Program Overview

The Wilderness Is The Classroom. 

Outdoor Education At A Glance

From Chadwick School’s inception, Margaret Chadwick knew that the outdoors provided endless opportunities for experiential learning. Exposing young minds to nature’s lessons early on forever shapes students’ perspectives, sharpens key practical and personal skills, and ignites deep curiosity about the natural world.

Chadwick’s Outdoor Education Program challenges students to develop their leadership and team-building skills amid stunning natural backdrops. It’s also one of only seven of its kind to be accredited by the Association for Experiential Education.



With the wilderness as their classroom, students experience small-group adventures as a vehicle for learning. They confront new challenges that strengthen their mental, physical and emotional capabilities and uncover unforeseen talents and skills. They discover a sense of self, an understanding of their community and a deep respect for nature. 

They also begin to grasp the concepts and importance of social responsibility and conserving our precious environment. With each course, students cultivate a deeper understanding of the natural and cultural history of wilderness areas. 

Group learning commands involvement and encourages communication skills, trust and support for one another while independent learning fosters self-confidence, self-direction and self-knowledge. 

Outdoor Ed in the Village School — A Foundation to Build Upon


Our students’ connection with nature is sparked early on, with required participation in the Outdoor Education program starting in kindergarten. In grade 3, students take their first overnight trip together to explore natural environments, establishing leadership and teamwork skills in the process. Each subsequent year becomes more challenging, adventurous and rewarding. 

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Outdoor Ed in the Middle School — Developing Self-Reliance and Interdependence

In the Middle School Outdoor Education program, students enhance their appreciation of and respect for the natural environment as they discover strengths that inform their personal development and decision-making. They embark on their first backpacking trip, learning how to be effective and responsible leaders and cooperative team members in the process. 

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Outdoor Ed in the Upper School — A Rite of Passage

Each year, Upper School Outdoor Education students sharpen both their personal and outdoor competencies with increasingly adventurous and challenging excursions in the California wilderness. Self-reliance, independence, collaboration, group dynamics, and critical thinking and leadership skills are mastered in preparation for the senior trip — a 22-day backpacking expedition and unique rite-of-passage experience in the Sierras.

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dive deeper into Chadwick's outdoor ed program and get your questions answered. 

FAQ section

All outdoor education instructors are certified Wilderness First Responders trained in CPR, with many having worked for prominent organizations like Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. The safety of our students in the wild is paramount. Meet Chadwick's Outdoor Education instructors.

Chadwick School operates under a U.S. Forest Service special use permit in the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.