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    The Experiential Academy - An educational option close to home!

    The Clinton County area has a new educational option right here in Clinton County.

    The Experiential Academy has begun its 2nd year of operation serving children in grades 3-7.  The Experiential Academy is a private, independent, non-sectarian day school focused on experiential learning, serving students in grades 3-7. Moving beyond the typical instructional methods of lecture and repetition, our hands- on approach to learning utilizes life-enriching activities, field trips and adventure to present subject content in a relatable and engaging way.  Our curriculum covers the Ohio Academic Content Standards but goes to a deeper level by giving students opportunities to test their theories and practice intensive research.

    During our first year we established a curriculum that has experiential time built into each day. The students engaged in workshops to stretch their minds and bodies.  Our list of workshops included, riding, fencing, stained glass, painting, sculpture, yoga, aviation, martial arts, ballroom dancing, lacrosse and rugby.

    Experientia Docet, the motto of the academy, is Latin meaning “Experience Teaches.” The idea behind the workshops is to expose children to activities outside of their normal experiences. Children can never learn to love something they haven’t experienced. When students find an activity that they really enjoy, they have the opportunity to form a club to do more of that activity after the workshop period is over.

    Educational research tells us that class size is an important factor in learning, only if you can get the class size below 15 students. Based on that fact, the academy limits the class sizes to 12. This lower class size allows teachers to have more interactions with each student. It allows students to form closer relationships with each other. Student relationships are intentionally fostered at the academy. We spend the first two days of the year giving students group initiatives to solve together as a team. After each initiative, the teacher debriefs the group to analyze what happened, why that happened, does that happen in real life? Then they ask how they can use what they just learned in their daily life. Our teachers are trained in facilitating learning. That means they give students problems to solve, with the necessary information, tools, and time to solve them. Then the teachers facilitate learning by guiding students in thinking about what they just did and taking meaning from their activities. Our teachers spend more time asking students reflective questions than they do just giving out facts for students to learn. We find that students remember information best when the student forms questions in their mind and asks the teacher to explain what just happened or how does that happen.

    The next blog will focus on the question “Why do we need educational options in Clinton County?”