Tag Archives: outdoor learning experience

Middle School Students Unplug from Electronics for A Week-Long Montessori School Retreat

Baltimore, MD, September 18, 2015 — /EPR EDUCATION NEWS/ — During their second week of school, Greenspring Montessori School adolescent students lived unplugged from cell phones, television, and computers for a truly immersive outdoor learning experience. The Adolescent Community – a group of 8 students ages 12 to 14 – traveled to Echo Hill Camp on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay for a week-long school retreat. They built campfires in a survival class, explored the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem by boat, participated in team-building challenges, and slept outdoors under canvas tents. Accompanied by their instructors, Christina Soares-Heffner and Elliot Dickson, the students learned so much about the natural environment and about themselves.

Christina emphasized, “Each activity, including no flushing toilets and outside showers, challenged and stretched our adolescents into growing and learning in new ways.”

Outdoor learning is a key element of Montessori education, and a major focus at Greenspring Montessori School. The Adolescents’ retreat is a key part of the upcoming year-long study of the natural environment. As part of their Occupations and Humanities studies, the Adolescents have also established a relationship with Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD. Several days a week, the class travels to the park to conduct field experiments, hold naturalist seminars, and partner with naturalists to learn more about the area.

About Greenspring Montessori School

Greenspring Montessori School serves children ages 18 months to 14 years old, igniting students’ passion and curiosity for lifelong learning using an authentic Montessori model. Montessori classrooms facilitate hands-on learning, extended periods of concentration, and collaborative experiences. For over 50 years, Greenspring Montessori School has been serving the Baltimore community. Discover more about Greenspring Montessori School on our website at https://www.greenspringmontessori.org/.


Greenspring Montessori School
10807 Tony Drive, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093
Telephone: 410-321-8555
Email: inform@greenspringmontessori.org


Bay Studies with Captain Annie
Bay Studies with Captain Annie
Outdoor learning is a key element of Montessori education
Outdoor learning is a key element of Montessori education

From Luca: Scanoeing, swamp canoeing, was my favorite activity even though I fell in up to my knee in mud! Luckily I was wearing a pair of rubber boots! When putting on our live vests, we spotted several frogs, which we observed. We also saw a rare ribbon snake who had just shed. It was a gorgeous day on the canoe. One of my favorite activities was seeing the beaver lodges, which Seth, one of our guides, told us about. There were also many beautiful American lotus flowers that everyone thought was cool.

From Zoe: I think that the sleeping situation at Echo Hill was fun and exciting. We got to sleep on tent platforms with canvas to really experience what it is like to sleep outside. We had mosquito netting over our beds and got to ensure the sound of a rainstorm one night. It was nice being able to bond and get closer to the people in my tent. The bathrooms and showers were interesting. I have never taken an outdoor shower before, and I definitely prefer to shower indoors with curtains. Not having flushing toilets was unique, however next year, I’m bringing Febreeze.

From Augie: Echo Hill’s survival class taught me how to control myself in a survival situation. I learned how to construct a fire and and gather the right materials for a shelter. I also learned the importance of food and water and how to scavenge for it. Overall it was an exceptional experience. Even though everything is a challenge, moving forward I feel more confident in a survival situation!

From Franklin: During our great four days at Echo Hill, we were challenged by the pathfinder. The pathfinder is a rock wall with a cargo net and a rope that you have to climb to reach the trapezes at the top. The pathfinder allowed us to overcome our fears of height, tested our strength, and helped us work as a team. To make us work more as a team, we all had to belay each other. It was amazing to see everybody attempt to reach the top. Some of us were scared, and would get stuck in certain spots, but we all helped each other reach our goals. Another thing that the pathfinder taught us was to create goals. Everyone created and accomplished goals, and even created new ones for next year when we return. Overall the pathfinder was a great and really fun learning experience.

From Willow: The bay studies class was fun and informative. We learned a lot about the water and how it is being polluted. We learned about all the types of creatures that live in the bay. For example the eel. We learned about the different parts of fish. We also got to kiss a rockfish which was pretty cool and funny. We got a chance to touch the eel, and learn about how they nest and reproduce. It was really cool touching the eel. It felt kind of like a snake, but slimy. We learned about the water’s colors and how we see different shades of blue, green, and brown. Captain Annie took a clear glass and asked us what color we see in the water. Some of us said brown, and some of us said green. She filled the clear glass up with water and we all saw clear water. We also learned about the blue crab. We learned that a crab can last 48 hours out of water, how it gets oxygen, and how it can detach its claws from its body when in danger.

From Garrick: Orienteering at Echo Hill was very fun. We started talking about the parts of a compass and how to find north. Next, we were given a specific bearing, a direction, and then had to align our compasses correctly. Finally, we got to make our own maps of any any we wanted and each map included a key, compass, and legend. Overall, I had a really great time in my orienteering class, hosted by Mr. Cole, and am looking forward to going back to Echo Hill next fall.