Tableman: The Peak School and outdoor ed
Ryan Summerlin March 23, 2013
As my daughter attends The Peak School, I am often asked about it and what it is like. My response always begins the same: She loves it and it is meeting her needs. I have a child who loves to go to school and comes home wanting to do her homework and is excited about what she is learning. What more can a parent ask for? As I look back on the first year of The Peak School, it is clear to me that the students – whether extremely bright, normal or challenged by learning differences – are all being asked to think for themselves, engage in their learning and take ownership for what they learn. It is exciting to see and to watch the changes which result.
One of the key elements of The Peak School education that she especially likes is outdoor education. It is the epitome of experiential education and takes advantage of the school’s location in Summit County. Outdoor activities are integrated into the overall curriculum. It may be brief (a five-minute trip outside to make observations), short-term (a 30-minute data-gathering expedition), or extended (a full-day or multi-day excursion).
There is also a formal “outdoor education” class where students learn camping and orienteering skills as well as their role in being stewards for the environment. Through all of these activities, the students learn about the outdoors and incorporate those lessons into their other subjects. Special outdoor-focused activities, such as the schoolwide camping trip at the beginning of the year and the hut trip to Vance’s Cabin on skis or snowshoes, help build a sense of community and accomplishment.
I urge anyone interested in seeing what a “Peak” education is like to go visit the school.
Martha Tableman, Dillon