Hamlin’s Outdoor Education Program provides students with outdoor experiences, outside the conventional classroom, that strive to guide students toward healthy and harmonious relationships with themselves, others, and the natural world.
The following goals are at the center of our program:
1. To provide a space for students to practice living the Hamlin Creed:
- building courage, self-resiliency, and leadership skills
- practicing responsibility and taking care of oneself
- deepening respect, practicing teamwork, and connecting with classmates
2. To enhance classroom curriculum by offering time and space to build upon concepts in the out-of-doors
3. To teach environmental stewardship to help students understand their role in the natural world
What is Outdoor Education?
Outdoor Education is often defined as “experiential learning in the outdoors” or “education outside the classroom.” Here at Hamlin, our Outdoor Education program allows students a chance to explore a variety of places in and around Northern California, including in our city and local communities. By the time students graduate, they will have backpacked, hiked, camped, climbed, played in forests, seashores, mountains, and rivers across Northern California.
Why Outdoor Education?
The Hamlin Outdoor Education program has numerous benefits, all of which enable students to leave Hamlin with the tools, skills, and knowledge to be global citizens who understand environmental protection and care as well as the importance of accessibility and diverse interests in Outdoor Education. Students will learn numerous technical and outdoor skills and experience a variety of outdoor activities in different environments. Students learn about environmental stewardship and the role they play in keeping the planet healthy. Our trips allow students to live and practice parts of the Hamlin Creed, especially Courage, Responsibility, and Respect.
Outdoor Ed Experiences for Grades K-4
Outdoor Education in Hamlin’s Lower School is rooted in our Science program and the belief that nature is one of the world’s greatest teachers. Through “nature sits”, journaling, art, and the study of local ecosystems, students build and strengthen their powers of observation and begin to see how life is a series of relationships to which we are all connected.
One huge benefit of our temporary relocation to the Presidio during the 2019-2021 school years while our main campus was under construction was access to outdoor space. We took the opportunity to use the outdoors as a classroom as much as possible while there and, after witnessing the astute observations and connections our Lower School students were able to make, we are continuing our Outdoor Education on a regular basis now that we are back at our main urban campus. This includes trips to the Presidio and other local parks, growing plants in the classroom, integrating lessons and projects from the forest into our classrooms, and teaching and learning on our brand new outdoor science terrace!
Outdoor Education is also woven throughout our curriculum. For example, in Grade 4 students explore the concept of biomimicry – the idea that we can learn from nature to make positive change in our community. Students learn about some of the incredible technological innovations that are inspired by the natural world and observe nature closely on their own to create their own designs.
As a capstone to our K-4 Outdoor Education curriculum, Grade 4 students embark on an overnight outdoor education adventure for two nights! On this trip, they visit sites like the Marin Headlands or Big Basin State Park to learn to work together as a group to set up, use, and take down a campsite. While Lower School overnight Outdoor Education trips were postponed during the pandemic, we expect them to be up and running for the 2022-2023 school year.
Outdoor Ed Experiences for Grades 5-8
- Three days, two nights – camping, hiking, and kayaking in the Santa Cruz Mountains & Elkhorn Slough
- Four days, three nights – camping, hiking, and rock climbing in Pinnacles National Park
- Four days, three nights – backpacking at Point Reyes National Seashore
- Five days, four nights – hiking in Yosemite National Park