Place-based learning helps students develop an appreciation and understanding of the world around them while building future-ready skills. Our approach helps students gain a more concrete understanding of the lessons they’re learning in class through direct application.
What does place-based learning look like in action?
Whatever the topic, we create opportunities to integrate curriculum with experiences both in and out of the classroom and engage knowledgeable experts whenever possible. In the classroom, this can be students developing an interactive, multi-media Civil Rights Museum to bring history and current issues to life, creating a business and defending their ideas to business experts in the Business Game, or integrating science and art concepts in the Chemistry Cafe to produce delicious results–to name just a few.
By exploring our 360-acre campus and getting out into the St. Louis community, students broaden their horizons through organic, enriching experiences outside of the classroom. Whether it’s engaging with local SLAM poets after learning to write their own poems, using teamwork skills on an overnight canoe trip, or visiting the St. Louis Art Museum while studying Impressionism, impactful learning opportunities bring theory to life and help cement understanding of key concepts.
Purposeful travel is an effective way to deepen connections and inspire global citizenship. Throughout their time in Middle School, all students participate in curriculum-based trips to Arizona, New York, and Costa Rica. These trips provide opportunities to integrate the curriculum beyond our campus borders and bring aspects of history, language, culture, and science to life. Additionally, Middle School students frequently visit organizations and sites in St. Louis to better understand important lessons they’re learning in the classroom and connect with their local community.
There are various opportunities throughout the year for Middle School students to give back to their school, their community, and the world. Through the Principia Adventure program, sixth and seventh graders engage with community service projects off-campus. At Christmas time, the Middle School supports Operation Christmas Child—a Samaritan’s Purse relief project gathering items and gifts for underprivileged children. Students also support school-wide initiatives and projects throughout the year.