Kindergarten in the great outdoors
September 28, 2022
Character. Respect. Responsibility. Community. Perseverance.
Aspen Country Day’s Outdoor Education program provided the inspiration for the school’s core values. From Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, ACDS students learn to show up for each other on campus, online, in nature, and out in the wider community based on a set of guiding principles that include demonstrating how to weave thoughtfulness and service into their real lives.
On Friday, September 23, the ACDS Class of 2031 (otherwise known as this year’s kindergarteners) launched their first official outdoor education adventure under a bright blue sky east of Aspen towards Independence Pass. They toured through the ghost town of Independence (no ghost sightings), hiked the Grottos trail among the waterfalls and rapids, explored the ice caves, and just missed seeing a moose by minutes.
“Introducing kids to Outdoor Ed is like uncorking a new portal in their worlds,” said Kindergarten teacher Cathy Grueter. “The whole experience lights them up.”
One of the day’s highlights came during the Outdoor Ed journal ceremony led by ACDS staffers and alums Andrew Meisler ‘14 and Melanie Doyle ‘13. The students will use the journals they received for each of their twice annual Outdoor Ed excursions through Eighth Grade to document their adventures, and preserve memories of their own evolution through their own words, drawings, and reflections. While committed to academic rigor, ACDS places equal emphasis on creative arts and outdoor education as a way to ignite curiosity, instill confidence, and practice critical thinking in inspiring natural settings.
The day’s other highlight?
“Roasting marshmallows,” said Kindergartener Bodhi. “It was tasty.”