Mission Cliffs is no stranger to bringing kids to new heights through indoor climbing programs. Children benefit from learning and experiencing climbing in myriad ways, but recently an entire school was enriched by their commitment to supporting their local communities.
For the spring auction benefiting the Parent-Teacher Association, Touchstone Climbing donated equipment and day passes to Sherman Elementary School in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood for an event called “Time with Teachers.” “Time with Teachers” offers Sherman students the opportunity to go on an outing with their educators. Physical Education teacher, Amy Matarazzo, and kindergarten teacher, Judy Alexander, have been climbing together at Mission Cliffs for the balance of the school year and decided that a “students climb, teachers belay day” would be an excellent way to support Sherman’s PTA. In addition, it would be a fun a way to expose children to the joys that climbing indoors brings them on a weekly basis.
Sherman Elementary third graders Connor Jernigan, Sabina Lewis, Lina Shibley and fourth grader Brody Andrews were the lucky participants of the climb with teachers day. All four children had had some experience climbing, but none had ever had the experience of being belayed by their teachers or learning about climbing safety or techniques from them. “I felt good when I was rock climbing because someone was watching me. I thought it was really cool to have an adventure,” said Brody. Connor agreed, adding, “I liked the feeling that when I was climbing I wasn’t going to fall. I felt really safe and comfortable.”
Lena described what it was like to climb with teachers from her school. “I didn’t know that they were rock climbers, so I got to know something new about them. I liked when we were climbing up the walls and how we got to go on different [routes]. I went on a really high one!”
Teachers Matarazzo and Alexander were equally pleased. “The whole goal is to pass on skills and experiences that we love to students. The hope is that they will find the same joy and challenge in it that we do, and also build a love for physical activity from a young age,” Matarazzo said. The event seems to have set this goal in motion, because when asked what she liked best about the day, Sabina quickly responded, “Everything.” She was all smiles. When asked if she would continue rock climbing after the climb with her teachers, she responded, “Big time!”
“The problem solving element in climbing is directly related to the critical thinking work that we hope to nurture within a school setting,” Alexander noted. Academic experiences should not exist in a bubble and the Mission Cliffs climbing outing underscores the fact: teachers and students alike are enriched by opportunities to grow and learn beyond the boundaries of a school’s campus.
Thank you, Touchstone Climbing!