Throughout our lives, we have rites of passage that reflect movement from one stage to another. In our Upper Elementary classrooms, one of those milestones is the overnight trip that our students participate in each September. Each of their three years in the 9-12 Program, students travel to different locations to spend two days together outside the confines of Wilmington Montessori School. This year, the students set off for a camping experience at South Mountain YMCA Camp. They met the bus with their sleeping bags, luggage, flashlights and terrific excitement. It was time to leave their typical school days behind.
The purpose of this trip is to solidify the community. Children navigate the low ropes challenges, try their hand at archery and climb a rock wall. They help set up before meals and clean up the dining hall when the meal is complete. They make sure their cabin is clean before they leave, and they lug all of their own belongings to and from their cabins and bus – there are no bellhops at camp. The students must work together to achieve success, sometimes leading while other times taking a backseat and allowing others to lead. They cheer each other on as they try new things.
When this class returns from the trip, they share a common experience and wonderful memories. They have learned more about each other, how to work together and how to bring out the best in each other. They have formed a more cohesive group, which is the foundation of the work they will be doing this year as they support each other as learners and friends.