Travel Broadens the Mind
We believe that moving outside one’s normal environment provides rich educational experiences. It enables us to provide students with additional hands-on learning. It builds independence and confidence in the student. It teaches humility as we encounter the unknown, perseverance as we overcome our fears, and empathy as we leave with at least an appreciation for something new. All field study trips are optional and require parental approval. Field study programs follow the highest standard of our school safety guidelines and are attended and supervised by Clariden educators. Background checks are done on all those adults involved in caring for the students. We work to build this muscle with intent and in phases with meaningful field study programs paired directly with classroom content and age-level appropriateness. Our unique small class sizes enable us to go and do things that just aren’t logistically possible elsewhere. Lastly, it’s yet another opportunity for students to use their voice as our middle school and high school students vote on their annual class trip destinations.
Field Study in PreK – Kindergarten
Students in Cougar Prep through Kindergarten typically go on field study day trips in the local DFW metroplex. These field study trips line up with their project-based learning curriculum. They include museums, working farms, the fire station down the road, the nature center across the street, and more. Part of field study also involves inviting subject matter experts to come onto our campus and be interviewed by the students. These visits have included the mayor, a pilot, a surgeon, a police officer, a fire fighter, a paleontologist (yes we have one on staff!), authors, artists and more. All of these field studies are designed to further enrich the learning of our students.
1st – 3rd Grades
As students get into first, second and third grade they continue their local field study day visits. The subjects become more detailed, the experiences become a little more “big kid.” Students are introduced to staying away overnight. The first time is usually a sleep over at school to get them used to the concept. For some students this may be their first time sleeping away from home without a family member. This then leads to a 1-night away field study trip. We keep these destinations within 1-2 hours’ drive from school.
4th & 5th Grades
By fourth and fifth grade, we continue the day trips and begin to introduce field study programs a little farther out. We travel within the State for some day trips across the DFW metroplex, just north into Oklahoma, and down to Austin. Every other year the students will travel out-of-State for a multi-day field study trip. On the alternating year, we do an in-State overnight trip. These are a little longer in duration when we go out-of-State, may involve airline tickets, and parents are welcome to travel, too. This field study enables us to visit resources to support the classroom education in even broader, deeper ways. Our most popular recurring trip is to Disney in Orlando, FL. This trip culminates months of work on a rollercoaster building project. Students then visit the coasters at Disney, meet with Imagineers, and take daily classes through the Disney education team. This longer travel is lots of fun and also prepares our students for middle school where academic competitions often take us to State and National destinations.
6th – 8th Grades
By the time a student gets to middle school, our planned field study trips are both local and within the U.S. Many times we have also traveled to Houston, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, etc. as we advance through competition levels for rocketry and robotics. Our middle school students have visited the Florida Everglades to learn about the ecosystems that support the biology lessons in the lab. This year, our middle school students chose between Acadia National Park in Maine / Boston and Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest / Seattle for the annual trip. They voted to go to the Pacific Northwest so adventure awaits!
9th – 12th Grades
Our high school students are well-practiced at U.S. domestic travel. There is regular local travel to the rocket launch site about 30 minutes from school. There are trips to meet with subject matter experts like recent trips to Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas and the flight museum in Fort Worth. There is in-State travel for competitions like rocketry, robotics, and clubs like Odyssey of the Mind. Finally, there is an annual high school trip that typically goes international. Students are presented with 2 options that meet our strict safety and educational guidelines. From there, the students use their voice to vote on which trip they want to take. In past years, we have traveled to Europe and this upcoming year the students have selected a trip to Belize. There is a heavy focus on exploring ecosystems, local Mayan history and developing teamwork.