Why do our students embark on Open Week trips at the beginning of the year? Yes, they’re fun, but it’s not simply about socializing. Open Week trips offer challenges, opportunities for transformation, and a wider world experience not available in any classroom.  

As David Sobel, Professor at Antioch University and co-founder of Harrisville Children’s Center says in the article, Nature as the Classroom, “Students need to explore their communities and environments so they develop context and understand the world around them to become thoughtful, impactful and civic-minded leaders.”

There are many comforts in modern day life, but outdoor experiences strip these comforts away and provide risk-taking opportunities. Discomfort and failure become real possibilities out in nature and they force students to grapple with and master challenges not faced at home or in modernized society. Of course, with new challenges, come new rewards!

These authentic outdoor experiences and challenges also bring students together as they face the same conditions and can engage one another with heartfelt enthusiasm. These trips start the year off by deepening friendships and encouraging respect for all classmates as these environments shine light on different student’s gifts. 

As Waldorf school’s founder, Rudolf Steiner, said, “Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.”

There is no better time for that expanded freedom than the beginning of another high school year.