In addition to the tenets of the Outdoor School mission, the mission of the Oregon Trail Overnight is to take 4th grade classrooms to the outdoors to spend two days and one night learning about the Oregon Trail. Through hands-on learning, students learn about the challenges faced by pioneers and famous explorers such as Lewis and Clark. The Multnomah Education Service District Outdoor School Department offers the Oregon Trail Overnight program as a fee based program primarily for fourth grade classes who study Oregon history as part of their social studies curriculum.
This program is offered in the spring of each school year. Local youth camps are leased to provide comfortable living facilities. The program can serve 1,500 students each year. Competent instructional staff members are employed to ensure a rich learning experience where students, their teachers, and their parent volunteers can learn from the multi-disciplinary curriculum.
High School Leaders volunteer as instructors and work closely with OT staff to create engaging activities. The classroom teacher, parent volunteers, and students learn hands-on activities and lessons in: botany, Oregon Trail history, pioneer tools, sewing, outdoor cooking, the Oregon fur trade, campfire songs and more. Parent volunteers become an integral part of the classroom and get a chance to experience and learn with the teacher and students.
After returning from the Oregon Trail Overnight program, the students can plan presentations to share with parents and friends at school. The Oregon Trail Overnight program is an excellent vehicle for reinforcing and enriching regular classroom instruction and curriculum.