Our robust outdoor education program is a cornerstone of the MTS curriculum. Leaving the classroom for the natural world gives our students the tangible experience of being in nature, discovering ecosystems, seeing how things are interconnected, and understanding how the environment is influenced by humans. As our students develop an emotional connection to natural places, the opportunity for personal growth increases.
Starting in kindergarten and throughout the lower school grades, students get out and explore the Marin Headlands, Slide Ranch, and Angel Island. Third graders head into San Francisco after becoming experts on specific neighborhoods and landmarks, and spend the day gaining first-hand experience and sharing what they know. All lower school students go to the Symphony, while other grades take day trips to the museums and other locations that deepen the curriculum.
Fourth graders spend a night on board the Balclutha, docked at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. After studying the early 1900s, students experience life as sailors around the time of the great earthquake. They begin their adventure as Greenhands, but after two days of hard work, receive their Seaman's cards signed by the Captain.
Fifth graders spend three days with NatureBridge, an acclaimed environmental organization, in the Marin Headlands, exploring the coastal hills, ponds, and tide-pools. They focus on science and how humans influenced the vast natural resources of the area.
Sixth graders participate in a four-day outdoor education program at Westminster Woods, located in Occidental. The program includes activities designed to develop academic and social skills. Students experience a variety of habitats, including forest, ocean, grassland, and stream. Heavy emphasis is placed on ecology, geography, natural history, and team building. Students grow tremendously as they challenge themselves on the extensive ropes course.
Seventh grade students participate in a five-day environmental education program with the Mother Lode River Center, a 20-acre rustic camp located in the heart of the California Gold Country along the beautiful South Fork of the American River. Students camp on a spacious grassy beach, canopied by heritage oaks and towering pines. Under the guidance of highly trained instructors, students experience a rope challenge course, a science-based river study, and a full day of rafting along the American River.
The eighth grade travels to Yosemite National Park to study with NatureBridge. Students begin their week in Tuolumne Meadows, then ascend Lembert Dome for a view of the Sierra crest and far reaches of the Park. They spend the majority of the week in small groups on different trailheads throughout the heart of Yosemite's wilderness. NatureBridge naturalists guide the students through a diverse, experiential curriculum of Yosemite's natural and human history, including responsible wilderness use, and the challenges facing the Park now and in the future. Students keep a field journal of their observations and descriptions, and publish a class anthology when they return.