Field-based learning is central to our program, and is what most sets us apart from most other schools; our students spend, on average, one day per week in the field. Field experiences range from day trips to month-long expeditions, and extend our classroom to include urban, backcountry, and international destinations.
An urban field outing may include visits to laboratories, museums, college campuses, or other places relevant to the curriculum. Students gain access to the diverse viewpoints of experts, peers, and others involved in a certain topic through direct interaction rather than a textbook or other media. Examples of urban destinations include time spent at a prosthetics lab while studying Anatomy, participation in a Coast Salish sweat ceremony as part of a Comparative Religions course, and special access to the Seattle Art Museum’s art restoration laboratory in a Renaissance Art History course.
Wilderness travel reinforces the values we share as a school community, and helps students reach personal and group goals. From day hikes to multi-day backpacking excursions, we explore the diversity of the Cascadia bioregion including the rugged North Cascades range and the Olympic Peninsula’s wild coast and breathtaking interior mountains. Our faculty boasts a broad range of backcountry skills and experience, are trained in Wilderness Advanced First Aid, and embrace Leave No Trace ethics. The group building, environmental stewardship, and personal awareness fostered through wilderness travel are almost impossible to obtain through any other means.
International study and service expeditions further underscore our belief that global citizenship is a central part of a 21st Century education. On these month-long expeditions students gain first-hand experience with other cultures, faiths, and world-views, not just as travelers but also as volunteer participants in the society they are visiting, often building lasting friendships with those met abroad. They gain in character as well as intellect, building flexibility, resilience, compassion, creativity, and maturity. Some destinations Explorations Academy students and faculty have studied include: India, Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Ireland, Thailand, Cuba, and Guatemala.