ASHLAND, Neb. (KMTV) — Hickory Hill Elementary School sixth grade students are turning Carol Joy Holling Camp in Ashland into their classroom for the next two days.
“It’s nice, it’s way better than sitting in class all day,” Hickory Hill sixth-grader Marco Jara said.
“It’s a lot more fun than being in the classroom, especially since I can be with my classmates and my friends,” Hickory Hill sixth-grader Grace Erspamer said.
They are the first of 16 elementary schools in the Papillion La Vista Community School District to take on the outdoor educational experience that is a part of their science curriculum.
“Even though they’re going to be tired and they’re going to be exhausted, they’re going to walk away with so many good memories,” Hickory Hill sixth-grade teacher John Behounek said. “We’re pretty happy that we can provide those for them.”
“There’s so much you can learn in nature, but also getting them away from the desk allows them to learn and grow in a different way,” Carol Joy Holling Camp marketing director Dani Hatfield said.
Students will spend time on five trails and focus on various aspects of our natural environment: aquatics, grasslands, and forests.
They also get to let loose and do some ziplining, along with team building obstacle courses that require the students to interact and work with one another to accomplish different tasks.
“For two straight days we get to come out here and be outside and do some evening activities. Kids get to be in nature, kids get to have fun, kids get to support each other,” Behounek said. “That’s one of the biggest things right now. We’re learning how to really work as a team and there are a lot of opportunities out here.”
“They get to learn aquatics, but also the team building allows them to learn and grow together, which is really great,” Hatfield said.
There’s no doubt that screen time among children is much higher than it was even just ten years ago.
While the advancement of technology can be a strong educational tool, this experience gets students out in nature to learn in a different way.
“It’s very hard to replace teamwork and group work, and really building that culture. I think technology can sometimes be a little overused,” Behounek said. “If you use it correctly it’s one thing but getting out here and being able to experience something that kids don’t normally get to experience, I think that’s where it’s at.”
More than 900 PLCS sixth-graders will participate in the outdoor educational experience.
The last of the students will complete the two-day experience in mid-October.