Lower El Heads to Echo Hill
Lower elementary students took their annual overnight pilgrimage to Echo Hill Outdoor School in Worton, Maryland this past October/Early November. The beautiful 170 acre retreat on the Eastern Shore is a sleep-away camp experience that activates young campers’ sense of adventure and independence. RGMS has been taking students to Echo Hill for more than 10 years, and is the only public school in Prince George’s County that offers this enriching adventure to 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders.
The excitement started at RGMS, where students lined up in the front hall for the bus ride with sleeping bags, rain boots and duffle bags in tow. The young scholars accompanied multiple parent chaperones and camp counselors as they embarked on age-appropriate adventures like swamp walks, fishing boat rides, hayrides, composting, fire building, sensory walks, and many fun camp sing-alongs.
"I think it was great. We got to go outside and not just stay inside looking at our phones and iPads. And we get to bond together. My favorite part was getting to touch a fish." - Ella (Age 8, Ms. Proctor)
"I loved the food because it was soooo good. " Jameelah (Age 6, Ms. Sri)
“My favorite part was the swamp walk and making s’mores. Jake (the camp counselor) told funny stories.” - Ethan (Age 7, Ms. Wescott)
"We went on a hay ride in the night!" - August (Age 6, Ms. Mollah)
“The food is very good. I like the hiking part, especially the beach. The counselors have good activities that I like, a different activity for every day." - Sam (Age 7, Ms. Mollah)
"It was really good, I had tons of fun, the staff was really nice and friendly , it was a great experience to share with my classmates. I enjoyed everything from the field trip". Johan (Ms. Mollah)
Each meal in the mess hall involved student participation to set up, clean up and measure the total wasted food. With each subsequent meal, the students grew increasingly conscientious about serving themselves only what they were committed to eat to avoid wasting too much. As a result the weight of the slop bucket was lower with each meal! Counselors sang funny songs and made the slop bucket a daily theatrical experience to look forward to.
Despite a busy Day 1, the students had no trouble waking up bright and early to get started with Day 2's morning activities. Sleeping on bunk beds in cabins was a source of extreme excitement for many of the little ones. The staff did an amazing job of wrangling kids and keeping them entertained with their antics, while also imparting interesting lessons about local ecology and the Chesapeake Bay. The culmination of all the activity was a peaceful bus ride back to Robert Goddard Montessori.
The experience is as enlightening for parents as it is adventurous for children. We get to see our kids embrace all their new adventures with gusto, and it is a glimpse of how independent and capable our children are. Thank you to the Primary teachers who organize this adventure for our kids - we appreciate you for all the extra effort to make this special memory possible for RGMS families.