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Garden City Trips

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 & Food Preparation: Students work on the farm and prepare a harvest meal from scratch. They care for the animals including feeding, observing, and gathering eggs.

Shelters: Students explore the forest and build a shelter out of materials from the forest.

Self-reliance: Students will be guided through an introduction to fire-building and exploring nighttime landscapes. Students participate in daily chores and contributing to the well-being of the whole group.

Animals & Native American Stories: Students explore the forest and observe its animals. Through the tales of the Native American students connect to the natural world through their senses.

Map-reading: Students learn the basics of navigation by learning map-reading. This is practiced on campus.

Self-reliance and collaboration: Students have the experience of cooking a meal over a communal fire. They explore nighttime landscapes with guidance. Responsible for daily chores brings meaning as the students contribute to the well-being of the whole group.

Botany: The campus of Glen Brook is the classroom for the students as they learn about the diverse organisms of the forest, fields, and garden. They study soil and compost, and learn plant identification. Exploration of edible plants including harvesting, drying, tea-making, and apple picking.

Endurance, Confidence & Collaboration: Climbing Gap Mountain brings a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment. Self-reliance expands with guided experiences of the campus at nighttime. Teamwork grows in the small group challenge of building a fire with one match.

Geology & Astronomy: Students explore hiking and archery by day and the starry skies of night. They hear constellation myths and learn to identify them in the night sky using natural sight and a telescope.

Endurance, Confidence & Collaboration: The first climb up Mt. Monadnock offers a challenge and a well-earned expansive view of New England. Students learn to build a fire with flint and steel. Through daily chores, everyone contributes to the benefit of all.

Physics & Team-building & Conflict Resolution: Physics from the classroom moves to real-life as students explore simple machines of the farm, fields, and facilities, such as the bosun’s chair. The high-ropes course offers opportunities to self-challenge as well as cooperate with others.

Leadership, Team-building & Conflict Resolution: Through the low-ropes course activities and communication games focused on social inclusion, the students explore the balance between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group. Seasonal activities such as maple sugaring and working in the greenhouse balance the group work.

Will-building: This intensive week in the outdoors is an opportunity for students to engage the body and the will to empower themselves with skills and make new connections.

Activities involve building structures for camp, iron forging, trail clearing, cooking, wood splitting, and fire-building.

Year-end Trip: This culminating trip before promotion to high school provides the class the opportunity for self and group transformation. Activities lead them to explore equity and justice, gratitude, and self-discovery while enjoying group activities of swimming and hiking.

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, the land, and 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.

The Canoeing Trip

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.

The White Mountain Trip

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 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 home base.  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.

Campers feeding goats under Camp Glen Brook's solar panels