Country School’s Classrooms Without Walls

At The Country School the more things change, the more they stay the same. For the past 65 years, The Country School has earned its name, and not just because of its 23-acre wooded campus. Classes routinely take place beneath the shade of trees as students welcome nature into their lessons: painting watercolors of seasonal flora, writing poetry, and tending to the Children’s Garden. This embrace of nature serves as a solid foundation for our signature outdoor education program, a school-wide initiative that provides students with opportunities to develop their leadership and decision-making skills. These experiences allow students to serve as stewards of the environment and reach their full potential, both in and out of the classroom. 

Experts say they also may be helpful in stemming the spread of COVID-19, and this year Country School students are spending even more time outside in the open air than they normally do. Sometimes — if the sun is too bright or if there are rain showers — they might move under one of our newly erected outdoor tents, where students and teachers can continue to wear masks and social distance in the open air. Recent news stories in The New York Times, on NPR, and elsewhere have highlighted efforts by schools across the country to stay as safe as possible by holding classes outside; at The Country School, being outdoors has always been our way of life. 

Recently, Middle School students spent a day in classrooms without walls at Rockland Preserve in Madison. As on all our outdoor education adventures, the students are tasked with building community,  embracing diversity in all forms, and demonstrating the importance of communication and teamwork. Each class hiked a different route through Rockland Preserve and incorporated a specific challenge to be completed by the end of the day. The 6th Grade participated in an elevation gain hike, working together to calculate their elevation gain for the day. The 7th Grade participated in an orienteering challenge, consisting of a full circumnavigation of Rockland Preserve while locating waypoints along their route using maps and compasses. The 8th Grade assumed the most challenging adventure, searching for caches throughout along the trail using handheld GPS devices. 

“These may be tough times, but The Country School has always faced adversity with a respect for the resiliency of youth and a commitment to providing a full and well-rounded educational experience for our children. We truly are a country school,” said Robert McGee, Outdoor Education Director and veteran Middle School Teacher. 
341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443
P. 203-421-3113  |  F. 203-421-4390  |  Health Office F. 860-469-2550
Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.