Curriculum Integrated Experiential Learning!
CT Experiential Learning Center (CELC) Middle School of Branford engages students through academic rigor in combination with hands-on and real-world experiences within a supportive learning community.
Students come from a variety of towns throughout Connecticut, from families looking for a program that engages and deepens learning, where their children thrive during these important and impactful 5th- 8th grade years.
The intention of the Connecticut Experiential Learning Center (CELC) is to challenge students and nurture their highest potential. By providing a learning community based in the guiding principles of respect, integrity, responsibility and individual learning, the innate desire of all children to learn, grow, communicate, and create is honored. CELC provides an energizing, personalized, and significant middle school experience.
Click on the links below to listen to interviews with CELC parents and alumni describing why they chose CELC for middle school education.
“CT Experiential Learning Center is middle school at its best!”
CT Experiential Learning Center is a proud member of the Coalition of Essential Schools.
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?
Connecticut’s only experientially-based middle school, CELC was founded in 2009 by educators Maria Mortali and Melinda Alcosser to provide instruction for students ages ten – fourteen. The program is designed to have a low teacher student ratio. Individuals are met where they are and challenged, based on their own ability and skill level.
Students are accepted into this program after an admissions process to determine whether this type of setting is a right fit. Student success comes with a commitment to participate and try new things, work hard, stretch and grow as individuals and as part of a community.
In addition to time spent in the classroom, CELC students are regularly offsite for the outdoor education and field experience portion of the program. Art classes are held onsite for one-third of the year and offsite for two-thirds of the year; students work with partnering organizations, such as Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven and Krowe’s Nest Studio in Durham.
CELC offers opportunities for homeschooled students, who apply to participate on a part-time basis. “Homeschool Mondays” is offered each trimester. Other opportunities for part-time students include Geography Bee practice sessions, drama classes, and hiking. CELC also shares with the public its Science Fair display and other interactive Share Days throughout the year.
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 admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CELC. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and other CELC administered programs.
WHAT EVERYONE IS SAYING ABOUT CELC!
“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