FAIRFIELD — The fifth grade at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School spent last week at Nature’s Classroom in Andover, CT. Fifth grade teachers, Colleen Fallon and Paul Piorek, collaborated to offer this program which enhances the STEM curriculum with environmental science in a “living laboratory.”

The week-long field trip was non-stop learning: hands-on activities, team building, nature hikes, quarry exploration, botany experiments and dissection, campfire sessions. Students come away with a deep appreciation for the natural world, a feeling of independence, and camaraderie with each other that continues as they return home and transition into middle school.

“There is no better time than the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day to foster this type of appreciation of our planet. This fieldtrip reinforces the core value of stewardship for Earth and its resources. Everything we have is a gift from God.” said Mr. Piorek.

“This is one of the most memorable events for our elementary students. It’s a rite of passage for this grade, they are just mature enough to handle the independence away from home,” commented Mrs. Fallon, “and students spent the week separated from their electronic devices talking to each other!” Mrs. Fallon did laisse with parents, treating them to a few real-time communications — posting videos and photos the closed classroom app throughout the week.