Seth Paine Elementary School Taft Curriculum Components Philosophy We believe the environmental education experience enhances the potential for selfrealization. Outdoor Education also encourages a real appreciation of our environment. It also strengthens human relationships through democratic processes, and encourages civic responsibility through an understanding of our ecological role in the environment. We understand students are energetic, curious, adventuresome, fun seeking, and striving independently to identify with something larger than themselves. We work to fulfill these needs through several exercises and experiences, carefully selected to encourage the greatest possible personal growth for each child. These processes evolve by learning through direct experience. The thrills of exploration and discovery enhance the learning experience, which in turn produces a real appreciation of the world around us. Orienteering: During this activity students will discover the value and enjoyment of orienteering. They will learn the history of the compass and its value in exploration, applied work situations, and recreation. In addition to learning the parts of the compass, students will practice these skills by completing an orienteering course at Taft campus. This really puts the skills we've learned at school to the test and gives the children an opportunity to really show what they know. It's a great confidence builder. Pioneering: This activity supplements our social studies units. Historical scenes and stories will be recreated in an authentic log cabin. The children will experience a day in the life of a pioneer, and learn something about what it would have been like to grow up on the frontier. The cut, and drill, and cook, and weave, and, if they're lucky, they may even get to play an old-fashioned game. Initiatives: Initiatives are group problem solving activities in which the students work cooperatively to overcome some form of challenge. The goals of this activity are to increase the participant's sense of personal confidence, to increase mutual support within a group, and to develop an increased level of agility and physical coordination. The students really love this activity because they feel like they've overcome some difficult challenges and learned about their own strength. Instincts for Survival: This simulation activity allows children to experience the interrelationships in a food chain. Concepts such as overpopulation, conservation, specific animal traits, and the predator/prey relationship are experienced. The students take on the role of an animal in the food chain. They "survive" if they find the food and water they need without becoming the prey of another animal. Science Activities: During this activity the students will participate in a variety of natural science activities utilizing the resources of the natural environment at Taft. Topics such as river ecology, forest ecology, and birding are often investigated. The campus at Taft is rich in natural resources and the children are frequently amazed at the wonders of nature this activity opens them up to. Night Hike: When the sun starts to go down the children experience the darkness in a way few of them have before. After stories around a campfire we go on a "night hike." The students learn about their "night vision" and about how nocturnal animals use senses other than sight to find their way. The children learn to adapt to the darkness and not to fear it. Writing: No, we don't forget about books and pencils and papers totally when we go to Taft. Part of each day is spent reflecting on what we've learned. The students have a journal that they keep while they're at Taft. It's a part of the experience and an opportunity to save their thoughts and experiences. We hope they look back on this journal in later years and remember the great experience they had at Taft. Alpha Wolf: Alpha Wolf is another simulation designed to teach the children by doing. In this activity the children act out the role of wolves in a pack. They use growls, yelps, howls, and nonverbal signals to communicate with each other and to find the alpha wolf who's hiding somewhere in a large field. Independence: Of course, a big part of the "Taft Experience" is being "on your own" and away from home. Taking care of yourself and being responsible are big confidence builders. Hoppers are responsible for setting the table, serving the food, and cleaning up at meals. Everybody takes their turn. And then there's being responsible for your own clothes and for packing to go home. They all seem to manage, but some definitely find it a "new" experience. Survival Skills: The BIG thing on TV these days seems to be "survivor shows." Survival is, of course, is nothing new. Being able to live "off the land" has been an important skill that has kept people alive during extreme situations for thousands of years. Every year we read stories in the news about people surviving plane crashes, auto accidents or blizzards. This is our own version of how to survive in the wilderness taught by a real expert from Taft.