Celebrating a Week of Xciting Xploration & Xperiences
A wigwam, a labyrinth and a coffee shop – it’s amazing what Cincinnati Country Day School students can construct in a mere several days’ time. And those are only a few of the innovative projects undertaken during the school’s first CCDX program, a student-driven experiential learning program conducted the week prior to spring break.
CCDX Week is an outgrowth of Country Day Forward, the school’s long-range plan, which focuses on cultivating a motivated and diverse student body, a passionate and skilled faculty, a challenging curriculum and an engaged, supportive community. The long-range plan is supported by three pillars which include global engagement, environmental commitment, and innovative learning and teaching. This new week of learning highlighted these new academic initiatives.
CCDX Week – which took a year of planning – culminated with students and faculty hosting X-Fest, a community celebration and exhibition of the students’ creative projects based on courses that ranged from sewing and songwriting to beekeeping and crime solving. This pause from the traditional lower, middle and upper school daily routines provided students with the valuable time and vast array of opportunities to explore, learn and create outside the classroom.
“For teachers, we recognized that this would mean relinquishing control, really listening to our students, and allowing them to call the shots,” says fourth-grade teacher Chloe Reddick. “Supporting student ideas and passions meant involving them in the planning process and guiding them to make their ideas achievable. This experience as a whole – planning, preparing, executing and finally celebrating the work – involved a great deal of problem-solving and collaboration among students and teachers.”
Lower School third- and fourth-grade students had fun building a wigwam and a lean-to in the school’s west woods. They also built trails, made boundary signs, cleared honeysuckle, hung hammocks, and installed outdoor art throughout the area.
“It was empowering for students to take their love for that space and enhance it creatively with pieces that continue to provide function and augment their play,” Reddick says. “The students not only accomplished building structures, ladders, and artwork, they learned the value of safety, problem solving and teamwork!”
Labyrinths and Mazes
Labyrinths have fascinated people for thousands of years, and CCDX Week was no exception for Middle School fifth and sixth graders. They walked a local labyrinth, learned the history and purpose of the complex maze, calculated its geometric designs, and collaborated on a large group project. Through their in-depth study of both history and mathematics, students were able to hone their creativity, inventiveness, and resourcefulness by creating their own human labyrinth.
For some Upper School students, CCDX Week was spent learning entrepreneurial skills and opening a campus coffee shop through a project called Coffee Talk. While some of the students learned how to make and sell the roasted brew at Deeper Roots Coffee, others remained on campus to build the coffee bar’s storefront. Roasted Expresso opened for business during X-Fest.
“CCDX Week energized us with a platform to explore our own interests outside of the traditional classroom setting,” says sophomore Christian Page. When one of his teachers asked if he wanted to help create and manage a coffee cart/storefront from the ground up for CCDX Week, he recalls, “I was over the moon, to say the least.” Adds Christian’s father, Brian, “CCDX was a breath of fresh air because it fostered many of the soft skills valued most in the real world.”
Prior to his son’s recent job shadow opportunity with Ernst & Young business management consultants and preceding CCDX Week, Brian notes, Christian was convinced he wanted to major in international relations. “Like the other students at Country Day, he has a very global perspective and can speak multiple languages, so he assumed international affairs was a natural fit. However, the internship opportunity and CCDX Week opened his eyes to the possibility of a career in international business. Our family could not be happier with Christian’s CCDX Week experience. It very well could have changed the trajectory of his life.”
Cincinnati Country Day School is located at 6905 Given Road, Cincinnati, OH 45243. For more information, visit www.countryday.net.