Skip to main content

You are here

Stanwich Students Travel the World

Thursday, May 4, 2017

From the city of lights to the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica, students learn that experiencing the journey is just as important as reaching the destination.

Stanwich believes that much of a student’s education can occur outside of the classroom. To that end, the Upper School creates opportunities for our students to engage in field-based experiences off campus. While many of these experiences make up a part of a teacher’s curriculum, such as when our students take advantage of life science related educational experiences on Long Island Sound or when students visit NYC to visit a museum or to see a play for example, students also leave campus for 3-7 days each year to engage in field-based experiences with our faculty.

This April, Stanwich’s Upper School students traveled to the Catskill Mountains, Boston, Washington, DC, Costa Rica, and Paris. At the Frost Valley YMCA in Claryville, NY, the school’s Grade 6 students spent two nights engaging in an experience focused on team building and outdoor education that encompass Stanwich values. Students spent time developing their leadership skills by completing group challenges, ropes courses, and outdoor survival tasks.  Additionally, students engaged in hands-on science related activities in ecology and geology, using the surrounding Catskill Mountains as the backdrop.   

The Grade 7 Boston trip combined American history, science and art into an engaging trip to one of our most historic cities.  After studying early American history over the course of the year, students had the opportunity to walk the Freedom Trail and see first-hand the scenes of seminal events like the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Midnight Ride, as well as the Battle of Bunker Hill and the U.S.S. Constitution. On the third day, students visited the Salem Witch Museum and the beautiful Peabody Essex Museum. Students’ understanding of science was broadened with trips to the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science. Unique aspects of Boston are highlighted in a behind the scenes tour of Fenway Park, the oldest baseball stadium in America. In addition to the academic elements, students had a chance to socialize with peers and enjoy candlepin bowling, Blue Man Group, and lunches at Quincy Market.  

For three days and two nights, students in Grade 8 journeyed to Washington, DC on a trip that infused history, the arts, and fun. On this trip, students applied the knowledge they learned in their Grade 8 history class (1860-present) including first-hand viewing of American landmarks from the Washington Monument to the Spirit of St. Louis in the National Air and Space Museum.  Students experience the tragedies of the 20th century by weaving their way through the National Holocaust Museum, and took part in the triumphs of the 1900’s by remembering our veterans at the WWII Memorial. Visits to the Lincoln Monument, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials, and a tour of the Spy Museum gave students a sense of change from the Civil War in the mid-1800’s, to the landmarks within Arlington Cemetery, to Cold War espionage.  

During their week-long trip to Costa Rica, Grade 9 students visited an iguana farm, zip-lined above the rainforest, embarked on a five-hour hike to Punta Mona, and visited a self-sustainable farm. At the Don Juan Organic Educational Farm, run by a retired geometry teacher who uses his two acres to organically farm different types of foods and other plants, students learned about the mathematics and natural simplicity of organic farming. The students worked in a yucca field, and pressed sugar cane to make a juice they sampled. A highlight of their trip was visiting the Bambu school, where on the first trip in 2008, Stanwich students gave the local students the first book for the shelves of their library. 

Heading to France for a week, members of Stanwich’s Grade 10 class were immersed in the culture of metropolitan Paris. After arriving at their charming apartments in a beautiful section of the city, students participated in a cooking class at Alain Ducasse before taking the metro to the Eiffel Tower. The group’s second day in France included a day with a trip to Versailles, where students were able to tour the palace and the gardens. Students returned to the Louvre area of the city where they enjoyed a walking tour of the beautiful Latin Quarter. The tour was tailored to what students learned in European history, such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, as well as American writers who lived in Paris such as Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The tour ended at Notre Dame Cathedral. On the third day, the group embarked on a 3 hour journey to Normandy where the students visited the cliff, La Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery & Memorial, and stopped in the towns of Arromanches and Bayeux. The following days included tours of Montmartre, the hill in front of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart), a cruise on the Seine, and a ride on the giant ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde.