Nature’s Classroom is an annual, five-day trip for the sixth grade.
The lessons are unique to a long-term camping experience. There’s an Oregon Trail simulation, a homelessness simulation, and lessons based on conserving energy and food. We do an all day hike, It’s pretty fun with breaks for games and fun. There’s free time for Frisbee or just hanging out with your friends, maybe even making new ones!
Students stay in simple bunkhouses equipped with multiple private showers, lighting and heat. Chaplin Elementary School Teachers stay two to a room in adjacent quarters. Students are responsible for helping out with serving food and cleaning up. Everyone takes turns. Most students are pretty tired at the end of the day so they sleep well.
We climbed horizontal rock walls and did a night hike together. We learned about fungus and salamanders, we even saw beavers building their lodge.
The food was amazing! Local maple syrup, all you can eat breakfast, home made granola, Vegetarian and gluten-free options. Every meal we collectively composted and worked on measuring our food waste, learning the cost of shipping food as well as farming it.
We learned how to make a campfire with tinder and kindling and how to prepare for a long trek. We made ice cream from scratch and made art from things we found in the forest. We had a sing-along every night.
“Thursday Night Live” we wrote funny skits and performed them for the whole group. It was a blast!
We saw friends from Hampton too. Friends we knew from Little League or soccer. We played board games in the evening before bed.
Any advice for your trip to Nature’s Classroom? Learn how to pack what you need: huge suitcases are difficult to carry over rough ground and you probably didn’t need all that stuff anyway. Bring shoes for hiking! Bring a day-pack. You know, a backpack you probably already use for books? Electronics are not allowed! Don’t worry, all the grown-ups have instant contact with Nature’s classroom staff and emergency personnel.