Outdoor Education & “Cool Camp”

A World of Wonder and Excitement

At KMS, we know that learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door – that nature affords an active and healthy complement to academic studies. Every day, we witness the innate enchantment children experience, exploring the outdoors on campus and their sense of accomplishment at mastering new physical skills.

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And then there is “Cool Camp.” Throughout the school year, our elementary students participate in an overnight camping trip on a 110-acre site outside of Yosemite National Park. Dubbed “Cool Camp” by the students, these excursions offer a natural extension to the KMS curriculum, with hands-on lessons in astronomy, geology and biology among others.

As the school year progresses, students track the effects of the changing seasons on the natural world and its denizens. There is a different focus each month that connects to a current classroom topic.

Preparing for such excursions gives youngsters practical, real-world experiences: planning meals, budgeting, shopping, cooking, and, yes, cleaning up and making sure they leave nothing but footprints behind.

At Cool Camp, children develop an appreciation and respect for nature that will help them become the environmentally aware and committed citizens our planet needs more than ever.

The trips also offer many opportunities for socialization, as youngsters work together, learn safety and survival skills, and share the fun of adventure. On the last night of each trip, in what has become a Cool Camp tradition, students and teacher/parent chaperones build a campfire, have a “compliment circle,” sing songs or perform skits, and in a rare, yummy and gooey exception to KMS standards of nutrition, feast on s’mores. The relationships and bonding that begin at Cool Camp carry back at school, and can endure a lifetime.