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Outdoor Program

Get Outdoors!

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Message from the Outdoor Program Director In this day of smartphones, iPads, and Wiis, our kids have more distractions competing for their attention than ever before. One of the most basic goals of the SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program is to introduce students to a place where they can leave these things behind and engage in a different kind of experience, one that focuses on the world and people around them in a setting that nurtures open minds, eyes, and ears: the outdoors. The Outdoor Program is designed to give students a chance to learn and grow outside the classroom. Almost every month in grades 2 through 4 (or 5 for our boys), students explore the outdoors. We believe that giving children the opportunity to spend more time outdoors gives them the chance to appreciate the intrinsic value of nature and build confidence and independence in the natural world around them. We are extremely fortunate to have an amazing resource right at our backdoor, and we take full advantage of this sylvan gift. With boots on and tools in hand, all Lower School students spend a considerable amount of time exploring the Wissahickon Valley and the Fairmount Park system, one of the country’s largest urban parks. The Outdoor Program builds and grows as do our students. Initially spending the majority of outdoor time in the Wissahickon Valley, by the time students reach the fourth (and fifth grades for boys), they venture a little farther afield with many of the trips connecting to their classroom study. Fourth grade students visit Hawk Mountain to watch raptors migrate along the eastern flyway, and they explore the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum to experience a pocket of habitat that shares space with an international airport. Fifth grade boys sail on the Chesapeake, camp in the Poconos, and visit colonial Williamsburg. Applying traditional classroom knowledge in new environments and settings, they learn basic outdoor skills they can carry with them for years to come. Under the canopy of the forest, our students learn to become good stewards of the land, to respect the resource that is ours to protect and maintain, and build an ethic of caring for our surroundings so that we—and those who follow—can have the same if not better opportunities to learn and explore in these wild spaces. By exposing our students to the outdoors, we broaden their worldview and expand their understanding of the environments around them. Not surprisingly, they become more comfortable and confident in new and unfamiliar surroundings in the future. The more of the world you see and understand, the smaller and less daunting it becomes. We know from our students’ own words that many of the Outdoor Program experiences are amongst their most memorable ones at SCH Academy. We are proud to launch our students on a lifelong relationship with the natural world and the intrinsic joy found in getting outdoors. Jamie LaMent Lower School Outdoor Program Director Springside Chestnut Hill Academy e: jlament@sch.org | t: @SCHOutdoors | c: 610-212-2432

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Our outdoor classroom: the Wissahickon Valley adjacent to our campus

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Goals of the SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program To expand the learning environment and increase outdoor time for SCH students To support the work of the Lower School environmental education classes To build stewardship and respect for the environment To build social-emotional learning: problem solving, critical-thinking skills, collaboration, and team-building skills • To build survival skills: safety strategies, mapmaking, and orienteering • To build community: at the grade level and by involving parents and families

• • • •

Lower School for Boys: First Grade

Fifth Grade

 Big Brother-Little Brother Hike

     

Second Grade    

Trout Hike Bike Hike Low Ropes Philadelphia Rock Gym

Lower School for Girls:

Third Grade       

Safety Hike Mapmaking Hike Valley Forge National Park Hot Dog Hike Pennypack Creek Hike Mother-Son Overnight Ringing Rocks

Second Grade  Philadelphia Rock Gym  Wissahickon Cookout

Third Grade  Trout Hike  Hawk Mountain Sanctuary  Girls’ Overnight

Fourth Grade       

Wissahickon Water Testing/Fingerspan Bridge Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) Big Brother-Little Brother Hike Orienteering Sailing on Schooner Sultana Colonial Williamsburg

Bike Hike Lenni-Lenape Hike Hawk Mountain Sanctuary John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum Father-Son Overnight High Ropes Course Canoe Trip

Fourth Grade  Wissahickon Geology/Fingerspan Bridge  Ringing Rocks

Trout in the Classroom

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Lower School Boys 4 Second Grade Trout Hike

This trip partners with the SCH Academy Lower School Science Department as the field study side of our Trout in the Classroom program. The boys hike into the Wissahickon to conduct water quality test, habitat surveys, and gather a better understanding of the requirements of the trout they will be raising from eggs in the classroom. There is also a spring Trout Hike to release the young trout into the Wissahickon.

Bike Hike

Low Ropes

For this trip we go on an adventurous Bike Hike approximately six miles in length. We hike down to the Valley Green Inn from school where our bikes are waiting for us. We mount up and ride west on Forbidden Drive, stopping for a snack in the meadow at the stables on Northwestern Avenue. On the return trip, we stop for a streamside lunch on the banks of the Wissahickon. After lunch, we ride back to the Valley Green Inn where we drop our bikes and hike back to school. This is great parentstudent experience and a chance for students to explore the Wissahickon by bicycle.

