OUTDOOR EDUCATION IS AN INTEGRAL PART of a student’s experience at Friends Academy. Students in all three division go on trips lasting from one day in lower school to four days in ninth grade. There are so many benefits to these trips they have their own set of SPICES.
S - Simplicity: These trips allow student to experience life with less stuff, even if it for just a few days. However, that is only one benefit, while on the trip the students can be focused on the here and now because there are fewer distractions, life is simpler and it is easier to be in the moment.
P - Play: These trips are fun and children need to have fun in the outdoors. On average children today spend less than a 1/2hr a week in free play outdoors. Their time is limited by overscheduled lives, less undeveloped land and fear. Children need to play. It helps increase a sense of wonder just as it builds creativity and the ability to cooperate, but mainly it is fun.
I- Interrelationships: While on the outdoor education trips children become more aware of the countless interactions in which they are intwined. This includes learning more about how they are a part of the natural world. They become more connected to their school community by spending time with classmates and teachers in a new setting. A study out of UCLA showed that in just a few days without cell phones students on outdoor education trips improve their ability to read facial cues and recognize the emotions of others compared to students who did not go on the trip..
C - Challenges: The trips provide many opportunities for students to take on new challenges. They range from packing their own suitcase to climbing a mountain. The challenge may be as simple as trying a new food at dinner or trusting their classmates to help them over a 12 foot wall. These challenges help to build resilience and confidence through real situations.
E - Environment: It is essential that our children understand the interrelationships that support all life on earth. The outdoor education trips allow students to learn this through direct experience. The knowledge they gain by being in the outdoors will be critical in knowing how the world works. It is only with this knowledge that we can make better decisions in care of the planet.
S- Stewardship: All of these experiences add up to give the students the knowledge, experience and power to live lives that take action being good stewards of the earth.