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Experiential Learning

Students attempt to cross ropes course on wilderness trip

We Dive Into


At RCDS, we don’t just read about the world, we bring students into the world, because that’s where the deepest learning happens. RCDS students learn by doing, with hands-on discovery and experimentation. Students set goals, experiment, observe, review, and plan next steps. While students learn these new skills, they explore unfamiliar attitudes and develop the flexibility to see things from different points of view.
We Explore a Bigger World
Intentionally selected field trips engage students while allowing them to gain perspective, leading to a deeper understanding of their classroom studies. We generally take more than 28 class trips a year, visiting sites such as Ellis Island, Philadelphia, Boston, Longstreet Farm and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Upper School students, ready for more immersive experiences, embark on annual wilderness adventures. These multi-day trips have become important rites of passage for fifth- to eighth-grade RCDS students. Age-appropriate activities that encourage healthy risk-taking, require problem-solving, provide new experiences and promote bonding with classmates create lifetime memories.
Students rest after hike and enjoy the view of the adirondacks
Upper school boys smiling in woodshop class, wear protective goggles while sanding a large piece of wood.
We Integrate STEAM Learning
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) learning is infused in our educational approach, with knowledge expanded through interdisciplinary projects at all grade levels throughout the year. This approach fully engages students and promotes critical thinking, problem solving and resourcefulness. Students learn through hands-on assignments like conducting experiments in a laboratory environment or by employing design-thinking principles to solve real-world problems. Plus all of our Upper School students are required to take woodshop which challenges students to think like engineers and apply knowledge gained in other classes like geometry and science.

“Adventure trips offer the class an opportunity to coalesce as a group and to recognize strengths and abilities that may not necessarily be recognized every day at school.”Bill Lamb
Head of Upper School

Upper School students pose for group photo on Stokes wilderness trip.
Fourth graders pose for photo during class trip to the historic Twin Lights.
Upper School girl takes in the view from a mountain top during wilderness trip hike.
Upper School students sit around a fit pit during Stokes wilderness trip.
Students enjoy canoeing on a lake during wilderness trip.
Eighth graders pose for photo during class trip to Boston.
Pre-K students pose for photo during class trip to Deep Cut Gardens.
Fifth grade students tour the MET for a class trip.
Eighth grade students pose for photo on a class trip.
 Students jump into lake on a class trip.
Pre-K students visit Sickles Market Garden on a class trip.