Ring Mountain Day School students go camping at the start of the year for lots of reasons: camping is fun; it’s real-life experiential learning; we get to spend time outdoors in nature. But most of all, our Middle School students go camping because we believe that strong relationships create the best foundation for academic achievement.
These relationships are measured by what education researchers call “connectedness.” Connectedness is created in a school community where students know that the adults around them care not only about their education, but also about them as individuals.
Research shows that when students feel respected, cared for, and connected, they are more engaged and motivated, make healthier choices, and improve academic performance. Investing in relationships now builds long-term advantages, reaching past middle school to high school and college.
At RMDS, we start to build connectedness through our Middle School camping trip. As students get to know their teachers outside of the classroom, they begin to forge the personal links to adults that will strengthen throughout the year in classes and advisory.
When you’ve toasted marshmallows with your math teacher, you’ve connected with her as a person. When your science teacher helps you set a collapsed tent back up, you know he’s ready to support you. And when you sit in their classrooms a week later, you know that their relationships with you go beyond your grades.
A campfire isn’t just at the center of a circle of tents. It’s at the heart of everything we do as a school. At RMDS, connections matter. And that’s why we go camping.
Learn more about connectedness:
Helping Your Child Feel Connected to School