Middle and Upper Derby Academy students recently returned from a series of outdoor education and leadership programs that provided opportunities for students to challenge and apply themselves outside the classroom.
Part personal discovery, part community discovery, and part outdoor discovery; the outings are designed to challenge students and grow their confidence while learning how to lead, collaborate with others, and discover their strengths and talents. The program supports the correlation that spending time outdoors allows students to become better stewards of their environment as they develop a better sense of respect and responsibility.
Grade 8 Learns & Leads at Sargent Center
Grade 8 students visited the Sargent Center, a 700-acre outdoor education facility in Hancock, New Hampshire. During their stay, students participated in the Nature’s Classroom program, an environmental education workshop comprised of scientific field studies throughout the center’s ponds, forests, meadows, and rivers. Students also completed outdoor team-building exercises and adventure activities that enabled students to work together in groups, and develop skills in problem-solving, goalsetting, and decision-making. Events like the ropes course helped students and teachers further develop the ideas of collaboration, communication, and community as they begin their final year at Derby.
Grade 7 Studies and Explores Acadia
Grade 7 students and faculty spent September 25-28 studying the beauty, nature, and science along the hiking trails, mountains and coastlines of Maine within Acadia National Park.
On the annual class trip, students explored and gathered data while learning the history of the national park. Students were introduced to the geology and history of the area, and operated some of the technology that is used to observe, research, and record the region.
During their stay, students collected data on the diversity of marine life with tidal exercises, played the role of citizen scientists. Daily hiking and outdoor activities (despite the rain) gave students the opportunity to observe the ecology, biodiversity, and geology of the area.
Students and faculty were rewarded with incredible views of the bay between Schoodic Island and Mount Desert Island as they took photographs and made sketches to bring back into the art classes at Derby. Near the end of their adventures, students were able to quietly reflect and journal about their experiences while surrounded by beautiful landscapes and sweeping views.
Grade 6 Takes Team Building Outdoors
On September 27, Derby’s Grade 6 students traveled to Hale Reservation in Westwood to participate in the adventure education program. Group activities created a greater sense of respect for others, resulting in more self-confidence, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills, as well as a clearer sense of the students’ role in their class. Ice breakers and team building exercises focused on lessons in communication and positive reinforcement.
Obstacle courses, and the high ropes and the swing courses safely challenged students as they developed self-confidence and strengthened relationships between classmates and faculty.
The faculty members participating in the activities returned to Derby with a better knowledge of individual students, an improved sense of group dynamics, and valuable experiences to apply throughout the year in the advisory program.
Grades 4 and 5 to Camp Wing
Middle School students traveled to Camp Wing in Duxbury on September 27 to engage in a variety of programs while teambuilding with peers; climbing, canoeing, and ropes courses helped students build confidence and self-esteem while developing their interpersonal and collaboration skills.