The College School has long recognized and embraced the value of adventure education for all its students. Adventure Education, its learning objectives, and results have now become synonymous with The College School's experiential approach to education.
There are few environments more ideal for fostering personal growth in children than outdoor adventure experiences. In challenging, yet safe, environments, students are encouraged to take risks to achieve their goals. They learn to maximize their potential, work cooperatively, and respect their environments.
The College School takes students into the wilderness for experiences, expeditions and campouts they will forever remember. For example, students may climb rocks or explore caves. However, the school is not necessarily trying to make rock climbers or spelunkers out of students. The outdoor skills and competencies that children learn while climbing and spelunking help them develop leadership skills, the ability to make good decisions, cooperative learning, risk taking, and responsibility. Learning to climb rocks or to explore caves are simply vehicles for students to find themselves and appreciate their role in the natural world. It's courageous what the students do during their adventures. They realize that they can do more than they thought they could do, and that is one of the most powerful things in education.
For all our outdoor adventures and challenges, safety is always paramount. Facilitators see to this, and students are also consistently taught to evaluate the safety factors of their risks and the possible ramifications of their actions, whether they are rock climbing, spelunking, or acting as a peer mediator between two friends. The challenges are also always embedded in a bigger picture. Students and teachers will spend many hours and class periods in preparation and training for a challenge. And once the adventure has been experienced, the process is still far from over. Perhaps the most important piece is yet to come: the reflection.
The College School's theory on reflection is that an actual experience is only as valuable as reflection upon that experience. It is crucial to take the time to reflect upon an experience to help solidify the lessons learned. Processing can be achieved through a variety of mediums: students have discussions, paint, journal, create art-reflections, and produce tremendous final displays celebrating their adventure and lessons.
Teachers at The College School seek and value the sort of profound reflection, lessons, and processing of any experience. Across all the grades, teachers prepare, present, and reflect upon a variety of challenges and outdoor adventures. Our adventure education curriculum and continuum has been honed and developed over the past 45 years, during which we have created a community that has a great deal of faith and respect for safe and adventurous learning expeditions into the field. Click for an overview of our adventure education continuum.