Earlier this month, Ethical Culture’s entire 5th Grade embarked on the first trip to Nature’s Classroom in Lakeville, Connecticut, in three years. According to Principal Rob Cousins, “this keenly anticipated trip provides an opportunity for bonding and collaboration in a beautiful, rural setting.”
During their welcome meeting, the Director of Nature’s Classroom, Kevin, taught students about the four C’s: Care, Commitment, Cooperation, and Communication. Just like at Ethical Culture, social emotional learning (SEL) skill development forms the core of the programming at Nature’s Classroom, and our students were well prepared to engage and participate in the conversation.
On the first day, students participated in many activities, including learning how to build fires without matches, searching the creek for salamanders and frogs, hiking and practicing orienteering skills, and playing team-building activities and games that promote cooperation.
Students were teeming with joy and had many positive things to share:
“I love Nature’s Classroom because it gives me the chance to explore nature and let friendships blossom like the flowers in nature we get to explore.”
“I’m having a really fine time. All of the counselors are really great! This place is all about having fun!”
“This place is really interesting. We saw a fishing spider that eats small fish! It was so cool!”
Not to mention, Nature’s Classroom is also an important opportunity for faculty and staff to bond! “Being out of the city, away from home, allows students to access and grow a different part of themselves that they don’t get to in daily life. For the adults, witnessing this side of our students was incredibly meaningful,” explains Assistant Principal for Student Life Erik Landgren.
The trip was an overwhelming success! Students sang campfire songs, enjoyed s’mores, learned something new, spent meaningful time together, and made lifelong memories.