During the school year, classroom walls are filled with displays of students’ work. However, in the summer at Hale Reservation, the forest trees are the medium for displaying students’ work. The 75 students of the Hale Outdoor Learning Adventure (HOLA) program had nature as their classroom in Hale Reservation’s five-week summer program.
HOLA is set in the wooded campground of Hale Reservation, and its three outdoor classrooms serve as a space where students can be fully immersed in the exploration of the program theme – Nature. Over the five weeks, students took part in a ropes course to build communication skills and mutual trust and adventured on hikes around the property to explore their vast classroom. They also utilized the nearby Noanet Pond for both swimming and learning about humans’ environmental impact on nature.
At the end of programming, families, principals, and other friends were invited to an end-of-summer barbeque to tour the HOLA classrooms and celebrate the work that the students completed this summer. Each student completed their own written and illustrated book about woodland animals, which was implemented from the American Reading Company curriculum. Approximately twenty to thirty families attended the event which featured a slideshow of SLP activities and an awards ceremony where students received certificates of completion. Several students were also given awards for perfect attendance. At the end of the evening, students proudly posed for pictures with their completed work and awards.
Students used the trees to display graphs relating to their essential question and math standards.
A proud student poses with his award after the ceremony.