It is a common occurrence to see Oaks students out and about in the city of Indianapolis – whether it’s for a field trip or nature walk, we love partnering with local parks and organizations to help improve our students ability to learn. And if you were to visit North Mass Boulder over the last few months, you would have seen Oaks Middle School students there too. 

Located just on the other side of the I-70 highway, North Mass Boulder is just a few minutes from our Martindale-Brightwood campus and one of our newest partners in providing students with hands-on learning opportunities. After spending time with their houses to go through orientation sessions with the staff before Christmas Break, students returned in January as part of their Health class. 

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The climbing walls at North Mass Boulder reset intermittently, with 2 new walls available every week to offer a continuous challenge. However, bouldering presents more than just physical challenges for students – it’s also a great opportunity for them to work on their problem solving skills, creativity and even teamwork. In addition to getting new walls every week, there are varying levels of routes on each wall that students can choose from to find the level of route that matches their own personal ability.

When students returned in January for class, their “assignment” was to complete a red route, or a beginning level route, in small groups. They would watch and encourage a climber as they moved up the route, sometimes providing advice or guidance when the climber got stuck.  Mr. Coffer shared that “[I]t was fun to watch the students put their creativity to the test as they tried to find the best path up the route, sometimes mimicking each other to get to the top or testing out a new foot or hand hold to make the climb more accessible for themselves.”

Even during their orientation sessions, whenever students were set free to climb, you often saw students watching each other, giving advice and cheering each other on. “There you go, you got it!” and “What do I do next?” or “Where do I go from here” could be heard throughout the climbing area as small groups conquered various paths. Students even encouraged and supported their teachers to go out of their comfort zones and take on the challenge themselves!

Our Oaks Plus team also offered a morning club for students to get even more experience and have fun. After the first session held before winter break filled up within 1 week, two more sessions were announced for January and February – filling up in even less time. With the popularity of this activity among students, families, and even staff at The Oaks, we’re grateful for this new local partnership and hope to incorporate visits to North Mass Boulder in the years to come for clubs and class.

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Have Questions?

Change is always challenging, especially when it may effect your children. Please share any questions or comments you have using the form below, or by emailing me directly at ahart@theoaksacademy.org.

I’ll respond to your inquiry directly and as quickly as I can.