From toddler - 8th grade, Breakwater prioritizes outside-of-the-classroom learning experiences. Outdoor adventures, rugged and steeped in the natural world, help to develop healthy independence, self-identify strengths and inner resources, and build important bonds within a peer community and trusted adults.
In grade 8 our students participate in a week of international travel in Costa Rica. Our trips during the previous grade levels have ultimately prepared children for this adventure. It is the longest and the most extraordinary, including activities such as service work with biologists in support of the local ecosystem, day and night hikes into the forest, horseback riding, zip-lining through the canopy of the rainforest, time for independent reflection, contact with animal and plant species exotic to us, meaningful interactions with human beings from a new geographic location, and much, much more.
The goals of Breakwater’s Costa Rica trip are both immediate and far-reaching. As preparation for their imminent post-graduation journey "beyond the breakwater", this trip ties together years of practice in group-process and conflict resolution, the development of self-confidence, resilience, empathy and sense of place in the world.
Additionally, central to Breakwater’s Mission is to foster in children the idea of what it means to be a productive contributor to the world at large. Research has demonstrated that children’s positive encounters with nature can lead to the development of an environmental ethic. The extent to which a child understands the connectiveness of all living things has been shown to be strongly correlated with positive environmental attitudes. The Costa Rica trip offers multiple opportunities to engage in service related work and to experience a rich and diverse ecosystem different from our local habitat.
And, of course, to have an incredible amount of fun!