Oh, the places we go...
The experiential program has been a cornerstone of the Stanbridge curriculum for more than 30 years, and students in every grade participate in these off-campus experiences. Experiential trips enhance and complement classroom learning to promote students’ personal growth. Opportunities to improve communication and collaborative skills, promote mutual respect, improve organizational skills, set goals, and engage in appropriate challenges that help to build self-confidence and independence are all part of experiential learning.
Students in Kindergarten through eighth grade participate in age-appropriate adventures designed to captivate and engage them through hands-on activities. Past experiences have enhanced the study of the California Gold Rush by gold panning activities, addressed California science standards through visiting Camp Sea Lab in Monterey, and studied history and literature through sailing tall ships.
Short overnight experiences teach students how to care for themselves and their belongings, develop self-confidence and self-reliance, and provide students who struggle in the classroom an opportunity to thrive in an outdoor environment. Other experiences have included environmental education programs with local organic farms, hiking in nearby parks, and participating in cultural programs such as visiting museums, attending live musical performances, and seeing live theatre.
Recent examples of elementary and middle school experiential trips include reading books and plays then seeing live theatrical performances of the works; touring Recology while studying ecology in science class, as well as visiting the zoo while studying biology. Each year, our middle school students travel with their teachers to Westminster Woods for a multi-day trip that includes team-building workshops and self-confidence building challenge and ropes courses.
High School Experientials
High School students take part in adventure and service activities designed to compliment classroom concepts and challenge themselves. Past trips to NatureBridge in Yosemite National Park and the Ashland Shakespeare Festival have provided students with opportunities to integrate experiential and cultural activities into the curriculum. Carefully constructed scavenger hunts in urban centers provide experiences for our students to practice navigating mass transit systems and map reading, important skills for independence.
Additional past experiences include studying bay ecology while sea kayaking, applying math skills while building for Habitat for Humanity, learning about stream ecology while river rafting, learning properties of snow while camping, and practicing “leave no trace principles” while backpacking.
Every other year, Stanbridge juniors and seniors have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for an immersive trip to our nation's capital. Partnering with CloseUp, Stanbridge students and chaperones embark on an unforgettable experience that incorporates lessons on history, civics, and government, while seeing the city's historic landmarks, meeting with government representatives, and interacting with students from schools across the country. (Next D.C. trip will be Spring 2019.)