Class trips are a highlight for Brookwood Upper School students each year, providing unique opportunities for bonding and team building, individual and group goal-setting, and kicking off the year with a purposeful, playful tone.
Grade 6 | Hulbert Outdoor Center | Fairlee, VT
The Hulbert Outdoor Center staff, along with Brookwood's Team Six advisors, led 6th graders through a 3 dayprogram designed to foster personal growth, self-reliance, confidence, cooperation, and a sense of community. Highlights of the trip included a canoe trip down the Connecticut River, an egg drop competition, star-gazing and archery sessions. In the evening, students gathered around the campfire for activities like shaving cream beard challenges and cookie games, which were intentionally designed to draw students out of their comfort zones, ultimately creating a sense of trust and camaraderie. From navigating river currents to helping prepare dinner in small groups, they learned the importance of teamwork, respect and resiliency. Students returned to the Brookwood campus energized and ready to dive into their first year as members of the Upper School.
Grade 7 | Camp Caribou | Winslow, ME
Located on a 200-acre peninsula on Pattee Pond, Camp Caribou provided an opportunity for 7th graders to partake in activities that challenged them both physically and mentally. Students participated in team building initiatives that exercised communication, trust, leadership and independence. Navigating a low ropes course encouraged them to come up with a plan, communicate, trust one another and execute. They learned from their missteps, and made second - or sometimes third - attempts using different approaches amidst encouragement from their peers. Faculty asked students to participate in the zip line and at least one high ropes element, which resulted in everyone accepting the challenge! While maneuvering along a high ropes course came easier for some students than it did for others, 100% participation embodied the spirit of this class trip: stepping out of your comfort zone can be exhilarating and liberating when you can count on the support and encouragement of your peers (and safety harnesses!). Growth mindset is an ongoing theme discussed throughout the school year with 7th graders. A growth mindset enables a student to think in terms of "not yet" instead of "can't." For example, the first time a child attempts something like a math problem or a soccer move, it can be challenging. But with a growth mindset, and through repetition, practice and persistence, it becomes easier and faster. Applying a growth mindset to activities like those tackled at Camp Caribou enabled students to unlock their maximum potential.
Grade 8 | Farm School | Athol, MA
At Farm School, 8th graders experienced first hand what it means to be stewards of the earth. Students worked side by side with farmers in caring for animals, tending gardens, harvesting vegetables, splitting wood, cooking, and cleaning after meals. Each student had a chance to milk a cow, interact with goats and chickens, and the Farm's favorite dog, Gus, who has his own Facebook page! They built an electric goat enclosure. They trimmed piles of green beans and deveined kale. They went on hikes in the woods. They recovered escaped baby goats. They sang and told stories around a camp fire. Throughout the experience, they absorbed and embodied the one Farm School rule: "Be kind." It was a great trip for the students and their advisors, and this year's class continued the legacy of respect between Brookwood and the Farm School farmers, who year after year remark that Brookwood seems to have a culture that prompts kids to engage with courtesy, courage and kindness.
In addition to the class trips that Upper School students embark on each fall, outdoor learning takes place every day at Brookwood. The natural capital just beyond our courtyard is an ever-evolving, rich learning environment for children of all ages. Students work with their hands in the earth, tending seedlings and nourishing butterflies and chickens with plants they have cultivated; they go on insect safaris and explore forest ecology, mapping the flow of water through our campus; older students study bee keeping and examine the intertidal zone at West Beach and coastline throughout the North Shore. In each case, Brookwood students witness the ebb and flow of nature as they begin to cultivate a personal relationship with the outdoors as both a teacher and guide. Learn more about how outdoor learning benefits children of all ages through the download link below.