What Do Children Learn From The World Ocean School Program In St. Croix?

The World Ocean School is a non-profit organization that serves at-risk students, most of whom live in low-income households, and many of whom deal with other struggles such as learning English as a second language or dealing with a learning disability. What the organization provides to students is a one-of-a-kind, real-world educational experience onboard Roseway, a historic schooner built in 1925. The educational programs offered on Roseway in St. Croix teach a wide range of skills.

Sailing Skills

With the help of crew members and onboard instructors, students learn all about sailing a ship and navigating its course. They learn how the boat is rigged and how to hoist the sail. They learn to tie different types of knots, how to climb the rigging, and how to navigate through the water. In addition, the students live the life of a sailor, doing all the chores and cooking, and sometimes sleeping below deck, depending on the type of program they’re participating in.

Math, Science, And Other Academic Skills

The organizers of the World Ocean School designed the program as a way to motivate students who are not highly motivated to learn academic skills in a school environment. Thus, teachers onboard the ship are also instructing the kids in academic subjects like math, physics, and biology through the experience of sailing. For example, students learn how to calculate the speed of the boat and about marine biology through observing the marine life all around them.

Cooperation Skills

Students onboard Roseway have to work together to accomplish major tasks, like hoisting the sail and lowering the anchor. They learn the value of putting the interests of the ship and their shipmates before their own and to value the contributions of each individual. Moreover, students have to hand over their phones and tablets when they board the ship, so they are living in the moment and engaging with others face to face throughout the program.

In 2015, this program was provided for students at Ricardo Richards Middle School using funds donated by Cane Bay Partners, a St. Croix-based management consulting firm owned by partners Kirk Chewning and David Johnson. The company continues to support World Ocean School programs in the Virgin Islands.