We use cookies to improve your online experience. To learn more please refer to ourCookie Policy.

Sorry but this form will not work without cookies enabled. Please adjust your browser settings to enable cookies to continue. For more information on how to do this please see ourPrivacy & Cookie Policy.

  • Truly International

    With over 70 nationalities, we are a diverse and welcoming school which prepares students to succeed anywhere in the world

    young children learning about nature on an outdoor campus

  • Globally-Respected Curricula

    We are the only school in Madrid to offer all three International Baccalaureate Programmes in English

    ICS Secondary student in art class

  • Learning to Love Learning

    We believe in helping a child to discover and pursue their passions, whether that’s in the classroom, on the pitch or on stage

    Primary students in their classroom on tablets

  • A Passion for Teaching

    Our teachers are dedicated to delivering high-quality education, and to helping every child reach their potential

    ICS Staff working in the school library

  • Join Our Community

    We are proud of our growing family of parents, teachers and socially-confident students. We’d love to welcome you too

    ICS admissions classroom photo school visit

  • A Vibrant Place to Be

    The school year is packed with activities and achievements. Celebrate them with us

    A secondary school pupil laughs as he plays volleyball outside

  • Tailored to Every Child

    Our students love coming to school. Get in touch with us and we can talk about how we can make your child’s school days special

    Grade 6 girls smile with puppets they have made in art class

Reinventing Wilderness: How We Turned Our Campus into the Guadarrama National Park

Andrew Hepworth
Andrew Hepworth (4 posts) Educational Trips Coordinator View Profile

While we usually turn to the wilderness, remote locations and mountains to teach the principles of outdoor leadership, the pandemic has taken away these scenarios and left us with the challenge of reinvention. Against our instincts and experiences, these circumstances have magically taught us to see opportunity where before we saw just a campus.

DofE Adventurous Journey tents ICS campus bronze

Our school is based in an urban municipality with a population of more than 100,000 people, surrounded by residential areas, major highways and industrial areas. This term, the grounds have taken a break from being a school and have emerged as a “wilderness” campsite. A hosepipe becomes a mountain stream, a cemented area acts as a huge rock suitable for lighting stoves. The surprise of a wild rain storm as we “accidentally” forgot to turn off the garden sprinkling system; huge jets of water careful aimed at the group and our tents putting students under pressure to cope with wet weather, keep clothes dry and protect equipment. This has become the setting for our Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. 

Adventure journey la moraleja bronze Duke of Edinburgh DofE

Our Adventurous Journeys consisted of some remarkable yet unexpected features, including Vereda Norte Street, Carrefour Shopping Centre, the nearby industrial site area and the pedestrian footbridge that crosses the M-603 motorway. Things started to become a little more similar to an expedition once we reached the gate at Monte de Valdelatas park. Here the industrial area abruptly turns into a 290-hectare green space, fenced in by major Madrid motorways, and yes, our micro-navigation skills were finally tested in true open terrain.

Adventure journey la moraleja Duke of Edinburgh DofE church

What remained strikingly similar to an old-fashioned wilderness approach was how we learnt experientially, practicing new key skills along the way. We experienced firsthand what it is like to look after ourselves and the other group members in truly cold conditions. We carried an actual weighted backpack, with the inseparable soreness that later comes with it. Likewise, we had to cook warm meals with cold hands, which produced real sensations in our stomachs. The feeling of sleeping on the ground with just the equipment that you are able to carry is unique and hard to replicate without doing just that.

Adventure journey la moraleja Duke of Edinburgh DofE bench

This year the Duke of Edinburgh award is exceptionally meaningful to our students and our ICS community at large. Beyond the insights and learnings that will enable our students to qualify for their adventurous journeys and complete the award, we have all been witnesses to our capacity to overcome and confront uncertainty as well as navigate change. Great problems require great solutions; we must constantly adapt and push our creativity so we can continue to move forward.  A brave thank you to the students, teachers, parents and management that chose to think big with us and see a wild spot where until now we could only see a campus.

Adventure journey la moraleja Duke of Edinburgh DofE fence

Congratulations to the student pioneers, who all did a great job and with an adventurous and creative spirit. 

Adventure journey la moraleja Duke of Edinburgh DofE map