6th Grade Experiences Hands-on Learning and Personal Growth at Walden West
St. Raymond 6th graders spend a week at the Walden West Outdoor School, operated by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. During the program, the students explore an outdoor classroom with experienced naturalists and stay in cabins overnight with sixth grade students from schools of the Diocese of San Jose. The focus is on hands-on learning, exposing students to new social settings, getting them outside, and providing them with new experiences. The students come away with a sense of personal responsibility, independence and understanding of the natural world around them.
Mrs. Stieren, 6th grade teacher, wrote the following to the 6th grade parents reflecting on the week spent at Walden West and the students’ personal growth.
"Thank you . . . each year at the end of the Walden West week I realize that this week allows me to experience your sons and daughters in a time and place outside the walls of St. Raymond School. I watch them nervously enter their assigned cabin on Monday morning with classmates and students from the other schools and on Friday morning laugh, cry, hug and offer each other and new friends heartfelt goodbyes. For many of them, it is their first time away from home— and each day they have to work through a whole range of emotions— joy, anxiety, trust, fear, being homesick… and each day they make me so PROUD! We have laughs, hugs, long talks and Jolly Ranchers (my sweet cure for just about anything). Thank you — taking your children to Walden West is a privilege."