Because Outdoor Education is an academic experience as well as a social experience, students are occasionally uncertain of the type of behavior expected of them. It is important that students are aware that conventional school rules are applied and enforced along with the Outdoor Education community rules. In general, students are expected to show respect for one another and for the environment.

Behavioral Standards

The Outdoor Education program is a part of the public school system; hence, there are rules and regulations. Outdoor Education rules are based on the idea that we wish to respect and protect the participants and the environment. Each student has an opportunity to attend the program, but no student has the right to interfere with another's enjoyment of the program.

A more complete listing of the program rules is included with the material found in the document section when you register your child online. Please review them with your child. Your cooperation and support of these rules will enhance everyone's opportunity for an enjoyable week at Outdoor Education.

Outdoor Education Student Rights and Responsibilities

  • Each student has the right to feel safe and respected. Therefore, each student has the responsibility to be respectful towards everyone. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or threatened.
  • Each student has the right to enjoy the outdoors and the facilities at Outdoor Education. Therefore, each student has the responsibility to take care of the natural environment and to maintain the facilities.
  • Each student has the right to learn and enjoy the activities. Therefore, each student has the responsibility to safely participate in activities, follow all directions, and allow others the opportunity to learn.

Specific Outdoor Education Rules

  1. Stay with an adult leader at all times.
  2. Cooperate with your leader and follow all directions.
  3. Respect all students and staff members. Avoid using put-downs, name-calling, or hurting other people's feelings.
  4. Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Fighting will result in being sent home.
  5. Respect others' belongings. Avoid touching others' hats, clothing, sleeping bags, and personal belongings.
  6. Avoid using foul and inappropriate language and gestures.
  7. If you have a disagreement with someone, find a way to talk it out peacefully.
  8. Stay on the trails and behind your leader.
  9. Avoid running unless it is part of an activity.
  10. Participate only in safe and supervised activities. Avoid jumping on beds, pillow fighting, roughhousing, or play fighting.
  11. Enter only the cabin to which you are assigned.
  12. Leave sticks, rocks, and other objects on the ground.
  13. Keep noise moderate, and respect cabin quiet hours.
  14. Leave all food items, money, knives, and electrical devices at home.
  15. Allow plants and animals to remain undisturbed by people.

Consequences

Fighting or cabin raiding will result in students being sent home. Prohibited items such as food, money, knives, or electronics will be collected at the beginning of the week. When students break any of the above rules, they will be referred to the principal's office. The following steps will be taken:

  1. A behavioral contract will be made, and recreation time will be missed.
  2. Another contract will be made. Teachers and parents will be notified. Recreation time and a major activity will be missed.
  3. Parents or guardians will be contacted to pick up their child.

Note: Major rule infractions such as pushing, fighting, and sexual harassment may result in the student receiving an immediate second or third referral.

Cabin Life

Students will live for the week in a cabin with a high school-aged cabin leader, two or more schoolmates, and a number of students from other schools. Cabin living is a great opportunity to work together building friendships and developing a feeling of community. Students are responsible for working together to clean and organize the cabin and for planning and performing a skit to present the last evening of the week. The cooperative challenge of the cabin living situation can be a highly fulfilling aspect for students attending Outdoor Education. The quality of the cabin community depends on the attitudes of the students. The most important aspects of a positive attitude in the cabin involve:

  • Respect for and friendliness toward cabin mates.
  • Cooperation with the cabin leader.
  • Enthusiastic participation in-cabin activities.
  • Respect the property of others and the facility.

Each cabin will write a cabin contract on the first day. The contract will be signed and posted in the cabin. In this way, students are empowered to create their own code for living together. If a student struggles with cabin living, they are encouraged to approach a cabin leader, naturalist, or teacher for help.

Trail Time is Class Time

Students are expected to act with appropriate school behavior. Students should recognize that they are guests of the forest and treat the natural classroom with the sensitivity it requires. Teachers may wish to explain to students the characteristics of a good trail group prior to their arrival at Outdoor Education. For example, a good trail group stays on the trail with the naturalist, is quiet when the naturalist talks, keeps the trail clean, completes assigned tasks and keeps track of their supplies. An excellent trail group looks around to observe nature, is enthusiastic and asks questions, picks up trash on the trail, takes initiative, completes assignments to the best of their abilities, and returns supplies to their owners or the naturalist.

Politeness Matters

The dining hall is a space for sharing food, sharing information, and sharing songs. Good table manners, polite conversation, and appropriate behavior are encouraged during meals. Outdoor Education mealtime etiquette includes:

  • Participation in the pre-meal moment of silence.
  • Discussion at a reasonable volume with tablemates.
  • Politeness – please and thank you – directed toward fellow students, teachers, naturalists and kitchen staff.
  • Carefully and equally serving the family-style food to all table members.
  • Attention to clean-up announcements, especially those regarding compostable and non-compostable materials.

Mark Nolan

Director, Outdoor Environmental Education

Email: mnolan@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 747-9581

Steve Van Zandt

Manager, Outdoor Education

Email: svanzandt@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 747-0414

Cindy Matsuyama

Administrative Assistant, Outdoor Education Information and Registration

Email: cmatsuyama@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5360