Outdoor Learning at Brookwood School
Outdoor learning takes place every day at Brookwood. The very essence of our school is tied to our magnificent 30-acre campus – from streams and salt marsh to the woods and beehives – students and teachers alike love Brookwood’s connection to the outdoors. Arriving on Brookwood’s campus, one immediately appreciates the many features of our fabulous natural capital - Cutler Pond, woodlands adjoining three sides of the property, and two smaller creeks that ultimately lead, as all land water does, to the ocean.
Many hidden gems of nature exist in close proximity: vernal ponds that each spring fill with eggs of spotted salamander and wood frog; a beaver pond that provides annual evidence of nature’s mammalian carpenters; a salt marsh, teeming with a broad spectrum of life, from the smallest of bacteria to our school mascot, the Great Blue Heron.
Within the Science Department and its spiraling curriculum we see Brookwood’s core commitment to outdoor education. There, teachers work to reacquaint students with the outdoors: All students are given wonderful opportunities to visit and interact with, on a first-hand basis, nature at its best. Second, teachers aim to educate students about the impact, both positive and negative, that humans have on our planet. Third, they aim to introduce students to scientific methods that allow objective study of the environmental health of our outdoor ecosystems. And finally, the faculty and students maintain several collaborations with local and global non-profits – e.g. Salem Sound Coastwatch (Salem, MA) and the Island School (Eleuthera, Bahamas) as a reminder that all people share in the wonder of our planet!
Even beyond their science studies, our students from Pre-K to Grade 8 are given opportunities to visit and interact with, on a first-hand basis, nature at its best. Our kindergartners work in their outdoor classrooms with monarch butterflies, and plant milkweed seeds to produce a more robust habitat; second graders care for chickens, Upper Schoolers study such things as bird watching, outdoor survival and fly fishing in Steep Week courses. Outdoor learning takes place every day at Brookwood.
In the fall of 2016, Brookwood hosted Richard Louv at the 4 to 14 Speaker Series event, where he highlighted the imortance of nature, especiallly for children. Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, spoke highly of Brookwood's curriculum and efforts in spending significant time outdoors.