The second grade boys spend the morning working on trust, team building, and coming together as a class with fun and challenging elements on the SCH low ropes course. The boys use their problem solving skills and inventive ideas to tackle obstacles like the Team Traverse, Pinnacle of Fire, and the Lava Crossing. Philadelphia Rock Gym The class takes a day trip to the Philadelphia Rock Gym for an indoor introduction to the sport. The trip takes place in February and gets the kids involved in a summertime outdoor activity in the depth of winter.

4 Third Grade Safety Hike

The Safety Hike is the first hike of the year for third grade and serves as an introduction to serious hiking in the Wissahickon Valley. During the hike, students learn the basics of being safe and smart while in the woods as well as the importance of practicing the “Leave No Trace� ethic. We stress the importance of respecting everyone and everything we encounter on our adventures in the woods. We also introduce some common trail hazards such as poison ivy and stinging nettles and how to avoid them.

Mapmaking Hike

The Mapmaking Hike is a chance to learn about landmarks and dead reckoning as the students design and create their own map of a section of the Wissahickon. We hike into the park and explore the area around the Indian statue. Afterwards we sit streamside and create our own maps of the area we have just surveyed. This hike teaches self-awareness in the outdoors and builds confidence in our ability to operate in outdoor settings.

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Valley Forge National Park

Hot Dog Hike

Pennypack Creek Hike

Mother-Son Overnight

This trip is the second in a series of trips/hikes based on the third grade curriculum. During the trip, the class visits the Welcome Center at the Valley Forge National Park to see a movie and complete a scavenger hunt. The class has an opportunity to learn about the important role that Valley Forge played during the American Revolution as well as see how the soldiers lived during the winter encampment of 1777-78. After visiting the Welcome Center, the students hike several of the park’s many trails and visit reconstructions of the soldiers’ huts, see the Artillery Park, and visit a few of the memorials, monuments, and markers. The hike loop covers approximately three miles before we head back to SCH Academy.

This trip provides the students with an opportunity to explore and observe the Wissahickon Creek watershed during the winter. We hike to the covered bridge where we learn the basics of building a safe campfire. Once the fire is going, we break out the hot dogs and cook our lunch over it. After we have had our fill, we hike back to school via the Indian statue.

This early spring hike through the Pennypack Creek Restoration Trust property in Huntingdon Valley, PA allows the third graders to explore a private preserve. The students hike through deciduous hardwood forests as well as meadow and marsh ecosystems. They eat lunch on the edge of the Pennypack Creek, where they can explore the stream bank. This trip helps students understand the value of citizen stewardship, as the Trust property is an example of a green space saved by individuals in a community. It shows that with community effort and action, open spaces can be saved and protected for their intrinsic value.

The Mother-Son Overnight is designed to give students a chance to spend time with their mothers or another important person in their lives away from home in a new setting. The trip is based around tent camping under the stars at the historic Daniel Boone Homestead. After arriving at the homestead, we pitch our tents and make camp. Afterwards we tour and explore the homestead following in the footsteps of Daniel Boone and experiencing the life of a frontier family. We spend the remainder of the day fishing and playing games before prepping our campsite for a fire-cooked dinner. After dinner it’s ghost stories and S’mores by the fire before heading to bed in our tents. In the morning, the class packs up, eats breakfast, and drives to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, where the boys take part in a scavenger hunt with their parent while touring the grounds. After everyone has completed the scavenger hunt, the class hikes to Hopewell Lake for a picnic lunch before returning home.

Ringing Rocks

At Ringing Rocks Park in Bucks County, PA, we explore a boulder field filled with iron-rich rocks that actually ring when they are struck by a hammer. We will also take a long hike through the woods and then up and along a streambed with a stop for lunch at the bottom of a waterfall.

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


4 Fourth Grade

Bike Hike

Lenni-Lenape Hike

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

Father-Son Overnight

High Ropes Course

Canoe Trip

The Bike Hike is a long bike trip, nearly 19 miles, in which the class travels through the majority of Fairmount Park along the Wissahickon Creek and Schuylkill River. The class stops frequently to rest and regroup as well as to learn about some of the natural and historical landmarks along the route. We discuss the history of the waterworks area, the dam, the Schuylkill Navy, and the new fish ladder. At the halfway point, the class eats lunch at the school boathouse on the Schuylkill River before biking back to Valley Green Inn and hiking home.

On this hike we wander the hiking trails of the Wissahickon and follow in the historical footsteps of the Lenni-Lenape Indians. We hike to the statue of the Indian for lunch and then on to the Wissahickon Environmental Education Center where we learn about the Lenni-Lenape and their lives in the Wissahickon Valley. We talk about how the native peoples used the valley and its resources to provide for their families, identifying edible plants and the tools used for hunting and gathering. At more than six miles, this is the longest hike of the year for the fourth grade boys.

