Returning to school from summer vacation is a major transition in the life of a middle school student. We also know that combining social activities with team-building, confidence-boosting, and initiative-enhancing challenges through a shared and supportive experience improves the reentry process and helps to ease this transition.
Our middle school students kick off their school year with an overnight retreat, where they engage in low-level challenge courses, high ropes elements, climbing walls, and adventure activities. Together, students build trust and cooperation, and strengthen the bonds between themselves and with their teachers.
Jewish values, which guide all of us at Brandeis, also play a major role in shaping retreat agendas. The retreat setting affords students the opportunity to reflect on past experiences, clarify their present goals, chart their path for the coming year, and realize more of their potential–allowing students to hit the ground running, socially and academically, once they return to campus.