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Information for Parents

Welcome, parents! We look forward to providing your child with a fun and educational week at Cuyamaca Outdoor School. A San Diego tradition since 1946, your child will have the opportunity to create lifelong memories and learn:

  • Appreciation of nature
  • Understanding of how life functions on Earth
  • How to think like a scientist
  • How to have a positive impact on the environment

Additionally, your child will experience important social and emotional growth at Cuyamaca Outdoor School. They will meet new people, make new friends, practice teamwork, and learn to live in a community.  We encourage students to be “ICARE Kids” by demonstrating Integrity, Cooperation, positive Attitude, Respect, and self Esteem.

The Cuyamaca Outdoor School curriculum is standards-based, hands-on citizen science. Learning takes place outside in the beautiful Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Our well-educated, knowledgeable, and highly skilled staff are SDCOE employees who are fingerprinted and undergo thorough background checks. Students are always supervised by a Cuyamaca staff member, even overnight.

Preparing your Child for Outdoor School

  • Carefully review the Student Packing List and pack only the items listed in the “Bring These Items” section. There is no cell phone coverage at Cuyamaca, so please do not send your child’s cell phone. Please don’t buy expensive items just for this trip – it’s OK to borrow items such as a sleeping bag, warm coat, etc., from family and friends.
  • Please read our Homesickness Guide to help your child prepare for a week away from home.
  • The dining hall serves tasty, healthy meals. Our campus is nut-free. Outside food and snacks are not allowed. If your child has special dietary needs, please complete the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations form and give it to your child's teacher. You may also contact our Child Nutrition Supervisor at 760-307-1614 or
  • If your child takes regular prescription or over-the-counter medications, you will need to complete a Medication Authorization Form. The form must be signed by both you and a doctor from the United States. Medications must be in their original containers and given to your child’s teacher.
  • Ask your child’s teacher about ordering a souvenir T-shirt, beanie, or ballcap.
  • Check out our FAQ’s for more information.

During Your Child’s Week at Cuyamaca Outdoor School

Your child will participate in a variety of outdoor activities, including nature studies, citizen science projects, and outdoor recreation. Students will live in a large cabin with other students of the same gender. Cabins have bunk beds, heat, and indoor restrooms and showers with curtains. Meals are served family-style in our large dining hall. Check out our sample schedule and FAQ’s for more details. 

Videos for Parents

REI presents “Should I send my child to Cuyamaca Outdoor School?”

Video Transcript

La empresa REI presenta “¿Deberia mandar a mi hijo al campamento de sexto año?”