For the past few days, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada, has been our home. We are on the field trip of a lifetime…spending the week at Huntsman Marine Center working beside and learning from marine biologists. While this is a scientific excursion, it, too, represents a multitude of growth opportunities and new experiences for all of us.
For many of the students, this is the first opportunity to travel without a parent, relative or close adult friend. This is their first experience managing their own bedding, food choices, shower schedules and time. While there is definite structure to our day, students make many decisions and learn from natural and logical consequences. For example, the children had the opportunity to gather marine life specimens from the sea floor exposed by the low tide in the Bay of Fundy. Marine biologists use this time to teach about aquatic characteristics, habitats, and food sources while building a healthy respect for wildlife and life at sea. During this experience, if one walks out too far in water that progressively gets deeper, it ultimately spills over the top of your water boots, and one’s boots and socks will stay wet for the remainder of the day—-natural and logical consequence. This is a much more powerful tool of learning than an adult stopping a child to warn of impending boot flooding.
We, too, work on developing leadership skills — an ongoing topic at Rohan Woods. Students quickly begin to identify those traits which are innately associated with leaders. I asked the students to express quality leadership traits that they identify in others. The answers astound me…inclusivity, patience, flexibility, collaboration, humor and problem solving. The students were then given a task…identify a leadership quality that you personally would like to grow. That’s a tall order for most Middle School students, but not students from Rohan Woods. Each child quickly listed individual goals with excitement about tackling them.
What amazing growth and unforgettable experiences for all of us!