Each year, Rolling Hills Country Day School students in Grades Four through Eight participate in various Outdoor Education programs.
In the Lower School, the Outdoor Education experience begins in Grade 4 with an excursion for one night and two days to Dana Point. This is a California history trip which occurs at the end of the school year and coincides with the book they read in class, By the Great Horn Spoon. The students learn about what life was like in the 1850’s. They also learn how to sail on a tall ship and “Eureka!” they even pan for gold!
Grade 5 students travel by bus to the Idyllwild Mountains to Astro Camp for two nights and three days. They learn about astronomy and have the opportunity to view the planets through a powerful telescope. This trip emphasizes teamwork through challenging rope courses and zip lining. This is a wonderful group bonding adventure at the beginning of the school year.
In Middle School, each grade takes a week-long Outdoor Education trip early in the school year. Grade 6 students travel by bus to Joshua Tree for one week. This is the real “outdoor experience”! The students learn to live in the high desert for one week. They form small groups of three or four and work as a team to pitch their tent and prepare their own food. During the day, there are several activities such as hiking, Subterranean Exploration Activity (SEA), rock climbing, and scrambling from boulder to boulder.
Grade 7 students travel by boat to Catalina Island (CIMI, Catalina Island Marine Institute) for one week to learn about marine biology and its environment. They learn about sea life through interactive labs that they can actually touch. Team building is emphasized through kayaking, day snorkeling trips and one of the big highlights – the night snorkel!
Grade 8 students travel by air to Seattle, Washington for one week. Once they land, they take a bus to the northwest point of an old rain growth forest in Olympic National Park. Days are spent canoeing, hiking, learning about their environment and they end their trip with an entire day of rope courses.
The last Outdoor Education trip occurs shortly before graduation in June. Grade 8 students take a Graduation Trip to the American River. They travel by bus and stay for three days. Students river raft and have quite an adventurous time! This is especially sentimental for the students because they realize this will be the last trip that they share as a grade and graduation is around the corner. Many Grade 8 students reflect on their years at Country Day during this final trip.
With each passing year, there is personal growth, challenges one may face stretching themselves out of their comfort zone, learning about various environments, and countless opportunities to bond with their classmates. It is a progression of the years at Country Day and creates memories that last a lifetime. As our students look to the future, they realize that they are ready for their next chapter. Yes, they are prepared because Country Day has prepared them every step and every year along the way.