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Essential to the Montessori philosophy is the belief that learning takes place everywhere, and that the curious child both observes and interacts in a purposeful way in the classroom and outside the classroom. To further this, Montessori Community School students undertake many age-appropriate “Going Out” experiences.
At the Toddler Level: Children go on walks around the campus, use their playground to observe nature, and go on off campus field trips.
At the Primary Level: Children observe and draw nature in the primary outdoor learning environments, go on extended walks to the Green Property, and attend “in-house field trips” and off campus field trips. They also travel offsite usually twice a year to a pumpkin patch, strawberry patch or other outdoor environment. Elders (Kindergarten group) take off-campus field trips arranged especially for them.
At the Elementary Level: Elementary children have a number of responsibilities within our school community, such as taking attendance slips to the office and doing recycling. Montessori students, especially older elementary students, also arrange their own “going out” experiences. For example, a student studying frogs might arrange to visit a local expert or exhibition. Elementary students go on several field trips during the year including off-site music, art, and science-based trips relevant to their curriculum.
All Upper Elementary students go to an educational program for two to three days in the fall. Third through fifth year students also attend “Earthshine” for a three days outdoor education program in the spring while our sixth and seventh year students enjoy a three-day spring mountain trip. At the end of the final Elementary year, students are invited to travel on a three-day trip in connection with their year long research projects. They are required to raise some of the money used for this trip through campus fundraisers, selling of art project, handicrafts, etc.
At the Middle School Level: Middle school students are old enough to plan and undertake more sophisticated going out experiences in connection with their studies. Off-campus field trips are also planned to enrich the curriculum, especially in the Science and Humanities areas.
The Middle school students and their teachers plan a week long Odyssey Trip at the start of school in August. The annual Odyssey trip provides hands-on experiences related to the Humanities curriculum for that year. The entire group of students and teachers plans, shops, and cooks their meals and works together to pitch camp almost every night.