INTERNATIONAL STUDY TOURS
We live in a different world than our parents and grandparents did – a world that requires us to know about our neighbors in other countries. To help our scholars reach this goal, Stokes Schools’ curriculum includes intensive international and language studies. To culminate our scholars’ years of studies, fifth grade scholars embark on a one-week International Study Tour to Martinique or Panama each year.
All year, scholars prepare for this excursion by taking virtual tours of Martinique and Panama, and doing interdisciplinary studies of French and Spanish. The scholars also study volcanoes and marine biology, literature, art, social studies, and music in preparation of the trip.
At Stokes School, we aim not only to prepare our scholars to successfully take on the next step of their academic journey, but to create life long learners and lovers of learning. Travel encourages scholars to be confident and flexible. They learn to handle appropriate behaviors based on different cultural norms. This is an invaluable lesson that can be applied to a variety of different contexts. Our scholars gain a greater understanding and appreciation of themselves and of their own culture by being exposed to the cultures of Martinique and Panama.
“We can’t just sit over here and look at books or look at TV and expect to learn what they [people in other cultures] do. We have to actually learn from them, and that’s the only way we can really interact with them and make a strong connection.”
-Sean Bullock, Class of 2004
“I encourage every family to send their child on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. And, if you can, accompany your child. Grow memories that will last a lifetime. This trip will expand their understanding of the world on a global level. For them to be exposed to another culture at such a young age can only set the foundation for them to spring forward into infinite possibilities we can’t even dream for them.”
-Monica Blair, parent Class of 2014
While in Panama, our scholars fully immerse in Panamanian culture. They visit one of our sister schools, the Instituto Pan Americano (IPA), where each student is paired with a “buddy” student from the school. Together students from Stokes and IPA visit the Palacio de las Garzas, home of the president of Panama.
Afterward, our scholars visit the homes of their buddies, meet their families, share a meal, and see what a day is like in the life of a Panamanian student. Stokes scholars study the environment in Panama. They travel to the Gamboa Rainforest, learn about its unique ecosystem, and discuss current threats to its survival and how they might be prevented.
They also visit the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal, ride through the locks system on a boat, travel to Kuna Yala Island, where they visit a Guna school and play soccer with students, and take a horseback ride through El Valle, a fertile valley created by a volcano.
Stokes scholars who travel to Martinique also start their trip with a visit to our other sister school, L'Ecole Élementaire Simone Vatone, to meet their student “buddies.” Together with their buddies, they explore the Lamentin Mangrove, one of the largest tropical forests in the Lesser Antilles, by kayak.
“I was a little scared at first, but now I know I can go anywhere and do anything.”
-Adrian Peralta, Class of 2008
Our scholars visit Fort-de-France, where they explore the Schoelcher Library and an Archeology Museum where they learn about pre-Columbian cultures. They also travel to St. Pierre, where they learn about volcanoes at an Earth and Science Museum in the shadow of Mount Pelée, an active volcano, and visit the ruins left by Pelée’s last eruption in 1902.
At the Eco-museum Riviere-Pilote, our scholars learn about Martinique’s unique history, and at La Ferme de Perrine they encounter farm animals and other, more wild animals native to Martinique, like parrots and jaguars. Of course, our scholars are always sure to stop by the beach for some down time.