The Hawk Mountain trip is a chance to see hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures in a natural setting as they fly south. The unique geology of Hawk Mountain forces many of the raptors along the East Coast to fly right over the observation points, giving students the opportunity to see dozens of raptors in the time it takes to eat lunch. The trip also includes a two-mile rugged ridgeline hike to visit all the observation points.

On our trip to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, the class has an opportunity to learn about a wetland ecosystem and see many different species of migratory birds and other wildlife while hiking the park’s trails. This is an amazing opportunity to experience a pocket of wildlife in the middle of one of our city’s most urban and industrial settings. Examples of niche ecosystems pocketed in an extremely urban area are great reminders of the need for conservation of open space.

This is a trip that is designed to allow sons to bond with their fathers (or another important family member). The trip includes a visit to the Landis Valley Farm Museum, some amazing hiking, and introductions to basic backpacking practices. The students and parents stay in tents under the stars at Boy Scout Camp Mac. Dinner is cooked fireside and the dads prepare a French toast breakfast in the morning. The highlights include a father-son kickball game, hiking, and catch-and-release fishing in the lake.

We visit the High Ropes Course on the Cherokee Campus to work on our teamwork and confidence high in the canopy of the tulip poplars. We learn the basics of rope handling, belay techniques, and good communication skills, all while negotiating obstacles 30 feet in the air.

The fourth grade parent-son Canoe Trip sends us on an adventure down the Brandywine River. We paddle slow meanders and tackle the rapids while we learn the basics of canoe handling, paddling, reading the river, portage, and working together to keep our canoes headed downstream. Along the way, we may spot bald eagles, river otters, and numerous species of waterfowl.

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


4 Fifth Grade Wissahickon Water Testing/Fingerspan Bridge This trip leads us to Devil’s Pool on Cresheim Creek where we do water quality testing above and below the confluence with the Wissahickon. We discuss factors on water quality and urban impacts on runoff. We also hike to the Fingerspan Bridge to cross the functional sculpture as it clings to the valley wall above the creek.

Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC)

Big Brother-Little Brother Hike

This is a two-night overnight to the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in Dingmans Ferry, PA, where students take part in many exciting activities. We go on a long hike through varied ecosystems—the highlight being an amazing waterfall. We canoe, study wetlands, fossils, and learn about fish, reptiles, and amphibians native to the area. We go for a night hike, honing our night vision and learning to trust our senses to guide us in the dark. We stargaze and study astronomy far away from the light pollution of the city. We examine what good backpackers should have in their pack and revisit team building on the ropes course. On this trip we stay in yurts—circular huts originally designed by the nomadic horse people of Mongolia and central Asia. PEEC is a great trip, and we look forward to it every year.

The Big Brother-Little Brother Hike is part of a mentoring program in which first grade students are paired with fifth grade students. The fifth grade students are responsible for introducing the first graders to trail hiking, safety, and etiquette. During the trip both classes are introduced to aquatic entomology and the role and importance of aquatic insects in the Wissahickon Watershed.

Orienteering

On the orienteering trip, we learn to read a map and use dead reckoning to determine our position in the woods. Orienteering is the sport of navigation with a map and sometimes a compass. The object of orienteering is to find a series of points in the woods and do it in the shortest amount of time possible. The points on the course are marked with orange and white flags and hole punches, so students can prove they have been to each location. The class works together in small groups to find their way in the woods using good observational skills while working together in small groups to accomplish their goals.

Sailing on Schooner Sultana

Colonial Williamsburg

The fifth grade will sail the Chesapeake Bay on the historic schooner Sultana in Chestertown, MD. The trip allows the class to learn about the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay as well as see firsthand what life was like on an 18th century sailing vessel. We tour a shipyard, explore the village, and learn the ropes aboard Sultana.

On the fifth grade overnight, we visit Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, and several other historic sites in Virginia. Over three days and two nights of tent camping on the banks of the Chickahominy River, the class tours Colonial Williamsburg and participates in amazing activities, recreating what life was like in a colonial city. This is a culmination of the fifth grade classroom studies and an amazing opportunity to stretch their wings and learn away from home.

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Lower School Girls

Girls Pre-K–4 enjoy a robust “boots-on” environmental education (EE) curriculum in addition to an integrated, multidisciplinary science program and the Lower School Outdoor Program. During their EE classes, the girls GET OUTDOORS regularly using the neighboring Wissahickon as their outdoor laboratory to focus on forest, garden, and stream habitats, rocks, minerals, trees, and more. Girls practice nature journaling and observation skills as part of the EE experience as well.

