Erdkinder (Outdoor Education) 9-12
"Men with hands and no head, and men with head and no hands are equally out of place in the modern community...Therefore the work on the land is an introduction both to nature and civilization and gives a limitless field for scientific and historic studies...The rural atmosphere offers students a kind of ‘place apart'-a safe and healthy environment to promote their transition into adulthood" (From Childhood to Adolescence, Maria
The Erdkinder (Outdoor Eduction) idea is one of the most important components of the Montessori Philosophy for adolescents. In addition to exposing the students to nature and the environment it also builds on the practical life skills that they began developing at the earliest levels of their Montessori Education.
The Upper Elementary Program (9-12) incorporates this model in the following ways:
- Participating in one weeklong visit each year to Nature's Classroom in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. During this trip, students participate in field group studies having to do with environmental education. They develop a strong sense of community working together on projects and having time to participate in the change in rhythm of living in harmony with nature.
Each year students go on one other class trip designed to meet the Erdkinder model. There are three places that are visited so that over the course of the 9-12 experience a student visits each place one time. The locations for these trips include:
- Frog In the Bog (Indiana Dunes State Park) - this trip focuses on biomes, specifically the sand dunes environment.
- Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, IL - this trip focuses on the study of indigenous people, especially focusing on their connection to the land and their use of natural resources. Students themselves use natural materials such as clay from the creek for pottery and stones from the area for flint knapping.
- Lorado-Taft on the Rock River in Oregon, IL - this trip offers the opportunity for further environmental education studies and the continued development of the appreciation for nature. Students will have the opportunity to study topics including geology, astronomy, orienteering and ornithology.
Participating in the Amazing Race curriculum - this offers 6th grade students a connection with the urban environment. They learn how to navigate Chicago public transportation and learn how the city is organized during monthly field trips throughout the school year.