This spring has been a busy season for Outdoor Adventure and Education at IMS. On the Lower Campus, the 1st and 2nd graders tackled their first challenging half-day hike up our mountain to Falcon’s Ledge and back down again. At the top, they rested and took in the view of the campus below. Our 4th graders spent an entire day at Camp Jewell, doing team-building activities, low ropes courses, hiking and canoeing. Next year, these 4th graders begin their journey on Upper Campus, where the overnight OAE adventures commence.
To begin a series of intentionally scaffolded outdoor overnight learning experiences and age appropriate trips, the Fifth Grade Class spent a day in April participating in team building activities and games, discussing what it means to step out of your comfort zone, hiking, and spending time with classmates outdoors. Students set up tents on our mountain, choosing their locations wisely and learning technical skills to prepare for more rigorous OAE trips as they move up through the grades. As the night came to an end, students shared some of their highlights from the day while hanging out and eating s’mores by the campfire. To end the experience, students packed up camp and headed to the climbing wall — for some it was a chance to show their skills, and for others it was a way to face their fears of heights and conquer them.
The Sixth Grade Class traveled to Pine Knob Loop Trail in Housatonic Meadows State Park, walking along part of the Appalachian trail, and participating in “trail trivia” to learn more facts and figures about the great outdoors and about Connecticut. After an exciting hike with a few beautiful views of the mountains, buses were loaded and they headed to Kent Falls State Park for lunch.
Within the OAE Curriculum during Seventh grade, there is a focus on adventure-based programming. The Seventh grade class was able to embrace this on the Deerfield River while white water rafting. The class was split into two groups, white water rafting and hiking at Mount Greylock State Reservation. While camping nearby, students told stories by the campfire, played cards, and enjoyed their time together.
The 8th grade class spent two nights camping in the Adirondacks, cooking meals as a group, and enjoying local day hikes. In addition, students were able to visit the Lake Placid Legacy Sites, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. With visits to these olympic sites, rock wall climbing, amazing views of the mountains from the top of the Olympic Jump Center, and a journey through Ausable Chasm, students were able to explore many aspects of the Adirondacks and the surrounding area.
The 9th Graders had a three-day wilderness adventure earlier this school year to the White Mountains, and this term they will cap their Outdoor Adventure and Education with a 4-day trip to Maine, sailing the waters of Penobscot Bay working the rigging of two schooners, learning nautical knot-tying, cooking meals and continuing their work on sustainable development goals.