At The College School, students are engaged and captivated by hands-on learning experiences. Learning through direct experience allows children to actively master skills. It brings their learning to life.
Walk into any classroom and you'll see hands raised, small groups assembled, presentations underway. You'll find teachers creating collaborative partnerships with students, encouraging them to discover and connect. You'll observe children engaged in meaningful hands-on projects that build skills and excite creativity.
You'll also see classrooms that are without children because the class has taken their learning into the field. We believe learning happens everywhere: in our classrooms, in the city, in the wilderness, on a walk around the neighborhood, or at the local farmers' market. As testimony to our experiential education, our three school buses log an average of 20,000 miles a year.
For early childhood students, experiential learning could mean creating and running their own grocery market. Fourth and fifth graders might tag Monarch butterflies and contribute their research to national institutions. Third graders might research, imagine, and plan a model community, while eighth graders navigate the Okefenokee Swamp, Smoky Mountains, and a barrier island performing field ecology research. Second graders might stage a Mexican Market, complete with song, dance, and handmade crafts, as kindergartners work in our greenhouse to record observations of plant growth in their science journals.
We draw on many different educational sources. It's not hard to see that our teachers and students benefit from the educational beliefs and practices of Jean Piaget (Constructivist Education), John Dewey (Progressive Education), Theodore Sizer (Coalition of Essential Schools), Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences), and Loris Malaguzzi (Reggio Emilia). We are always looking to learn about and practice what works best for children and fosters their connection and involvement with the curriculum.
Student involvement and immersion in the curriculum promotes a deep understanding of subjects and engenders a life-long passion for learning. There are many dimensions to our experiential education pedagogy that makes it so successful. These dimensions are evident throughout the building and our website, but a few key components of our approach to experiential and constructivist education are highlighted here: