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I'm impressed! "Steward Outdoor School" for 6-9th graders  RSS feed

master steward
Posts: 8491
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I ran across this in my inbox, and thought it was worth sharing. It's so neat to see faith and tending of our natural world, and intentional community all being taught, together, to Jr Highers!

A bit from their website (bolding is mine):

Stewards connect scientific principles to real-world situations, allowing for engaging and relevant instruction to explore complicated topics and learn about the world they inhabit. They examine the interdependent relationships in ecosystems and learn the history of shared responsibility for nature preservation. Field studies focus on forces of nature, natural systems, geology, and human impact on the environment. The goal of instruction is for students to be able to explain real-world phenomena and to design solutions.

Our faculty works closely with our students, empowering them to intentionally create a safe, nurturing and vibrant learning community. Our students contribute to the care and functioning of our community by participating in daily chores, maintaining individual and shared living spaces, meal preparation, campus improvement projects, and the daily care of our vegetable gardens and farm animals. Through responsibility and cooperation, our students learn how to create and maintain an intentional community.

Stewards to apply ethical thinking to their studies by asking them: how, then, shall we live? And, why should we care? Beginning with an introduction to social ethics, students consider and critique different principles and theories which purport to explain what makes an action right or wrong. Students then investigate the status of ethical theories and develop claims and counterclaims regarding whether there are objective truths about how we ought to live, or if ethics is ultimately a subjective matter. In the latter half of the course, students consider practical ethical issues such as poverty, environmental justice, racism and animal welfare.

I just LOVE seeing those of faith stepping up to care for the world God crafted. I love seeing an ethical stance made for tending and caring for our environment. I love seeing Christians stand up for the moral issue of caring for the world and the people in it.
master pollinator
Posts: 2724
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I tend to be cynical about the faith in which I was raised. That said, I absolutely agree.

If religion is just a set of tribe-spanning cultural traditions that teach a life philosophy, then it makes sense to mine them for material, to speak in the idiom of their mythology, so to speak.

It's consistent with the idea of the bible, for instance. The religions of the book, and religions before them, used stories that predated them, the fables of the day, to tell morality stories and teach life lessons. So if your wisdom is grounded in the Bible, and if what you're being taught is in that context, it's much more likely that you'll be able to relate.

Great idea. Tap into untapped religious fervour. Make people feel good about their faith by helping them to use it to demonstrable good. It sound like a winning formula to me.

Posts: 1068
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Ooooh they have outdoor adventure expeditions too. Where was something like this when I was a youngster? There is so much more to life & potentially school than just having the goal of making money. Good to see someone is on a better track. Those kids probably understand that carrots grow in the ground. Some adults do not. I once heard an intelligent inner city kid say "I live in a city. The environment is for people living in the country." So a month later I took him & a couple of his friends on a week long adventure they will never forget!!!

Our faculty works closely with our students, empowering them to intentionally create a safe, nurturing and vibrant learning community.

A minor sticking point ... only because it was drilled into me by someone far wiser & it was drilled into her by the nuns teaching her grad school. A person can not empower someone else. One can only teach someone else to empower their own self selves.
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