January 26, 2012
Walden School believes in educating the whole child and the school’s Outdoor Education Program is rooted in experiential education influenced by John Dewey’s philosophy of purposefully engaging with students in direct experience and focused reflection in order to augment learning, comprehend consequences, and acquire skills.
On January 18, Walden School’s entire fourth grade class trekked to Astrocamp in the San Bernardino Mountains for three days of outdoor activities and dedicated instruction from physical and earth science instructors. Walden students applied their study of physics to build and launch rockets; discussed space exploration; and marveled at the wonders of the universe viewed from an astronomical telescope.
Additionally, the group of 25 outdoor learners tested their physical and mental strengths by rock climbing, hiking, and completing a challenging ropes course. Students encouraged each other to take risks and experimented with new strengths. Gabriel Robles ’14 hesitated on a platform thirty-five feet in the air strapped to a zip line with his partner, Noah Matheu ‘14. Frozen with fear, Gabriel did not think that he had the courage and confidence to make the leap from the platform. Taking a deep breath, Gabriel voiced his fear to Noah and asked Noah to force the jump. After successfully and happily landing a few exhilarating moments later, Gabriel confided to his teacher, “I think I just overcame my fear of heights.”