Schools & Education System

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Schools & Education System

The philosophical foundation of the challenge course originated out of the Outward Bound movement. One of the pioneers of this 1920’s movement, German Educator Kurt Hahn, founded experiential education, the “learning by doing” model, and established The Salem School in Germany. Hahn believed a student’s best learning experiences often happened beyond the traditional classroom/office setting and could be realized in varied environments. Criteria included: meeting standards in a range of athletic events; completing an expedition by sea or land; completing self-selected, long-term projects of skill and research; showing evidence of preparation for some form of public service.

How can this program model be translated and integrated with a school group setting of students, faculty, administrators, etc.? Through Challenge Course exercises, such as the “Three Peaks.” The object of the exercise is for group participants to move from platform ‘A’ to platform ‘C’ without touching the ground. The group is given two lengths of board to complete the task. To step off the board is to fall into “the pit of mis-applied knowledge and failed academic goals.” (The metaphor of the pit can be translated into other school scenarios, as well). Thus, it is only through teamwork, individual reasoning and decision making that the group finds success.

Another activity that realizes Hahn’s “learning by doing” model is the challenge course high ropes elements. Participants are strapped to a roped harness and proceed to climb a series of tower routes.The success of this exercise lies with not only the participant but also with the supportive belay team that has the lifeline rope in their hands to aid and, if necessary, break a fall during the journey to the top of the 50-foot tower. It’s a powerful analogy on how teams must work together to accomplish their goals.

The above scenarios are just a taste of what NNU Challenge Course adventure programs offer school and educational institutes. We desire to custom fit a program agenda that meets group or individual needs. Options range from experiential games and initiatives brought to your setting through our mobile adventure based program, to our on-site high ropes tower experience on the NNU Nampa campus.