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Outdoor/Place-based

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Ancona’s new state-of-the-art Outdoor Learning Space provides students with a landscape for diverse physical, cognitive, and social activities to challenge and stretch them as learners. The massive climbing structure encourages exploration and effort appropriate to every age and ability level, and includes equipment for balancing, spinning, swinging, and sliding, not to mention darting, dashing, tumbling, and hanging upside down. The Nature area, shaded by a variety of trees, includes a large sand and water feature, plenty of space for creative play, and a dome that encourages, even requires, student cooperation to conquer. Our large play field offers plenty of room for multiple outdoor sports and games, including soccer, archery, and the much-loved kickball, while the track that surrounds it gives our students a safe place to build their stamina (and faculty a place to walk off lunch). The final element in the OLS is the Ancona School Farm, which will include many raised beds, trellises, a natural amphitheater, and an off-grid greenhouse to extend growing and learning activities into the winter months.

Field trips are an important part of the curriculum at Ancona; they offer students the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills gained in the classroom in a real-world setting. Students in the Preprimary take an annual field trip to an orchard to pick apples and frequently explore the neighborhood surrounding the school. 1st/2nd grade students take field trips to cultural institutions in the city and routinely visit Burnham Prairie, located just minutes away. Overnight field trips are introduced at the 3rd/4th grade level, and focus on environmental education. 5th/6th grade students travel to locations throughout the Midwest (i.e. Nature’s Classroom in Wisconsin) and visit a Head Start program in a working class neighborhood of Chicago to engage in community service. 7th/8th graders spend five days in the Adirondacks and also take extended trips that allow them to study Spanish outside of the classroom. They travel every other year to Concordia Language Villages in Bimidji, MN. 8th grade students have a culminating experience by traveling for a full week to Latin America, Mexico, or the Caribbean.
Ancona’s new state-of-the-art Outdoor Learning Space provides students with a landscape for diverse physical, cognitive, and social activities to challenge and stretch them as learners. The massive climbing structure encourages exploration and effort appropriate to every age and ability level, and includes equipment for balancing, spinning, swinging, and sliding, not to mention darting, dashing, tumbling,…
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