A critical component to the Elementary curriculum, known as Cosmic Education, is Going Out. Students initiate their independent exploration beyond the walls of the classroom whether it is to go to a larger public library, a museum or to interview an expert in the field they are studying. These experiences are vital for students to begin navigating their world beyond home and school. Field trips are also key experiences initiated by the classroom Guides and are often linked to extensions of specific lessons.
The Upper Elementary (UE) at Butler Montessori has explored beyond the classroom quite a lot so far. To begin the year, we went on an overnight trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School on the Chesapeake Bay to develop a greater understanding of our watershed and the impact of our actions. This was followed up with our Environmental Education studies with Mrs. Downer and a day trip to Rocklands Farm. Finally, the students gained an understanding of how rainwater impacts the watershed and how Butler’s Green School initiatives play a part as they learned about our permeable paver project.
Montessori Model UN (MMUN) is another opportunity for students to explore and challenge themselves. This year, the UE sent a delegation of 6 students representing South Africa to the MMUN Conference in New York. As preparation, the students visited the embassy of South Africa, meeting with the Ambassador and other diplomats to expand their knowledge of the culture and governmental policies. The second group of students in the MMUN Prep Class traveled to the embassy of Japan. This group learned about the MMUN process in preparation to become official delegates next year.
Finally, the UE students have taken advantage of the Metro system in D.C. along with easy access to the Smithsonian and the US Capitol. Fate intervened in early December and a previously planned trip to the National Gallery of Art turned into a trip to the US Capitol to see former U.S. President, George H. W. Bush lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda. As a follow up to this opportunity, those not attending the MMUN Conference in New York returned to the US Capitol for a guided tour and trip to the Visitors’ Center.
As you can see, Going Out is an important part of the Elementary program. The Upper Elementary still has plans for the spring including a visit to Button Farm, an overnight to Saint Mary’s City, and of course, continued trips into D.C. taking advantage of our proximity to such a wealth of opportunities and experiences!
Written by Upper Elementary Guide Linda Wilson