On a gorgeous Wednesday in September, the entire Middle School—students and faculty—spent the day at Hale Reservation, a 1,100–acre nonprofit educational organization in Westwood, Massachusetts. The daylong retreat is an annual kick-off to the school year, during which students partake in problem-solving activities in mixed-grade groups.
“The eighth graders naturally take on leadership roles because they’ve been here before,” says Nicci King, Middle School counselor. “This day is a great chance for the sixth graders to get to know the older students.”
Some of the most popular activities of the day are the low and high rope elements. Every group completes at least one high rope element, which is challenging. Students are harnessed and can choose which elements to try.
“Every year, I watch a someone push farther than they think they can,” says Ms. King. “The student’s classmates provide authentic support, and a real camaraderie develops. I watch all the students take risks in calculated and thoughtful ways. When one student is belaying for another, he or she is learning how to be the safety net for a classmate. The activity is about recognizing that someone is trusting you, and feeling the responsibility that comes with that.”
Click here to view photos from the day!