An integral part of the curriculum at MTS has always been a robust outdoor education program. 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, group cooperation, and lasting lessons increases.
Starting in kindergarten and throughout the lower school grades students have the opportunity for outdoor exploration and study in the Marin Headlands, Slide Ranch, and Angel Island. Third graders head into San Francisco as experts on specific neighborhoods and landmarks, and spend the day sharing what they know and gaining first-hand experience. All lower school students go to the Symphony and other grades will take other day trips as it fits with the curriculum.
Fourth graders spend a night on board the Balclutha, docked at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. After studying the early 1900’s, the students experience life as sailors would have soon after the great earthquake. The students begin their adventure as Greenhands, but after a very hardworking two days they receive their Seaman's cards signed by the Captain.
Fifth-graders spend three days with NatureBridge 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.
The sixth graders participate in a five-day outdoor education program at Westminster Woods, located in Occidental. The program includes activities designed to develop academic and social skills, and 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 both personally and as a group 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. The Mother Lode River Center is a beautiful, rustic 20 acre 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 low and high ropes 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 learn with NatureBridge, an acclaimed environmental organization. Students begin their week in Tuolumne Meadows and in smaller teaching groups, they 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.