No two Cal-Wood programs are alike since each program depends upon the specific goals of the visiting teacher(s). That said, what follows is a rough guideline to a typical day.
- Morning – wake up to a wholesome breakfast, clean-up and pack for the day. The learning day begins at 9:00 AM, and students divide into “learning groups” of 10 – 15 students, led by a Cal-Wood instructor, who remains with that same group for the entire visit. We present a “mind map” or visual schedule, which enables everyone to grasp the central theme to which activities of the day will relate. Fun, team-building exercises follow to energize students and build a cooperative learning environment. Then comes inquiry into such topics as forest ecology, human history or a geology study. Although all learning groups of the same school learn the same topics, the activities, methods and locations used vary from group to group. Cal-Wood instructors draw upon all their skills and all their creativity – and it shows!
- Afternoon – Lunch is carried by all members of the group and eaten “in the field.” The afternoon offers time to introduce a new topic or explore a previous topic in greater depth. We typically complement concepts with a creative writing or artistic activity using journals. Guided exploration of the spectacular surroundings is essential to the Cal-Wood day; it inspires a sense of wonder in nature. Plans for the day are flexible according to students’ abilities/special needs, the weather or that spontaneous teachable moment, such as an elk herd walking in front of the group! The learning day comes to a close around 4:30 PM, perhaps via a sharing circle which reinforces newfound knowledge. We typically will have hiked anywhere from one to four miles. Kids have cabin and free time from 4.30 PM – 6:00 PM.
- Evening – Dinner is served at 6:00 PM, preceded by a period of “down-time” supervised by the visiting school. Nightly evening programs might include a night hike, campfire, storytelling, town hall meeting or guest speaker. “Lights out” is by 9:30 PM, so we can all get a well-deserved rest and be ready to start again early the next day.