Continuing learning outside the classroom strengthens the academic experience for Parker students. Field Trips and longer retreats provide students the hands-on experiences necessary to put their learning into practice, leading to deeper understanding and higher engagement.  

Shared experiences also support the lifelong friendships so many of our alumni cherish about their time at Parker. These deep connections between students often lead to greater collaboration in the classroom, enhancing both academic and social-emotional growth. 

Trips and retreats in Lower and Middle School are often class-wide with smaller course-specific experiences occurring in Upper School. Here are just a few of the field trips and retreats our students have enjoyed during this school year.

Lower School

Grade 3 Field Trip to the Natural History Museum 

Parker Grade 3 students traveled to the San Diego Natural History Museum in October. During the trip, they learned about the ecological regions of San Diego County, including the coast, chaparral, mountains, and desert. Students attended a workshop to learn about how the plants and animals of each habitat have adapted to survive in that ecosystem, including facing natural disasters such as wildfires and flash floods. Students also explored the Coast to Cactus exhibit, completing a scavenger hunt to highlight examples of unique landforms and/or native plant and animal species in each habitat.

“The exhibit was fun to explore and find all the different animals in each habitat. There were some I’d never heard of and some I’ve seen in my own backyard,” said one Grade 3 student.

Grade 2 Field Trip to Olivewood Gardens

Grade 2 Lancers headed to Olivewood Gardens Learning Center to gain firsthand experience with outdoor gardening and kitchen skills. Students participated in science-based environmental education lessons and hands-on gardening and cooking activities to promote sustainable agriculture, healthy eating, and healthy living.

The instructors showed Grade 2 students how to clean vegetables and properly handle kitchen utensils while the group cooked a fun, garden-centric recipe. “It’s important for us to eat rainbow food to keep our bodies healthy and strong,” said one Grade 2 student about what they learned during the trip.


Grade 6 Astro Camp

As per Parker tradition, Grade 6 students traveled to the San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild, CA, for a few days of fun, learning, and bonding as a class. The Class of 2030 hiked, zip-lined, did ropes courses, and played numerous team building games to kick off their years in Middle School. The program also included several hands-on STEM activities where Grade 6 students learned about everything from the atmosphere and gases to lights and lasers.

Grade 7 Camp at the Cataline Island Marine Institute

Grade 7 Lancers traveled up the California coast and took a ferry to Catalina Island to spend a few days at the Catalina Island Marine Institue. Students learned about marine organisms in their natural habitats through hands-on activities like snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. Team building activities and games brought the class closer together, creating unforgettable memories with their Parker peers.


ASB Leadership Conference

Upper School Associated Student Body (ASB) students traveled to Anaheim, CA, for the Disney Imagination Leadership and Innovation Workshop. Students learned about the importance of creating a positive first impression, nurturing strong relationships within the ASB team, and creating thoughtful events for all to enjoy. ASB team members brought what they learned back to the Linda Vista Campus to create and run student events that are impactful and enjoyable by all students.

Social Justice Class Jacumba Leadership Retreat

The Upper School Social Justice Class studies immigration and border issues during the first trimester and visits the border region to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the Tijuana/San Diego region. Students spent the night in Jacumba and worked with organizations that help bring relief to migrants seeking political asylum. The group also toured the region with US Border Patrol to understand the law enforcement side of immigration. Combined with class studies and guest speakers, this trip helps students determine how to best navigate the immigration issue through a social justice lens.

Grade 12 Honors English Field Trip To Mount Laguna

In the fall, Grade 12 Honors English students traveled to Mount Laguna to support their studies during the class’s Nature, Writing, and Solitude unit. After reading essays written by people inspired by wilderness, students spent the day at the Laguna Meadow, expanding the classroom and turning their creative attention to the natural world. Students explored, hiked, and connected with nature to aid in the creation of short films, research projects, poems, non-fiction writing, photography, and art about their experiences.

Many more field trips and even global travel await our students in the spring. Each of these opportunities increases engagement and deep learning among our students and are an established part of the Parker experience.

Check back later in 2024 for highlights from spring trips and travel.