Students in the Program for Young Children take learning outdoors during their Week in the Woods
Sarah Sole

During a week-long visit in Cynthia’s Woods, students in the Program for Young Children have the opportunity to play, explore, and absorb details they’ll use once back in the classroom.

It was a fine day for exploring. 

As the sun peeked in and out of the clouds and leaves crunched underfoot, five- and six-year-old PYC students used their critical thinking skills to navigate Cynthia’s Woods.

Donated by Joe Jeffrey in honor of his first wife, Cynthia Jeffrey, ’54, Cynthia’s Woods is a 100-acre space dedicated to outdoor student enrichment activities for all CSG students, from Upper School students to those in the Program for Young Children. 

The morning of October 12, this group of PYC students embarked on the second day of their Week in the Woods, an experience that fuels a variety of follow-up projects once students return to the classroom. 

Throughout the week, the students participate in outdoor versions of school staples such as studio, library, music, and PE, while spending ample amounts of time traversing trails and looking at wildlife. 

PYC students visit Cynthia’s Woods for their Week in the Woods once in the spring and again in the fall, said Kindergarten Teacher Kasey Neer. This is the program’s fourth year.

While outside, the students can experience learning in a different way, Mr. Neer said. 

“Then the cool thing is, we can take the woods back to the classroom,” he said. 

For example, students have made drawings of what they’ve seen while out in the woods, and made collages of sketches and photos, Mr. Neer said. Some groups have also worked on mapping the woods, drawing on memories of landmarks, and thinking about spaces in relation to one another once they’re back in the classroom. 

“They’re trying to imagine and perceive it from a different angle,” he said.