Learning Beyond the Classroom: Outdoor Education at TCS

The Outdoor Education Program at TCS embodies our belief that student learning extends beyond our campus and classroom walls. The program allows students to disconnect from life at 345 10th Street and connect with nature, develop camping and water skills, and strengthen character traits such as resilience, flexibility, and teamwork. From cabin stays to advanced adventures like pioneer camping and white water rafting, our students embark on a progressive journey that builds both skills and memories, often echoed in their graduation speeches.

Discovering Nature’s Classroom

Starting in third grade, TCS students begin their outdoor education adventures, exploring various physiographic regions in Georgia and across the Southeast. These trips are immersive learning experiences where students engage in hiking, flatwater paddling, whitewater paddling, and camping. They learn to navigate with a compass, cook over camp stoves, and develop a deep respect for the natural world. Each fall and spring, we prepare for new adventures, with grades 3-8 participating in overnight trips as a part of our robust outdoor education programming.

Eighth Grade Adventures

The eighth grade outdoor education trips are designed to weave historical and cultural learning with environmental stewardship, aligning closely with the students’ year-long theme of “We the People.”

This fall, our eighth graders journeyed to Sapelo Island, where they set up camp and delved into the island’s rich ecosystem and cultural heritage. They learned about estuary research and rehabilitation from state representatives, explored Blackbeard’s Island, and engaged in a Gullah Geechee sweetgrass basket weaving class. These activities not only enhanced their understanding of local history and environmental science but also fostered a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of culture and nature.

In the spring, the eighth graders traveled to Beaufort, SC and visited the Penn Center, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. planned the March on Washington, and engaged with local Gullah Geechee representatives to discuss land development issues. Their trip also included exploring the Charleston City Market and the International African American Museum, culminating in a low country boil and oyster roast. This trip was a capstone experience that connected classroom learning with real-world applications, with students sharing their learning with the TCS community during their Gullah Geechee PBL Exposition.

Fourth Grade Explorations

For our younger adventurers, the fourth grade trips provide foundational outdoor skills and a hands-on approach to learning about the environment.

The fall trip to Black Rock Mountain introduced fourth graders to basic camping skills and a chance to develop resilience while away from home. They enjoyed a day hike at Tallulah State Park, made breakfast together, and visited the Foxfire Museum. These activities not only built their camping abilities but also fostered a sense of community and shared responsibility.

In the spring, the fourth graders headed to Jekyll Island, where they engaged in a variety of educational and environmental activities. They mucked in the marsh, observed sea turtles, conducted shark dissections, and seined in the ocean for fish and crab. These hands-on experiences brought their classroom studies of the Barrier Islands to life, providing a tangible connection to their curriculum and learning journey.

Connecting Curriculum to Real-World Experiences

The Outdoor Education Program at TCS is more than a series of trips; it is an integral part of our curriculum that enriches students’ learning experiences. By connecting classroom knowledge with immersive and real-world applications, our students gain a deeper understanding of the topics they study with their teachers and friends and develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives. These outdoor adventures are meant to enhance the academic growth of our students while also building lasting memories and fostering a lifelong appreciation for nature and the environment.