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Experiential/Outdoor Education

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 trip.

The Upper School program aims to continuously strengthen connections and build a foundation of dignity in relationships amongst students, faculty, community and the environment. Students develop personal strength through experiential challenges; understand social responsibility locally and in the global community; and are inspired to lead lives of intellectual development with purpose and compassion. The outdoor leadership approach continues through the sophomore year after which the focus shifts to college exploration and readiness.

Middle School Outdoor Education

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  • Grade 5: El Capitan State Beach in Santa Barbara

    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.
  • Grade 6: Joshua Tree National Park

    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.
  • Grade 7: Catalina

    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.
  • Grade 8: Sequoia

    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.

Upper School Experiential Education

List of 1 items.

  • Grades 9–12

    The Upper School devotes an entire week to experiential and outdoor education. Freshmen attend a class-wide program while sophomores and juniors choose from a variety of options including colleges trips, service programs and outdoor-focused programs. Seniors may elect to participate in school-sponsored programs, take college tours on their own, or use the time to focus on college applications. Programs have included hiking in East County, rebuilding in New Orleans, camping in Utah, learning about homelessness in San Diego and exploring the arts in New York.

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.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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