Chewonki’s Outdoor Classroom provides a life-changing experience in nature for students and school groups, building personal resilience, and giving them tools they need to create and sustain healthy, thriving communities. We do this through a unique combination of outdoor living experiences on the coast of Maine, team-building challenges, ecological study, and an introduction to the concepts behind systems-thinking and sustainability.
Chewonki is committed to supporting each participating school by customizing the program. We offer to visit each school beforehand to present an informational slideshow and packing demonstration to teachers, students, and parents.
Each student receives a certificate of participation from his or her Chewonki instructor. This certificate focuses on the student’s achievements during the program, citing specific examples of successes. Hearing from their Chewonki instructors helps personalize the experience for the students. These certificates are also an effective basis for follow-up discussion back at school.
Outdoor Classroom Educators
Our instructors live and work alongside their students for the entire program. They usher in each new group with enthusiasm and dedication, and they take pride in their students’ growth throughout the week. Each instructor has extensive training and experience in natural history education, group facilitation, and outdoor leadership. With a low student-teacher ratio, every group receives the most careful, individualized attention possible. Group size is kept to 10 to 12 students with 2 adults, the Chewonki instructor and the teacher/chaperone from the visiting school.
At Chewonki we take great pride in our excellent safety record. All of our programs operate under rigid safety guidelines and procedures in order to minimize the chance of injury. Participants and their parents should be aware, however, that risk is an inherent part of all experiential outdoor programs.
Maine’s Common Core of Learning
This document set the stage for the Maine Learning Results (educational standards for all ages) and identified four interdisciplinary areas of vital importance to students: Personal and Global Stewardship, Communication, Reasoning and Problem Solving, and the Human Record. The Chewonki curriculum has always addressed these four topics, and we are pleased that our approach to education continues to prove timelessly relevant. More specifically, we have correlated our lessons with the Maine Learning Results in order to demonstrate the contemporary pertinence of our programming and to aid teachers in making connections to the Chewonki experience. These correlations are included in the comprehensive Teacher Resource Packet that every participating school receives.
Chewonki and the Environment
We believe that as an educational institution we can not also be an advocate for a particular agenda or perspective. While the Foundation is deeply committed to conserving resources and consuming wisely, we believe that students must come to individual decisions regarding environmental issues. Our instructors strive to teach and facilitate in the most impartial manner possible, while still expecting their students to reflect critically on their own role in today’s society.