A Mountain Classroom Overview
A Mountain Classroom uses inspiring outdoor settings and experiential methods to engage students and their teachers in learning. Offering two basic curricular strands, Ecology and Earth Science and Leadership Development and Teambuilding, we work with you to complement your classroom lessons and/or other developmental goals for students. Elements from each curricular strand can also be woven together on programs.
Small field learning groups distinguish A Mountain Classroom and provide the opportunity for our staff to connect with participants. Additionally, trip chaperones enjoy the opportunity to observe and work with students in a new and rewarding way. Engaging the mind, body, and spirit, our program connects you and your group with our region’s most spectacular natural areas for an unsurpassed educational experience that is truly unique to A Mountain Classroom.
Using the AMC’s facilities as program bases, groups come year-round for 1-5 days of memorable, fun learning that builds community and increases appreciation for the natural world. Lessons and activities are done predominantly in the outdoors on the trail and we incorporate hiking to match student ability and other program choices. Outdoor gear and clothing are available to make the experience accessible and to ensure that programs in any weather can be successful.
For educators looking to build their skills in environmental education, outdoor skills, or leadership and to add impactful, outdoor learning to their work we also offer professional development.
For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Question page.
Ecology and Earth Science
Participation in A Mountain Classroom’s Ecology and Earth Science programming offers students an integrated learning experience that merges environmental education, personal development and team building seamlessly in a hiking-based program that challenges them and inspires an appreciation for the natural world. Our environmental education curricula teach the science behind the natural world but also create thoughtful citizens who are better positioned to make informed decisions about environmental issues.
For more than 45 years, A Mountain Classroom has been a leader in the field providing environmental education programs to schools guided on core beliefs that shape and frame our pedagogy. These core beliefs are:
Developing environmental literacy is dependent on well-designed field activities that contribute to a well-balanced education.
Education can be active, engaging and relevant and can stimulate the mind, body and soul.
Experiences in nature support wellbeing.
Stewardship of the environment grows from direct, positive experiences in the outdoors complemented by an understanding of our physical and emotional connections to the natural world.
A Mountain Classroom lessons are place-based and experiential (hands-on lessons investigating our regional landscape). These practices put student engagement at the forefront while allowing state math, science and ELA standards to form the backbone of our lessons. Depending on the length of the program, teachers may choose 1-2 topics for educators to cover during their stay. From nature exploration to in-depth field data collection, our programming is designed to complement curriculum and excite students about material covered in the classroom.
Trip itineraries include day or overnight programs from AMC’s many roadside facilities or overnights in the AMC’s eight backcountry huts. Winter allows for the novelty and beauty of exploration on snowshoes. All provide the opportunity to explore a variety of beautiful terrain, from waterfalls and quiet woods to scenic mountain overlooks.
In our Ecology and Earth Science strand, basic ecology is the base from which students can investigate these options more fully.
Leadership Development and Team Building
While every A Mountain Classroom program incorporates aspects of leadership and teambuilding that are inherent to a group’s success in the outdoors, A Mountain Classroom also offers a curricular strand specifically dedicated to the development of these inter- and intra-personal skills.
Our Leadership Development and Teambuilding curricula provide a framework for students to develop the skills of leadership (communication, goal setting, roles and responsibilities, leadership styles, and empathy) while fostering an environment for collaborative learning and group success. Access to unique natural, federal, and state park lands – as well as the use of hiking as an integral component of programming – provide authentic challenges and differentiates our program from other leadership development programs. Hiking can be altered or eliminated for different ages and abilities, but experience in the outdoors is used to organize ideas so they can be transferred to other life situations. Students enjoy spectacular outdoor environments and connect to natural settings as they learn important skills.
These programs incorporate both real and introduced challenges to prompt students to problem solve and work together. Lessons and activities in our Leadership Development and Teambuilding tract lead to the following outcomes for participants:
Increased self-esteem and self-efficacy.
Improved teamwork and sense of community.
An enhanced a spirit of adventure
Appreciation for the outdoors.
As part of our Leadership Development and Teambuilding programs, field educators incorporate creative and fun challenges through thematic lessons taught over the course of the program. Educators provide guided reflection, support group discussion, prompt individual journaling, and use other creative forms of debriefing, helping students to learn and grow from their group challenges. At the end of the program, a student will have learned to work more cohesively with peers, will have developed confidence as a leader, and will have an improved self-concept.
Trip itineraries include day or overnight programs from AMC’s many roadside facilities or overnights in the AMC’s eight backcountry huts. Winter allows for the novelty and beauty of snowshoe hikes. All provide the opportunity to explore a variety of beautiful terrain, from waterfalls and quiet woods to scenic mountain overlooks.
A comprehensive look at our curriculum: