“We put just as much emphasis on what happens in the classroom as what happens in the music room, art class, the theater, at camp, on the field, a farm or a field trip exploring the sights of a new city. A focus on spiritual development and on experiential learning has become our hallmark. It is what sets us apart. It is what makes us a success.”
Allison Rivera, President, Saint Martin de Porres Academy
Children living in poverty often do not have the opportunity to fully experience the world around them.
Saint Martin de Porres Academy fosters a broader worldview by organizing regular field trips and enrichment activities.
This foundation of experiential knowledge is something that our students will have in common with the peers they will meet at prestigious preparatory high schools, colleges and universities.
Our trips and activities undergird what our students are learning in school. These hands-on learning opportunities are a major component of our curriculum.
Science •Technology • Engineering • Math
During our 3-day science enrichment trip to Cape Cod, students experienced the wonders of underwater life and marine biology at Wood’s Hole in Provincetown.
Students went on a whale watch. They also spent time in an engineering lab, where they had the opportunity to see the mechanics behind the underwater vessels that explore life under the sea.
At Niagara Falls, students experienced the majesty of the Falls up close through a Maid of the Mist Tour
They visited the hands-on ‘Niagara Experience’ museum and took in the sights of the aquarium.
Students also visited the Cave of the Winds where water from the falls crashes around visitors, observing the effects of thousands of years of erosion on the rocks below. Their observations and experiences made their learning about environmental science come to life.
Our students have also visited museums such as:
- CT Science Center in Hartford, CT
- The Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT
- The National Museum of Math in NYC
- Museum of Science in Boston
- The Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden, CT
Visual & Performing Arts
We are blessed to live in a region rich in the arts.
An annual and especially fun experience for our students is the opportunity for the entire school to attend Sacred Heart Academy’s yearly musical held at the Shubert Theatre, especially since the cast often includes some SMPA graduates!
The New Haven Chorale has conducted a master vocal class for students and invited our school to attend their concerts. In addition, our students have attended productions at Carnegie Hall, The New Haven Symphony and Long Wharf Theatre.
Our students have visited:
- The Franklin Institute
- The Holocaust Museum
- The Yale Center for British Art
- The Knights of Columbus Museum
They have also explored the cities of Philadelphia, Boston, New York City and Washington, DC.
Each year all newly enrolled 5th and 6th graders spend 5 days at Mutt-i-grees, an ambitious instructional model that incorporates social and emotional learning to teach children how to experience and recognize their connection to other species, especially companion animals.
The goal is to foster empathy and to help develop our students’ social awareness, relationship skills and problem-solving abilities.
Learn More about our Mutt-i-grees program:
Vermont Dairy Farm
Our sixth graders spend a week on a 1,000-acre dairy farm in Vermont each fall, caring for animals and learning about where our food comes from.
Farms for City Kids is a unique program that combines academics with firsthand farming experience.
Students grow in awareness of the impact of our actions on the environment and participate in activities that teach sustainability. They then apply this knowledge to our own, small community garden.
In collaboration with Farms for City Kids, our students can spend part of their summer at a Vermont Survival Camp connecting with the outdoors through an incredible camping experience where they learn:
- To start a fire with flint and steel
- Wood whittling
- Emergency shelter building
- The basics of camouflage
Other favorites from the trip include making s’mores, star-gazing, and the wilderness edibles hike, where the students learned which plants and insects to eat in a survival situation.