Each year, the individual Middle School classes and their chaperones and teachers enjoy several days away from campus in what we call the Outdoor Classrooms. In this stage between childhood and adolescence, Westminster teachers take time away from campus for an educational experience melded with class-bonding time.
Sixth Grade Outdoor Classroom
The sixth grade students travel to coastal Georgia for an educational experience at the Jekyll Island 4-H Center. The Georgia 4-H Environmental Education Program is operated by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
Students, teachers and chaperones stay in a self-contained facility on the beach. Small groups of students and chaperones are taught by Environmental Education staff in hands-on classes. Classes cover such things as island ecology, herpetology, ornithology and coastal ecosystems. Students get to touch, taste and experience the science and history they are learning.
Seventh Grade Outdoor Classroom
The seventh grade students visit Blue Ridge Outdoor Education Center as a part of their school year curriculum. The center is a program of Camp Mikell and Conference Center, which is nestled in the hills of the southern edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest, just east of Toccoa, Georgia.
The highlights of the trip include a day of white water rafting (water-level permitting), team-building exercises, navigating ropes courses through the trees, exercises in ecology and an Underground Railroad history simulation.
A trip such as this enables our students to experience learning in a way that is difficult or impossible to achieve in the classroom.
Eighth Grade Outdoor Classroom
The eighth grade students and their chaperones travel to Washington, D.C. This trip is non-stop educational fun. Mount Vernon is the first stop on the tour. Students visit the museum and tour the house and grounds.
The students take a bus tour of Embassy Row, and then make a tour of Washington National Cathedral, the National Archives (where our country’s priceless documents are housed), the Peterson House (where President Lincoln died), the International Spy Museum, Arlington National Cemetery and night tours of the Jefferson and FDR Memorials.
There is an up-close viewing of the Vietnam, Lincoln, Korean War and World War II Memorials. Students also take a tour of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing (where money is printed).
Students are awed to silence by the self-guided tour of the Holocaust Museum. There is also a self-guided tour of the Museum of Natural History. You can’t leave Washington without a tour of Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument.
To round out the experience, teachers always plan a scavenger hunt on the Washington Mall. Teams split up and solve clues to be the first to complete the list of destinations or finds.