Outdoor Education in Upper Elementary (Grades 4-6) and Middle School (Grades 7-8)
As students move into the upper elementary and middle school years, outdoor education becomes a more integrated part of the Montessori classroom Upper Elementary and Middle School curricula. The Montessori lens of cosmic education – exploring the relationship of humans with their local environments and supporting students as they grow toward personal activism in the greater community – underpins the student experience with the outdoors. Practical life skills such as whittling, constructing fires, dissecting salmon on the banks of the Cedar River, and building bird and bat houses are just a few of the hands-on learning pursuits available to older students. Through observation and interaction with our natural environment, students generate thought-provoking questions, which are often met by the teachers with, “How can you find the answer?” or “How can I help you find the answer?” These inquiry-based projects often lead to student research and presentations, which are shared with their classmates, teachers, and other interested community members, strengthening human bonds and solidifying knowledge. Additionally, students continue their specialized experiences in Animal Care and Behavior and Gardening and Environmental Studies classes.