VCS Ready To Teach 21st Century Skills on Newly Opened Challenge Course
In its pursuit to become the best Christian school of the 21st Century, Village Christian is implementing innovative ways to equip students with skills for the ever-changing marketplace.
And it’s doing so with new and unique enhancements rarely seen in the Greater Los Angeles area.
On Friday, December 11, 2015, VCS staff, families, and students commemorated the completion of an on-campus Adventure Challenge Course, which will be used to teach middle school students essential skills such as creativity and innovation; critical thinking and problem solving; and communication and collaboration.
The course features a wide variety of obstacles ranging from a climbing wall to a rope swing to cable walks – all designed to teach students valuable lessons in an unconventional setting. Spotters and special padding will be utilized to ensure safety while on the course elements.
“The Challenge Course enhances student growth in a way that really nothing else can,” said Middle/High School Principal Bruce Osgood. “It’s not just unique for unique sake; it’s unique because it makes sense developmentally to have it at this stage. Middle school needs this, and we think we will see payoff for our students as individuals and for them as a class.”
The core skills the Challenge Course will teach were identified by Partnership For 21st Century Learning (P21), whose Framework for 21st Century Learning “was developed with input from teachers, education experts, and business leaders to define and illustrate the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in work, life and citizenship, as well as the support systems necessary for 21st Century learning outcomes,” according to its official website.
To test the course, which is located on the east side of campus up the hillside trail, the VCS eighth-grade “Crewsader” Leadership class, was asked to complete a series of orchestrated challenges on November 30 and December 10.
The students then had to go one step further and create new tasks and activities, which will be incorporated into future curriculum.
The opportunity was not lost on the students.
“It’s exciting because we get to lay the foundation for all the students to come,” said eighth-grader Miles Chun. “It’s a really big responsibility to help create games and activities to help them. Having it be our responsibility and not only the administration is also really exciting because we think how the students think.”
That doesn’t mean the challenges will be easy. Far from it, in fact.
“You have to be creative,” said classmate Brooke Shaw. “You have to think outside the box, and everyone has to participate. You have to continue to try your best and work as a team despite the difficulties and struggles.”
And that’s exactly what the course is meant to foster in the students through teamwork and reflection.
“The Challenge Course is the result of collaboration between our Administration, faculty, parents, local businesses and the Middle School PTF,” said Head of School Tom Konjoyan. “We are so grateful for this unique new addition to our school.”
To create the surface area, approximately 190 yards of dirt was cleared with the help of Shaun Mitchell and Mitchell Environmental Concrete, who donated labor and equipment.
Dan Moore of D&D Construction donated labor, equipment, and materials, completing 90 percent of the course elements, while SSS Construction provided additional finishing to the obstacles.
The Middle School PTF played a critical role in funding and support, and senior Jordan Ackerley donated and built an on-site storage shed as an Eagle Scout project.