Connecting through Aventure - Middle School Project Week
At ASH, Project Week leads the start of the year for our Middle School students. For a couple of days, these students trade their school books and backpacks for camping gear as they set off on Project Week.
Project Week was designed to provide students with a safe, fun and engaging space to explore hands-on learning, develop interpersonal skills, and grow beyond the classroom. Each grade travels to a different part of the Netherlands and, for several days, are completely immersed in the experience of embracing new challenges, practicing unfamiliar skills, and developing independence while forming new - and strengthening old - relationships with their classmates.
This year, the presence of overwhelming sunshine and good weather made Project Week feel particularly special. Rain boots were on the packing list but they indeed remained, very much packed.
The youngest bunch of Middle School, Grade 5, set off to Lentevreugd (national park in Wassenaar), Polder Sport (a water park) and Klimpark Fun Forest in Amsterdam, where no tree was left unclimbed. The ABF Field on campus turned into an exciting camping experience where they spent the night under tents as well.
Grade 6 traveled to Uithof in The Hague where ziplines and trampolines took center stage. They also spent time at Kanoe, an outdoor venue for all kinds of teamwork challenges like canoeing and over-the-water ropes and climbing.
Grade 7 went on a three-day adventure on the island of Ameland. Campfires by night and rafting, surfing and kayaking took place by day.
Grade 8 celebrated their last year of Middle School with a trip to Egmond. They spent most of their time outdoors discovering the treasures of Dutch nature with hikes, dipping into the sea and learning about sea life with stories by a passionate Dutch naturalist. We spoke to Mr. Bourque (ASH Science Teacher), who participated in the Grade 8 trip:
“There was just something about this trip that made it feel very special. We build the activities as ‘’challenge by choice’’ - once they take on that challenge, we teach them how to work through things. We also encourage them to work through it with their teammates too of course, to teach about collaboration and teamship.
The core values of ASH also come in when we’re building the week - we teach them how to exist with each other respectfully. We ask questions like: what does sympathy, respect and responsibility look like when you’re here with each other?
There’s a lot of Dutch culture intentionally built in the program too, to try and bring students to integrate, and break through the international bubble we can sometimes be in. Our scavenger hunt and art project were all Dutch-themed, for example.”