Our Outdoor School
Click here to see when Outdoor School sessions are this year and to register your class.
“Given our world situation today, it is not enough just to teach children about peace. We must give them the chance to live peace.” — Lara Mendel, Co-founder/Executive Director
“I will never forget this experience, for it has been one of the best weeks in my 10 years of life… I bet if everyone in the world went to The Mosaic Project, the world would be a better place. But of course that can’t happen, because it’s not big enough to fit the billions of people out there. But if you pass on what you have learned… the world can be a better place. One person CAN make a difference if they try. That one person can be YOU.” — Maddie, Student
The Mosaic Project’s principal program is our unique human-relations outdoor school. This dynamic 4-night, 5-day experience for fourth and fifth graders is offered during the school week. Three classes from schools that differ markedly in socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic make-up participate in the program together, giving the students the opportunity to experience firsthand a diverse setting in which all are welcomed and respected. While typical outdoor schools focus on environmental science, ours addresses issues of difference and builds self-esteem and community.
“My 4th and 5th graders returned determined to better understand each other and the greater community. The Mosaic Project has made our school environment more understanding and accepting.” — Kevin Eagleson, Principal
Our students never forget this inspiring learning experience. We reach them before negative attitudes surrounding difference become entrenched and we enable them to live with, learn from, and befriend others with whom they would not ordinarily interact. Together in a beautiful, natural setting, they begin to recognize their commonalities and gain respect and appreciation for the uniqueness of all individuals, including themselves. They are encouraged to overcome ignorance and insecurities which can lead to fear of difference, prejudice, discrimination, hatred, and violence. We provide our students with the profound, personal experience of building an inclusive, egalitarian community across race, culture, and class barriers, inspiring and empowering them to create such communities throughout their lives.
The Partner Teachers Institute turns the Outdoor School into a professional development retreat for our partner teachers. We provide workshops each day to give them the opportunity to engage more deeply with the themes, music, and memorable Mosaic moments their students experience and to help them to reinforce Mosaic lessons back in their classrooms. We build a support network among our partner teachers through which they can exchange ideas and plan joint projects throughout the school year.
“I saw a patient who I had noted last year had been upset by bullying at school. I asked him how that was this year. He said, ‘It’s not a problem anymore. My class went to The Mosaic Project.’” — Dr. Robin Winokur
By the end of The Mosaic Project’s Outdoor School, our students will:
have had a fun, memorable, and transformational life experience in a beautiful, natural outdoor setting
have developed a multitude of concrete socio-emotional skills
- recognition, management, and healthy expression of emotions
- vocabulary and capacity to talk about challenging issues
- teamwork and cooperation
- empathy and appreciation for the perspectives of others
- resilience and self-care
- communication and conflict resolution tools, including:
- effectively navigating conflict nonviolently
- understanding and identifying passive, aggressive, and assertive behavior and demonstrating the ability to be assertive
- being an ally to others and knowing how to prevent and stop bullying
value diversity and have developed concrete skills to thrive and act justly in an increasingly diverse society
- understanding and being able to identify stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination
- recognizing and respecting each person’s uniqueness and inherent value
- feeling confident in navigating culturally diverse contexts
- being inclusive of others
- building relationships across lines of difference
- understanding fairness and human rights
have developed their self-efficacy and commitment to creating positive social change
- have heightened self esteem, self respect, and self expression
- understand our interconnection and impact on one another and the environment
- have cultivated a sense of agency and capacity to be an agent of positive change
- be committed to working towards building peaceful, inclusive communities throughout their lives