teaching outdoors this school year than they did the previous school year.

    Finally, 78% agreed that KHOC helped them to meet curriculum standards.

    For more detail, download full reports on KHOC results from past school years:

    For More Information...

    Please contact us at khoc@ebparks.org for more information.

    Download: Please see our KHOC FAQs for more details about the program.

    Funded by the Regional Parks Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the Contra Costa County Fish, Wildlife Committee.  


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