March 29

As next week arrives, we will find our campus feeling a bit on the empty side. Our entire middle school departs over the weekend on long-anticipated class trips to Crow Canyon, Catalina Island, and Washington, D.C. Each of these trips complements our curriculum and will include lots of memories for our students. These are fabulous experiences and opportunities on many levels. On one level, lessons taught in the classroom will come to life through experiential learning. It’s one thing to read and study about cliff dwellers. Climbing to an actual cliff dwelling and seeing where and how early Native Americans lived is totally another thing. The study of marine biology takes on a new level of understanding when you are snorkeling or hiking in coastal areas of California. And the experience of worship in the National Cathedral, or meeting our Congressional representative, or sitting in the Supreme Court, brings a new understanding and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy in our democratic society.

In addition to experiential learning, on another level, our students become closer with classmates and bond as a class through these shared experiences. They become more independent, self-confident, and mature as they step outside of the comfort zone of home and school. They lean on each other more and see classmates through different lenses as they share time together away from normal routines. On a smaller scale, our fifth graders are preparing for their step-up to middle school as they travel to Phoenix for a full day, visiting the state capital, sitting in the Senate chamber, experiencing the Arizona Science Center, and seeing our state capitol up close and personal following two years of studying Arizona history. And the highlight of that trip? Well, it’s the bus trip, of course!!

Certainly these experiences are an important part of the balanced education that St. Michael’s students enjoy. Class trips and field trips to places that support our classroom studies build deeper levels of understanding, not just of curriculum but of individuals as well. There is always a growing sense of accomplishment and with each experience comes a new level of growth and understanding of the world in which we live. That growth happens in mind, body, and spirit and forms the memories and friendships that last a lifetime through the times shared at St. Michael’s. It’s one of the many ways that the St. Michael’s experience makes a difference in this chapter in each child’s life. Bon voyage, young explorers! Oh, the places you will go.

Margaret Moore

Head of School