Waldorf School of Garden City Class Trip Curriculum Guide
As an educational facility of The Waldorf School of Garden City, we welcome grades 3-12 every year. These week-long programs dovetail their Waldorf Education with Camp Glen Brook’s unique offerings.
Following is an overview of what each Garden City class trip to Glen Brook focuses on. These focus areas are balanced with the rhythm of daily chores around the kitchen and animals, work periods to improve and maintain the Camp, and free time to relax and play.
Here is a video that speaks a little bit to the importance of the sense of place established over the years at Glen Brook:
Curriculum Topics by Grade
Farming and food preparation: students work on the farm planting and harvesting vegetables, take care of the animals, grind wheat, make bread, churn butter, and enjoy a harvest meal. Students also explore the forest and build shelters, building comfort and confidence for living in the outdoors.
Animals: Students explore the forest and learn about the many animals we have living here. Students learn to walk like the fox, look like the owl, listen like the deer, and use their skills to observe the outdoors.
Botany: The outdoors of Northern New England is the fifth grader’s classroom as students explore the woods, animals, and open fields. They learn about soils, compost, and plant identification.
Astronomy & Geology: Sixth graders visit geologic attractions in the area, and spend time looking at the night sky after hearing ancient constellation stories.
Teamwork: the students participate in group challenges in preparation for going on the high ropes course.
This intensive week in the outdoors is an opportunity for students to engage the body and the will to empower themselves with skills and making new connections. Activities involve building structures for Camp, iron forging, cooking, wood splitting, fire building, and forestry.
Colonial American History: Students live and learn the diverse activities that made up life in colonial New England – from maple sugaring (at the Camp’s sugarhouse), to stone wall building, woodwork and construction technique, and handicrafts.
Together with their buddies in 12th grade, 9th graders climb Gap Mountain, swim in the lake, and work on the farm–rebuilding stone walls, harvesting food from the garden, hauling, splitting, and cutting firewood, working on trails, and taking care of the animals. The act of working on the farm connects the students to food, to the land, and to each other. Everyone has meal chores and eats together family style. In meetings with faculty advisors, 9th graders focus on preparation for their first year of high school.
In the spring students go on a full-day canoe trip and hike to the summit of Mt. Monadnock. Students also navigate a low and/or high ropes course, in which they learn ground rules and respectful communications with one another. Students gain confidence in the use of climbing equipment and learn the tangible skills of managing the equipment.
Sophomores hike in the White Mountains, where they spend two nights in an AMC Hut. The hiking trip provides a rigorous physical challenge in an ecosystem unlike any place else
on earth. When the skies are clear, vistas expand to one hundred miles around. This mountain hike gives students an experience that can be emotionally and physically uncomfortable but achievable, and they come down off the trail with a sense of confidence that could not otherwise be achieved.
After an introduction to the history of cartography and orienteering, students learn to use a compass, read a topographical map, and take on navigation challenges through the Glen Brook Forest. For their final challenge, students are equipped with a map, a compass, and food and are dropped off in small groups miles from Camp, from where they navigate their way through the woods to homebase. Students learn to rely on their tools, their senses, and their team to complete the wilderness trek back to Camp.
Seniors enjoy winter sports and activities in Glen Brook’s winter wonderland (cross-country skiing, ice skating, hockey, and sledding). Students reflect on their past educational years, and they anticipate future possibilities as they envision life after high school. Contemplative exercises invite Seniors to reflect on questions such as “What do I value?” and “How can I, as an individual, contribute to a sense of community?”
Just a few days before Graduation, the Seniors spend a few days in June celebrating and working together at Glen Brook. Students participate in a stewardship project, host a dance in the Barn, create special meals, and design other celebrations which highlight their high school accomplishments. The final trip to Glen Brook allows for closure and is an opportunity for the Seniors to be together and to say farewell to each other.