Experiential Education

“Experiential education is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values.”  – Association of Experiential Education

CELC offers experientially-based teaching as a way for students to involve themselves in learning beyond the walls of a traditional classroom.  Learners are invited to participate in a strategically-designed format which integrates the student’s academic study with field experiences.

Each year a social studies-based theme encourages CELC students to immerse themselves in a focused study that primes for discovery and development of a new understanding. The following illustrate samples of theme topics:

Immigration: Quest for Freedom in America

Students begin by compiling a family “scrapbook”, documenting immigration stories of their own ancestry. The scrapbook will become a document that includes aspects such as family traditions, clothing, religion, recipes, family tree, and much more. Students will then study a particular country from where a mass immigration to the United States has occurred. They will write a research paper about this country. For the final portion of this study, students will develop a persona for an immigrant and design a “habitat” to illustrate the life of the character in an historic fictional context. Examples of field experiences that coincide with an immigration study may include visits to The Lower East Side Tenement Museum and “Nosh Tour” and a visit to Heifer International’s Overlook Farm.

Exploration and Discovery

Beginning with personal passions and understanding how nurturing one’s passion can lead someone to dreaming dreams and living with integrity to aspiring to one’s purpose – so that the work becomes the purpose – students are asked to think about their interests. What brings them joy? Toward which activities are they drawn? Field experiences are unique to the set of students at a given time; students share their own personal passions with the others in the class. Organizing ideas, developing plans, and creating a way to allow others to experience what is meaningful to the student about his passion.

Students will then study Explorers of the World who have added to the map. From the ancients to the moderns, from celestial navigation to GPS, humans seek to explore the world around them.

To culminate our study students will choose someone who has made a significant impact on the world, research this person, write a research paper, and ultimately will “become” this person by creating a living museum to share in “real time” the life of the individual.