Until further notice, all school trips, including Outdoor Education and Experiential Education, are on hold for the remainder of the 2020–2021 school year.
At La Jolla Country Day School, we recognize the invaluable lessons that are learned outside the classroom. Our Experiential and Outdoor Education programs are essential components of experiential learning. Our programs are designed to offer experiences that connect students to real-world learning opportunities which will enrich their overall experience at the school and beyond.
The program formally begins in Grade 4 with a trip to Sacramento where students connect their study of California history to explorations in and around our state’s capital.
In the Middle School, experiences focus on the outdoors where each trip complements the academic curriculum. These experiences in the great outdoors challenge, examine and cultivate teamwork, leadership and character development, all while having fun. Whether through individual or group pursuits, students are actively problem solving and overcoming challenges. Students experience what true leadership feels like while traversing and directing team members on a ropes course or through a group biological-inquiry kayak.
The Upper School devotes an entire week in the fall to experiential and outdoor education where students develop personal strength through experiential challenges; understand social responsibility by strengthening bonds on campus and in the global community; and are inspired to lead lives of intellectual development beyond their years at Country Day. The outdoor leadership approach continues through the sophomore year after which the focus shifts to college exploration and readiness.
Students will learn about the ecology of the coastal range, the flora and fauna of the region, plant and animal adaptations, and more. The students will participate in group activities to build positive character development. Students will learn about their personal comfort zones and how beneficial it is to step out of our normal routines from time to time. Helping middle school students face challenges and adversity in a safe, encouraging environment is paramount to their well-being as adolescents.
During the program, students will have an opportunity to build stronger relationships with their peers and teachers, learn about different California desert biomes, get the chance to challenge themselves at rock climbing, go on hikes in the desert, and explore natural caves. Additionally, students will learn and play in a group setting that promotes self-discovery and personal growth.
The coastal sage, hills, quiet coves, marina flora and fauna, and the sandy beaches of Catalina’s Whites Landing is a natural experiential learning setting. It is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about marine science, study the island’s ecosystem and acknowledge the human impact on the island and its inhabitants. Students will learn about the natural and human history, experience skills like snorkeling and kayaking, teamwork through shared experiences and enhance their leadership abilities and other outdoor skills.
With splendid views of the high sierra mountaintops, Montecito Lake Resort serves as the pinnacle experience for our middle school experiential learning excursions. Students experience the wonders of the mixed coniferous forests, Native American history, giant sequoia ecology, Sierra geology and the impacts of stream erosion, glacial landscapes and more. Students work in groups and discuss about the world of the Sierras while on destination hikes, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and through team building.
Sophomore students choose from four outdoor and/or service opportunities for their Experiential Education experience. Recent trips have been a community service trip to the Dominican Republic; hiking and camping in Zion National Park; camping and sea experiences at Channel Islands National Park; and an arts-focused experience at Camp Bravo in Idyllwild.
The junior trip exposes students to a variety of colleges and universities around the nation. On each trip, students visit a diverse range of schools based on varying sizes, locations, settings and entrance standards. In addition to visiting six to eight schools on each trip, students will also see cultural and historical sites as part of the American history curriculum in Grade 11. Recent trips have included:
Boston: Students have toured Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, Emerson, MIT, Tufts, Brandeis and Northeastern. They have also been treated to an insider’s glimpse of Fenway Park and visited museums and historical sites in and around Boston. Historical emphasis on this trip has focused on the American Revolution and the history of education in America.
Mid-Atlantic: Student on this trip will visit schools and sites in Maryland, Washington D.C., and rural Virginia. School tours have included Georgetown, Virginia, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Villanova, Penn, Swarthmore and Drexel. Students will also visit important historical sites in Washington, D.C. and historic Virginia in order to learn about the concepts related to the nation's foundation and government.
California: Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, Cal Poly, St. Mary’s, USC, Loyola Marymount, and Chapman are among schools students have visited on recent college tours. Students will also visit several historical sites important to California history, especially as it relates to concepts of frontier and the West.
Southeast: On this trip, students have visited the University of North Carolina, Duke, Davidson, Elon, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt and Emory. Historical sites in the South may be on the tour as well, particularly those with implications in the Civil Rights movement.
Seniors do not participate in the formal Experiential Education program. We recommend that students use the week to work on their college application or visit colleges and universities of interest with family members. Students and their parents should consult with a college counselor about the optimal use of the week in regards to their individualized goals and aspirations.
Optional Global Trips
La Jolla Country Day School offers several unique opportunities for global travel every year organized by various departments in the school.
Arts department: an arts-focused trip throughout Europe to perform at and visit sites of cultural and artistic significance (offered every other year).
World language department: a cultural and language immersion trip to Spain, China, France or other countries where Spanish, Mandarin and French are spoken (destination rotates every year).
Service-Learning: a service-learning and cultural immersion trip is offered on an occasional basis.