Learning the Ropes: 5th Grade Outdoor Ed at a Lake Geneva Retreat

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By Field-Stevenson Elementary

Forest Park School District 91

Field-Stevenson students couldn't have wished for better weather for their Covenant Harbor (Snake Road) retreat in Lake Geneva last week.  Working with the Snake Road outdoor education staff, the 5th graders too part in a variety of outdoor education classes  including: archery, fishing, orienteering, basic survival and canoeing.  

Developing cooperative learning and team building skills through two "ropes" courses is the main mission at Snake Road. "Lower ropes" course challenges teams with a problem that the students had to solve as a team and without adult intervention. The team must work out the real-world frustration and impatience they experience through cooperation  and trust.  The "high ropes" course challenged the students to step up and out of their comfort zone as they traveled many feet above the ground to work toward individual goals and face their fears.

While they were not in tents, they had to go without their - - gasp -- phone and TV for over 30 hours.  They had to rely on good old social interaction, board games, books and play for entertainment.


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