About CELC

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Because Middle School Matters

The years between elementary school and high school are pivotal years for personal and academic development. Parents know that in these years critical questions will be answered:

  • will my child drift as a student, or will he find his own desire to learn?
  • will peer pressure drive my child, or will she find her own compass?
  • will my child have a narrow view of the world, or will it expand?

Get to Know CELC

Looking for a learning environment where your child can thrive?


Imagine the Middle School Years

                        … where your child excels socially and academically, not retreats or hides,

                        … personalized to your child’s individual learning style,

                        … where each student learns not what to learn, but how to learn,

                        … as joyful, exciting, and boundless,

                        … transformational to your child’s future.

 It happens here. There is such a school.

CELC Middle School is a unique experientially based middle school in Branford, CT, promoting learner-centered robust academics combined with out-of-the-classroom experiences, 5th – 8th grade (selected 4th-graders).


Limited openings are available now for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Contact [email protected] 
or call 203.433.4658 for more information.

The Ultimate Choice for Middle School: enter, CELC!

CELC was founded in 2009 by educators Maria Mortali and Melinda Alcosser.  Designed to have a low teacher student ratio, individuals are met where they are and challenged, based on their own ability and skill level.

CELC sees each child as unique, capable, curious, wondrous. We know that learning starts with children’s interests, passions, and aspirations, and that the goal of education is for us to each discover who we are, what our gifts are, and how to contribute those in a meaningful way to the world.

Small in size yet lasting in impact, CELC prides itself on teaching children the value of being productive members of the local community and constructive citizens of the world.

CT Experiential Learning Center (CELC) is a 501c3 tax-exempt corporation.  CELC welcomes students, families, faculty and staff of diverse nations, religions, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the CELC learning community.


“Life at CELC is unlike any other school. There is a place for any personality or learner. Through our everyday experiences we build relationships, and we become like a family. We go out into the world together. We work together and grow together. It is the best feeling to feel like you always have a place. You can just be you and find your place at CELC. It doesn’t matter what we are doing — hard and dedicated math, out in the woods, or walking the streets in Washington, D.C. – we always have a place to learn and have fun.”

Hannah, 8th-grade student at CELC