Last week over 60 of Montessori Center School’s fourth, fifth and sixth grade students set out on a voyage spending five days at NatureBridge Institute located within the majestic Yosemite National Park. As part of the school’s unique approach to educational outings, MCS Upper Elementary students (grades 4thprogram. The students alternate between Astrocamp, Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) and NatureBridge Institute located in Yosemite, at the beginning of each school year. This has become a well-loved tradition at MCS, which the teachers and students alike look forward to.) rotate between attending three different camps during their time in the -6th
NatureBridge Institute, located in one of nature’s greatest classrooms, Yosemite National Forest, focuses on science education giving students rich learning opportunities that cannot be obtained in a regular classroom setting. Students are provided with dynamic hands-on activities among ancient sequoias with one of earth’s most dramatic geological landscapes as their background. Most importantly students are given the opportunity to study human impacts on nature and learn about ways to become environmental stewards. The focus on working collaboratively in labs and during projects and games creates a great deal of team building amongst the children.
All of the camps are specifically designed to inspire students towards future success in their academic and personal growth, which is very aligned with the Montessori approach to learning. MCS Head of School, Patricia Colby, has this to say about the camp experiences, “Participation in outdoor learning activities with teachers, youth workers and peers reinforces a positive attitude towards education as well as to becoming environmentally conscience citizens. We really believe these types of outings contribute greatly to the general ethos of our school community. Experiences like this stimulate and reinforce learning across many areas of the curriculum, and the use of the outdoors encourages young people to take greater responsibility for their own learning and acquisition of knowledge, which Montessori is a great proponent of.”
Montessori Center School, located on Fairview Avenue in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.
Photo: Three MCS Upper Elementary students journaling on a hike in Yosemite National Park