Students are steeped in exploration of the natural world, giving real-life meaning to academic learning while deepening their understanding of the natural world.
Our interdisciplinary curriculum combines ecosystem science with experiential, embedded fieldwork throughout the year which provides safe, yet challenging adventures that cultivate stewardship, awareness, and interest in our ecological footprints. We often take a solutions-based approach, focusing not only on negative human impact but recognizing positive human impact as well. Through the integration of the sciences, technology, and the arts in a natural setting, students receive a unique and enriching outdoor experience at Presidio Hill School.
Students in almost every lower school class have weekly excursions in the Presidio where they explore local plants and animals, learn about maps and navigation, and investigate Native American culture. The very youngest students benefit by play in the close natural setting, using natural materials, such as rocks, sticks, sand, and dirt, to engage in creative play with each other. This also helps to support their studies about animals in the environment, as they notice various insects, spiders, and birds on these trips. The students gain an appreciation of, and investment in, the environment around them. Prompted to choose a social issue to focus on during the year, Kindergarten students often choose environmental issues— like recent oil spills—, while in second grade, students have an opportunity to visit farmers markets, interview farmers, shop for groceries, and plan a healthy, local menu in their unit of study about the process and origins of their food.
In third through fifth grade, students interact with the environment through service and field trips and learn how to live sustainability with the resources available locally. Students begin a collaboration with the Presidio Trust through which they explore the history of the San Francisco and work to restore native habitats for migratory birds and Presidio animal communities. Returning to the Presidio on a regular basis allows students the opportunity to observe change and growth as well as recognize the important impact of their work.
Middle School students at Presidio Hill School concentrate on continuing their relationship with the Presidio and on utilizing the outdoors in even more varied and universal ways. Curriculum is oriented toward taking advantage of the incredible resources available in the Bay Area, with maximum opportunity for students to experience learning. Students use the Tennessee Hollow Watershed in the Presidio as a living laboratory for field research and pollution monitoring, go on hikes in the redwoods for Physical Education classes, and write poetry or create art in the sunshine by El Polin Spring or Mountain Lake. Use of the Presidio as a partner in educational growth allows students to fully experience the ecosystem in which they live and to integrate nature into all aspects of their school curriculum.