Lower School Hike - Pushing Curiosity in a Less-familiar Place
When I think about a world-class education, my mind immediately pictures a classroom. I envision teachers engaging with students, I see students huddled together working through a problem with laptops, textbooks, tables, and white boards. However, at Waterford, our learning environment is often much larger than a traditional classroom. World-class, to me, must include every facet of our planet, including the natural one. Have you ever had a competition to see who can find the most interesting leaf while walking along a trail? How about wondering aloud about the massive rock formations which loom above us; how did they get there? Can you spell Oquirrh while looking across the Salt Lake Valley?
The opportunities to connect to our environment are practically unlimited on our 45-acre campus; however, sometimes it’s easiest to push our curiosity in a space less familiar. With the Wasatch Range as our nextdoor neighbor, the opportunity to connect to our core values, while strengthening our bodies, is a quick bus ride away. Last Friday, 37 of our Class III, IV, and V students embarked on an outdoor adventure. Some climbed up the White Pine trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Others explored the Bell Canyon Reservoir while the final group walked along the Bonneville Shoreline trail to the Bear Canyon Suspension bridge.
Waterford teachers walked alongside students and friendly banter could be heard echoing down the trail. We shaped character by teaching students about trail etiquette while also gently convincing them to push themselves outside their comfort zones. For some, our annual Lower School Fall hike is a first exposure to hiking. However, I now am hiking with students who are fifth graders and are on their third Fall hike. They share all the ways these mini-adventures have ignited their passion for being outside and connected to the environment in a new way. These young students will become stewards for our environment and I am just grateful to be there at the beginning!