The Marin School’s Fall Trips: Building Trust ‘Outside the Walls’ Yields Confidence in the Classroom

The Marin School

When you think about your first few weeks of high school, your mind likely conjures up images of lockers, class schedules, orientation and syllabi. 

But at The Marin School, back to school also means whitewater rafting, hiking, backpacking, ropes courses and roasting marshmallows around the campfire. There is a reason why fall trips are one of the oldest traditions at The Marin School. Within our classrooms, we challenge our students to take risks, to try new things, to be vulnerable and to collaborate with their classmates while engaging in active problem-solving. The most important pieces to any successful collaboration, however, are trust and rapport. Our teachers and staff have found that one of the best ways to quickly grow this trust is through a memorable experience that goes beyond the everyday classroom.

Studies have shown that groups who work together toward a collective goal forge a strong sense of togetherness. For example, rowing a raft down the river together transforms a group of individuals into a cohesive unit as they synchronize their physical and mental movements. These are the kinds of experiences that transform classmates into lifelong friends. Just ask Jake and Lola; on their ninth-grade fall trip, an unexpected tumble into the water cemented their growing friendship as they laughed and helped one another back into the raft. Later that night around the campfire, they learned that despite their very different backgrounds, they had a lot in common. When they returned to the classroom, they felt more comfortable tackling class projects together and with their classmates. 

Over the years, our alumni always note that many of their most memorable TMS moments were those moments outside the classroom — navigating the metro together on the senior trip to Barcelona, building a dry ice “cannon” for added ambiance at the Halloween-themed dance, or taking a Segway tour of San Francisco with their favorite teachers.  

“They may forget some geometry or poetry in a few years, but they’ll never forget experiences like fall trips,” notes longtime TMS English and drama teacher Phil van Eyck.

The Marin School is a college preparatory high school providing a collaborative learning environment that inspires creativity, integrity and academic excellence. Learn more about how this small school is making a big impact; join us for a virtual info session or campus tour! 

small school, big impact (2).mp4 from The Marin School on Vimeo.