Learning for Life - We do it by allowing school to be a “way of life” rather than a place where you come to prove what you know or what you don’t know. We allow each child the opportunity to feel what it is like to lead a meaningful, fulfilled life. It is not something one has to postpone until school is over. School itself is alive, real, authentic, with immediate possibilities for sensory experiences and thoughtful reflection.
Traveling Near and Far - We do it by going off campus every week. We travel further and further afield as they grow older, eventually visiting countries such as Morocco, Mexico, Japan, London, Lisbon, Peru, refugee camps in Greece, and more.
Learning Entrepreneurship - We do it by teaching them how to earn money financing these trips from 7th grade onward.
Self Sufficiency - We do it by teaching students how to grow, cook, feed, clothe and create shelter for themselves.
Thinking Critically - We do it by teaching how to think constructively and creatively and how to proof that thinking within any setting. Our students reflect deeply on why we do things the way we do, and whether it is helpful to do so.
The World is our Classroom - we retreat behind classroom walls only to reflect, read, write, think, and conceive new ideas that could serve the planet.
Subjects are Aspects of a Whole - Everything we learn contributes to the understanding of the whole. We speak about what others call “subjects” as aspects of the Whole.
Learning Languages - Every child learns Spanish. We do live in California after all. Each child also learns one more language: Punjabi, Japanese, Russian, and Arabic are current example offerings. There have been and will be additional languages as our classes grow and graduate.
Varying Student Experience- We do it by offering the most varied opportunities through:
Self Development - We help our students experience the SELF in the most varied circumstances thus offering an opportunity to know who they are when they are their most capable and authentic selves. When using that inner barometer of the authentic self, it is much easier to be discerning around truth and untruth.
Self Motivation- By offering the most varied ways of interacting with materials, other living beings and the world in general, the students have a chance to discover an activity or theme where they experience themselves as “motivated” from within.
By having had at least one or two such experiences, students are more able to tap into that source of energy when they don’t have an immediate interest in a topic.
We do it by ensuring our teachers bring content in a way that makes it obvious where its meaningfulness and usefulness lie in the grand scheme of learning.
Child Studies - If we find that a student is not yet able to access that place of motivation, we take time to deeply study the child, alongside the parents, to come to a clearer understanding of what the hindrances might be.
Meeting People From Many Cultures - We do it by speaking to people on our travels, sensing who the other is, and by welcoming those from different cultures and places.
Respect and Reverence - We develop a profound reverence for all living organisms on our excursions into nature, both on land and sea.
Caring for our Bodies - The body is seen as a vehicle, an instrument, that needs to be tuned and attuned to the authentic inner voice. Feelings are taken seriously, but more than that, we encourage students to ask themselves, “What do I do with these feelings so that I do not become them and they don’t affect others negatively?”
Self Discipline - We do it by being self-motivated and self-disciplined, by being the guide of the SELF more and more over the years, by having teachers who live this way and are not subject to a boss (see our Leaderships Model). Our children see demonstrated every day what it means to be our own guides and to guide the school organizationally.
Historical and Global Awareness - We use geography as the context for history. Societal questions such as racism, sexism, prejudice, war, societal change - to name a few - serve to allow the student to be aware and knowledgeable, as a 14-year-old student, why an event is taking place in the way it is now.