Each year, students in grades five through twelve participate in Intensive Learning programs during the week prior to spring break. Intensive Learning has been a school tradition for over 35 years, as each grade in the Middle and Upper Schools takes an in-depth look at a particular topic or issue. Normal class schedules are suspended for the week, allowing students to take overnight field trips both locally and abroad, complete hands-on projects, and engage in other activities which apply what they have learned.
Topics studied vary by grade for Middle School students, while the Upper School students go through a selection process to determine their topic/activities for the week. Though the topics differ based on your grade and/or selection, many of the programs similarly focus on service learning. Upper School students will travel to Camden each day to engage with various service organizations. Other groups will participate in a Bayshore Discovery Project where they will learn about the Delaware Bay wetlands ecosystem and help restore New Jersey’s tall ship, the AJ Meerwald. MFS is committed not just to service work, but also to service learning, which means that students will study the causes of and possible solutions to the problems and issues with which they are engaged.
There are also various opportunities for Upper School students to participate in Intensive Learning and immersion abroad which include a Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief trip, a Cuban language program, a Martinique Cultural and Linguistic Diversity trip, a Math and Science Exploration in Greece and Italy, and more.
The Intensive Learning subjects for each Middle School grade are as follows:
Grade 5: Art, Chinese culture, and a U.S. 19th century seaport—Students take one-day trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Chinatown, and a three-day trip to Mystic, CT.
Grade 6: Service and Adventure—Students explore local outdoor sites and spend the night at the Pocono Environmental Education Center.
Grade 7: Musical Theater—students work on all aspects of a theatrical production, and perform it for their parents.
Grade 8: Environmental Education—includes trips to the Rancocas Nature Center, environmental education work on campus, and a three-day trip to YMCA of the Pines in Medford, NJ.