Importance of Student Travel

Travel at TFSWe kick it off in Upper Elementary (Grades 4, 5, and 6) when students go away for two nights at a local camp.  Our Middle Schoolers take an annual early-fall outdoor education trip. And for our high schoolers, we offer one week-long domestic trip and one longer international trip per year.

Why all the travel?  Well, the obvious reason is that you get to see and experience things you cannot see and experience at home.  From an educational standpoint, this is gold.  Seeing the Great Wall of China or Ellis Island brings history to life; hearing and speaking Spanish all day brings a foreign language to life; orienteering or cooking like a pioneer brings geography and social studies to life. The children's brains are literally rewiring throughout the experience. You can't help but learn in the midst of travel!  

Secondly, and more subtly, it's really good for students to have some days (and nights) away from parents.  It's preparation for adulthood after all, and the more gradual it can be, the less traumatic it will be.  They learn about themselves in a different way when they are not at home.  Their lessons are a recipe for building self-confidence (their belief in their abilities, qualities, and judgement) and self-efficacy (their belief in their capacity to influence situations outside of themselves), and those are two of the qualities we most want them to develop for a meaningful adulthood.

It's part of our priority to educate the whole child... to nurture their character growth, their curiosity, their understanding of their place in the world, and their passion for life and learning!

Take a look at our three travel programs:
Every September, our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders take off on a three-day adventure at a local camp. It’s really good for these older elementary kids to have some days (and nights) away from home (but not too far away). 
They learn to take care of situations for which they might otherwise go to mom or dad. They figure out how to comfort themselves (especially at night). They discover that they are their own entity outside their family. And they realize that they can do hard things! 

In the outdoor camp setting, their days are filled with teambuilding activities (like the milk-crate tower) and individual skills building (like the ropes course or archery lessons). Most importantly, during the trip they build friendships with their classmates through fun activities like scavenger hunts, nature hikes and, of course, s’mores-making around the campfire.

In September 2022, the group spent their Outdoor Ed trip at Camp Wyman in Eureka, MO.
A few weeks after the start of the school year, the 7th and 8th graders pack up and head out for a weeklong Outdoor Education trip. The experience helps them build a solid foundation for their relationships with their teachers and classmates. 

On these outdoor adventures, the students develop self-reliance, independence, cooperation, and trust. There are fun, challenging activities like orienteering and teambuilding sessions, plus our teacher-chaperones integrate the kids’ outdoor experience with science, history and English curricula when they can.

They journal, investigate, and share – and they’re outside, so they’re hot or cold, maybe wet from the rain or from exploring in the creek. They catch sunrises and sunsets, even bugs and lizards. All of their experiences help the group create strong bonds (and great memories).

In September 2022, our Middle Schoolers spent their Outdoor Education week at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Townsend, Tennessee.
Traveling as a teenager is one of the highlights of high school at TFS. Whether it’s domestic or international, the experience offers limitless possibilities for learning practical life skills – like navigating the underground subway system, “The Tube,” in England or staying at a local hostel in a European city. 

Chaperoned by two faculty members, the trips themselves are always integrated with history, science, and English, like seeing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at The Globe Theater after reading it earlier in the year or taking a mine tour at Copper Country in Keweenaw, Michigan.

In October 2022, a group of our high schoolers explored Chicago and over spring break a group took off for London!