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Article: Continuing the Benefits of Experiential Learning

Continuing the Benefits of Experiential Learning

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Students from Terrace Park Elementary, Mariemont Elementary and Mariemont High School recently participated in our annual Camp Kern experience. The annual event is a key piece of our Warriors BEyond program for all district sixth grade students, and MHS seniors who serve as camp counselors.
While the ongoing pandemic altered the experience a bit (for example, it is usually an overnight camp and this year was a day-camp with students returning home each evening), the lessons and overall experiences of Camp Kern were still prevalent. Students still got to meet future classmates at the other elementary school, learn historical and cultural lessons, complete team-building activities and participate in fun challenges like rock wall climbing and camp fire building.
Truth be told, the annual Camp Kern experience is one of my favorite events of the year because it showcases of our commitment to experiential learning.
In Mariemont City Schools, we share an aligned narrative to Work Smart. Create Experience. and Embrace Growth. Every part of our instructional vision and strategic plan falls into one of these three categories. They are the pillars we stand on to create a successful school district, and while they are all important, Create Experience is probably the most fun!
As part of the sixth-grade curriculum, students learn about the days of early American settlements with Native American and colonial heritage. They could learn this history at a desk in a classroom, or they could really experience this history by re-enacting a colonial-style classroom in a one-room school house and competing in traditional Native American games. I know what I would pick if I had my choice.
According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), “experiential education has value far beyond building the kind of skills, work ethic and practical expertise that are important.” Students who participate in experiential learning can have a deeper understanding of subject matter than is possible through classroom study, the capacity for critical thinking and the ability to engage in lifelong learning.
These are all benefits we have seen firsthand from our annual Camp Kern experience and the entire Warriors BEyond program. It is why we continue to focus our energy into creating these experiences for our students each year. And why we fought to protect this experience despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
I want to give a big shout out to the staff members and high school seniors who worked hard to continue the Camp Kern tradition for our sixth-grade students last week. You can see a photo gallery of the event here.

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