Experiential Learning

Academics

The PYP (K - Grade 4) offers learning experiences that are engaging, relevant, challenging and significant in environments that are stimulating. Teachers assume the role of facilitator for the process of empowering student learning. Furthermore, students are encouraged to be curious, inquisitive, ask questions, explore and interact with the environment physically, socially and intellectually. In light of this practice, there is a broad range of learning opportunities offered to the students so that their environment is varied and diverse. Field trips are a part of each grade and are linked to their unit of inquiry.

The MYP (Grades 5 – 7) provides a broad base of eight disciplines concurrently, ensuring that students have a balanced curriculum each year. The aim is that students develop a genuine understanding of each discipline’s concepts and an ability to apply these in new contexts – particularly linked to a global setting. The goal is the development of the whole student: affective, cognitive, creative and physical; this is done by offering the student a wide range of experiences. All classes attend field trips that are linked to their unit of study, the guest speakers are brought in to offer alternative perspectives. Each year of the MYP involves an outdoor educational experience to facilitate diverse learning in an alternate environment.

The Senior School Educational Program (Grades 8 – 12) provides students with many ‘hands-on’ learning experiences, from thought-provoking science activity, to building a three-dimensional model in art. They are encouraged to question, to create and to innovate. We aim to build authentic learning experiences into the curriculum; this may take the form of a visiting speaker (a holocaust survivor or environmentalist), creating the perfect crystal in chemistry or a field trip to study fish habitats in biology. Academic study is allied to concrete experiences both within and outside the walls of the classroom, and in this way the academic program contributes to the holistic education of our students.

Fine and Performing Arts

At Southridge, arts education involves all four processes of the experiential learning cycle. Almost all learning in the arts involves a concrete, hands-on experience. Whether it is singing in a choir, playing an instrument in an ensemble, composing new music, painting on a canvas, making a film or film or acting on stage, students use their minds and bodies to create art and communicate with others. Experimentation is a natural and expected part of the creative process. Students have opportunities in class, on field trips and during extracurricular arts activities to take their turn in the roles of creator, performer, audience and critic. Making and experiencing art in different situations and from different points of view allows students to develop a conceptual understanding of the arts that is both broad and deep. Natural and authentic feedback, group discussions and audience responses promote both self and team reflections, and this reflective thinking leads to further experimentation.

Athletics

In the Junior School opportunities are also presented for fitness within their physical education and daily physical activity plans. Excursions for skating, the PYP Picnic and the PYP Feast offer occasions for varied environments with experimental components.

Participation in Senior School athletics involves situations where student-athletes must make value-based decisions. Athletics at Southridge acts not simply as a vehicle to provide opportunities for personal growth, but also helps to create an environment for acquiring principled personal growth and social attitudes, as well as values, behaviours and moral growth. We believe that what is learned in the sport setting transfers to other spheres of life. At Southridge, integrity in sport is intimately tied to the integrity of the school as a whole

Service Learning

Service learning at Southridge involves all four processes of the experiential learning cycle. Students are immersed in a service activity. Such an activity is real, intense and often powerful, leading to reflection around deeper social justice issues and student’s relationships to others. From their reflection on their experiences, students will develop a framework that explains what they have learned. When they engage in their next service activity, they are able to test their framework and see if it holds true or needs adjustment. By being reality-based and hands-on, service learning is a very effective way for students to learn.

Outdoor Education

Outdoor education at Southridge involves all four processes of the experiential learning cycle. Students from Grades 4 - 12 are immersed in the outdoors where they participate in a variety of activities. These activities are intense and challenging, which can lead to reflection about one’s fears, abilities and relationships to others. From their refection on their experiences, students can develop a framework that explains what they have learned, how to cooperate as a team and the benefits of positive leadership. Once they return to another activity, they are able to test their framework and see if it holds true or needs adjustments. By being both reality-based and hands-on, outdoor education is a very effective way for students to learn.

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