To call IslandWood a school or even a camp would not be able to do justice to the uniquely integrated learning that students experienced from opening their eyes at the chaperones' wake-up calls to hitting their heads on their pillows at lights out. Students' exploration of the natural world was but an avenue into understanding (and applying) team decision-making skills, stewardship for one's global and local community, the interconnectedness of ecosystems, the multifaceted uses of flora and fauna for human survival, the human impact on the earth through food consumption and waste, and care and consideration towards our peers-turned-lodgemates.
From a teacher's perspective, I only have tremendous gratitude for such a special opportunity. This one week away from our everyday QAE hustle-and-bustle allowed me to develop meaningful "out-of-the-classroom" relationships with your children. I was able to witness their growth and leadership not only during our daily fieldwork but also at the dinner table and during our bonding "Lodge Time." Most significantly, I was able to take on the role of a "student" and learn side-by-side with your children as we uncovered crabs at the harbor, sang songs by the fire during our "Friendship Circle," and discussed our table's food waste status at breakfast. Thanks to all of the 5th grade parents for your support and helping to make possible such an incredible experience for both students AND teachers!
Lastly, I have to extend a HUGE shout-out to our incredibly helpful 5th grade parent chaperones, whose participation was vital making our experience what it was. A special thank you goes to Lauren Gums, our Islanders representative, who actively supported the students, teachers, and IslandWood instructors from sunrise to sunset. We definitely couldn't have done it without you!
I hope you have had (and continue to have) many conversations with your child about their experience and what it meant to them. For the Islanders' personal reflections, I encourage you to log onto our classroom Blog and click on the post "IslandWood Poem." I invite you to scroll through students' writing, get a little "taste" of the IslandWood experience, and please leave your own questions, comments and wonderings!
Our KidBlog: https://kidblog.org/class/the-qae-islanders/login
Also, please enjoy the slideshow below and let these pictures speak for all of the powerful and precious moments we experienced at IslandWood.