“Each week we climbed onto school buses to embark on a new outdoor adventure. Could it be cold and rainy at the Schuylkill Center? YES! Could it sometimes be really tiring? YEAH! But was it also loads of fun that resulted in amazing memories?ABSOLUTELY! Our days at the Schuylkill Center gave us a break from the classroom while getting to learn new things outdoors. It was a great opportunity for hands-on learning. It made me see my teachers in a new light. This magical place helped grow some of my strongest friendships at TPS.” – Rebecca, TPS Class of 2018

Environmental education has been integral to The Philadelphia School since its founding in 1972. Our students begin their scientific education by focusing on what is familiar – animals, plants, soil, and weather – in order to develop the confidence to grapple with increasingly more abstract and complex concepts.

Our Country Classroom

Kindergarten through eighth grade classes spend a day each week in the fall and spring at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, a 340-acre open space area within Philadelphia's city limits. Preschoolers visit the Center twice a year. The property features four miles of hiking trails and a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, teaching ponds, and wetlands. The Schuylkill Center's education staff offer programmatic support and professional development.

Our "country classroom" program provides the hands-on experience to which we relate our science program, extending classroom studies in environmental, life, physical, and earth and space sciences. While science is a natural fit with the outdoors, teachers also use the time for exploration, discovery, art, writing, math, and other disciplines. Outdoor lessons often build on concepts begun in the classroom, and observations and data are likewise brought back to school for further reflection.

Our country site also offers students the chance to sit, hike, listen, and explore with a sense of freedom and solitude that is often hard to come by in the city. This intimate and personal connection to nature encourages our children to become involved and knowledgeable environmental stewards.

Get a sense of our students' appreciation of the natural world around them in a video they made to celebrate Earth Day.