The Outdoor Program for girls—piloted last year—was modeled after the highly successful version across the street that has been taking place for years with our youngest boys. Between EE and our new Outdoor Program for girls, we are proud to help cultivate girls with strong outdoor skills, confidence and independence in the world around them, and a wonderful appreciation of the intrinsic value of nature.

4 Second Grade

Philadelphia Rock Gym

The class takes a day trip to the Philadelphia Rock Gym for an indoor introduction to the sport. The trip takes place in February and gets the kids involved in a summertime outdoor activity in the depth of winter. Wissahickon Cookout This trip serves as both a hike and the end-of-year party for the second grade. We hike to the covered bridge where we meet up with the parents. We celebrate a great year with campfire cooking and special treats on the banks of the Wissahickon Creek. After we have had our fill, we hike back to school via the Indian statue.

4 Third Grade Trout Hike

This trip partners with the SCH Science Department as the field study side of our Trout in the Classroom program. The girls hike into the Wissahickon to conduct water quality tests, habitat surveys, and gather a better understanding of the requirements of the trout they will be raising from eggs in the classroom. There is also a spring Trout Hike to release the young trout into the Wissahickon.

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Girls’ Overnight

The Hawk Mountain trip is a chance to see hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures in a natural setting as they fly south. The unique geology of Hawk Mountain forces many of the raptors along the East Coast to fly right over the observation points, giving students the opportunity to see dozens of raptors in the time it takes to eat lunch. The trip also includes a two-mile rugged ridgeline hike to visit all of the observation points.

The parent-child overnight is designed to give students a chance to spend time with a parent or another important person in their lives away from home in a new setting. The trip is based around tent camping under the stars at the historic Daniel Boone Homestead. After arriving at the homestead, we pitch our tents and make camp. Afterwards we tour and explore the homestead following in the footsteps of Daniel Boone and experiencing the life of a frontier family. We spend the remainder of the day fishing and playing games before prepping our campsite for a fire-cooked dinner. After dinner, it’s ghost stories and S’mores by the fire before heading to bed in our tents. In the morning, the class packs up, eats breakfast, and drives to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, where the class enjoys a scavenger hunt with their parent while touring the grounds.

4 Fourth Grade

Wissahickon Geology/Fingerspan Bridge

Ringing Rocks

This trip leads us to Devils’ Pool on Cresheim Creek where we study the geology of the area around the confluence with the Wissahickon. We discuss factors of geological formation and the different minerals found at the site. We also hike to the Fingerspan Bridge to cross the functional sculpture as it clings to the valley wall above the creek.

At Ringing Rocks Park in Bucks County, PA, we explore a boulder field filled with iron-rich rocks that actually ring when they are struck by a hammer. We will also take a long hike through the woods and then up and along a streambed with a stop for lunch at the bottom of a waterfall.

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Trout in the Classroom This year we are proud to announce the introduction of the “Trout in the Classroom” Program at SCH Academy, a wonderful partnership between the Outdoor Program and the Lower School Science Department. As with all of our outdoor programs and environmental education curriculum, we are excited by the interdisciplinary applications in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, visual arts, and physical education. Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a conservation-oriented environmental education program designed to connect students to their watersheds. In this pilot year, our second grade boys and third grade girls will take the lead, although we fully expect that other grades will enjoy the derivative benefits of the fish tanks in the hallway and the expertise imparted by their peers. Throughout the school year, students will raise trout from eggs to fry and then release them into the Wissahickon Creek. This act of raising, monitoring, and caring for young trout fosters a conservation ethic within participating students and promotes an understanding of their shared water resources. While the immediate goal of TIC is to increase student knowledge of water quality and coldwater conservation, its long-term goal is to reconnect an increasingly urbanized population of youth to the system of streams, rivers, and watersheds that sustain them.

Objectives:  Get the students outside in the watershed to do firsthand research on trout habitat and water quality  Raise brook trout by observing and monitoring a coldwater ecosystem in a classroom aquarium  Identify stages of the brook trout life cycle  Recognize brook trout as “indicator species” for healthy coldwater streams   Describe conditions needed for brook trout survival in the classroom aquarium and in nature  Foster awareness and knowledge about coldwater conservation in students  Encourage continued participation in coldwater conservation, management, and recreation programs

About TIC TIC programs have been in place all across the country for more than 20 years, the results of numerous collaborations between teachers, volunteers, government agencies, and local organizations including (but not limited to) Trout Unlimited. The programs were designed specifically for teachers who wanted to incorporate more environmental education into their curriculum. www.troutintheclassroom.org

Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


Get outdoors! | SCH Academy Lower School Outdoor Program


SCH Academy Outdoor Program