Age of Sail trip may be set adrift |

Age of Sail trip may be set adrift

Every year for the past decade, fourth graders at Deer Creek School have been participating in the Age of Sail overnight program in San Francisco.

But they may not next year.

Fourth-grade teachers are looking at alternative field trip programs primarily because it takes too much time to prepare students for the Age of Sail trip, Principal Mike McGarr said.

Age of Sail is a program where students work aboard old ships – the Balclutha and C.A. Thayer, moored at the Hyde Street Pier – spending the night and playing the role of crew members. Students perform tasks such as moving cargo, throwing heavy lines, setting hawsers, rowing a long boat and standing night watch under the orders of a captain.

Although student groups are accompanied by teachers and parents, the adults allow the children to do the activities on their own, thereby learning teamwork, communication and responsibility.

Teachers at Deer Creek School typically hold one-and-a-half hour sessions on five days – spanning several weeks – with parents and students to prepare them.

While most students enjoy the role-playing, some don’t agree with “the militaristic side” of the program, McGarr said.

“I have to say the group that went last time had a good trip,” McGarr said. “The Age of Sail program changed a little for our kids. It wasn’t nearly as militaristic. It was firm, but they included lots of history.”

One of the options teachers are considering right now, McGarr said, was to continue attending the Age of Sail program but modify other activities students do while in San Francisco to include more history and less sight-seeing.

Age of Sail recently recognized Deer Creek School for its involvement in the program for years and also for preparing the students well for the trip, McGarr said.


To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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