Academics

Experiential Education

Experiential and 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 at Country Day. Our programs are designed to offer experiences that connect students to real-world learning opportunities for which will enrich their overall experience at the school.
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.

Middle School Outdoor Education

List of 4 items.

  • Grade 5: Alpine Meadows

    A short drive from San Diego, the San Bernardino Mountains is the perfect location for our young naturalists. Alpine Meadows offers cabin living for our students, breathless views of nearby Jenks Lake, and array of team building activities such a high ropes courses, archery, nature hikes and campfires. In addition, students learn about freshwater biology, plant communities, star constellations, mythology, water resourcing and more.
  • Grade 6: Santa Monica Mountains

    During the program, students will have an opportunity to build stronger relationships with their peers and teachers, learn about sustainability and farming and how it affects their life, get the chance to challenge themselves to a rope climbing course and go on hikes in the mountains. 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 4 items.

  • Grade 9: Pali Institute/Social Focus on Campus

    The Grade 9 experiential program focuses on team building and social development. Students spend three days at the Pali Institute, an outdoor education school situated in the San Bernardino Mountains where they participate in team-building activities and personal growth exercises. The trip helps students build a strong understanding of themselves and their place in the community while also forming connections with peers and teachers. Our goal is to construct a strong foundation for success throughout their four years at Country Day.
  • Grade 10: Outdoor and/or Service Trips

    Sophomores choose among four outdoor and/or service opportunities for their Experiential Education options. Recent trips have included 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 Idyllwild Arts Academy.
  • Grade 11: College Trips

    The junior trip exposes students to a variety of colleges and universities around the nation. On each trip, students will visit a diverse range of schools based on varying sizes, locations, settings and entrance standards. In addition to visiting approximately 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 (“Dixie”): On the “Dixie” 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.
  • Grade 12

    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)  
  • Community Service: a service learning and cultural immersion trip to the Dominican Republic and/or a summer trip (e.g. India and Africa) that rotates on a yearly basis and is open to sophomores as part of their Experiential Education opportunity