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Classroom Without Walls Program

Each child spends one day a week outside the classroom, either in nature or visiting interesting and content-relevant sites in the Bay Area. This is the program called “Classroom Without Walls.”

Examples of activities are:
Kayaking, hiking, sailing on an educational schooner, environmental projects, rock climbing (indoor and outdoors), field trips to places of interest (both indoor and outdoor), visiting local farms, gardens and ranches. The children are active participants in the world, learning through hands-on exploration and discovery.

We believe that school is an actual extension of home; school is a part of life and learning takes place everywhere.

Thus the children get to know in a real sense:

  • the region in which they live
  • the natural phenomena by which they are surrounded
  • learn to feel at ease in their bodies in nature
  • learn skills that will benefit them not only in nature but also in life
  • and become confident in dealing with new situations and people.

At the New Village School, we hold the value that the foremost way to make the world a better place in which to live is through the education of our children. We realize that the first place of education is the home, of course. And then, the education of our children takes place in schools. But for us, we do not define school as the mere building where learning takes place. School, inside and outside the classroom walls, is where the ability to be in a reverent and respectful relationship to the world can be learned. This is where the ability to be at peace with oneself and thus to have the ability to be at peace with others can be developed. This is where learning how to “be” can be experienced as more important than learning how to “have."

An integral component of the school’s philosophy is to offer opportunities for children to experience adults in their work. It is difficult these days for fathers and mothers to explain to their children what they do: “ I work in software” is not quite the same as “I am going to make a chair in the woodshop.” Being surrounded by artisans and artists in the local Bay Area not only provides the children with real experiences of people at work, but also gives the artists and artisans themselves the chance to share their work with children.  We are committed to educating our children so that they become true “citizens of the world," finding their own reflection in those of others, both near and far. We believe that through this education, we are taking one small step closer to creating world peace and helping to heal the world.

Some examples of the experiences shared by New Village Students include: visiting a Passive Housing project; participating with a group of Tibetan monks to create a sand mandala at Grace Cathedral; having Aztec dancers perform their native dance and play their instruments; visiting with local poets who recited original poetry for the children, and receiving a painting demonstration from an 80-year-old watercolor painter. During all these meetings, the children of the New Village School not only learned from the visitors, but they were able to share their own gifts and talents in kind. They sang for the monks, they recited Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem, Praise for the Day, for the poets; they shared their paintings with the watercolorist; they acted out an original play about the Aztecs, in Spanish, for the dancers. In all of these exchanges, the children were so sincere in their gesture, so interested in the people that they met, that many of the visitors were moved to tears. These unique, invaluable experiences are part of our Classroom Without Walls program.