In addition to a rigorous curriculum, Principia students are challenged to put their understanding into practice through enriching signature programs that provide hands-on, relevant experiences.
Whether students are designing their own businesses in entrepreneurship classes or embarking on educational trips around the world, signature programs are designed to develop creative and critical thinkers who are prepared to embrace the challenges of today and tomorrow. Take a peek at some of the innovative educational and experiential offerings available to students at Principia.
Travel does much more than create happy memories; local and international trips teach lasting life lessons, deepen connections to the curriculum, and cultivate an understanding of the larger world. At Principia, students at all levels have the opportunity to embark on curriculum-based travel adventures, as well as character trips that broaden their understanding of the world around them. Whether traveling to far away places like South Africa or merely stepping beyond campus to support the local St. Louis community, rich travel opportunities bring the curriculum to life and are an integral part of the Principia experience.
100% of Upper School and Middle School students travel domestically and/or internationally with Principia.
The average number of trips Principia students participate in during their education:
11 Upper School trip opportunities: 5 required trips and 6 optional excursions
3 Middle School core travel experiences with additional local field trips
1 Lower School class trip (grade 5) and dozens of local field trips (all grades)
Entrepreneurship 1: Going beyond traditional business instruction, entrepreneurship classes offer unique opportunities for students to stoke their entrepreneurial curiosity. Entrepreneurship is introduced in the Middle School and carried into the Upper School. Required for all freshmen, Entrepreneurship 1 helps students understand how the leadership qualities necessary for business can be applied in a variety of fields. With a mixture of theory, hands-on activities, and discussions with entrepreneurs, this course takes students through the entire process of creating a business and selling products to customers.
Entrepreneurship 2: This elective course gives budding business owners an opportunity to dive deeper into ideation, financing, law, marketing, and business leadership.
The Business Game: This Middle School activity is an Integrated Studies unit that culminates in a “Shark Tank”-like game that the students and adults look forward to every year.
For three weeks each spring, every senior has the opportunity to delve into a topic of individual interest that incorporates elements of service—working with both a sponsor and an “expert” in his or her field of exploration. Beginning in the fall and continuing throughout senior year, students plan their capstone senior project with measured steps to identify their interests, collaborate with peers, develop a proposal, work with experts, and create a plan to implement the project. Whether they decide to explore a new interest or deepen an existing skill, these extended hands-on experiences provide an opportunity for students to practice effective planning, organization, communication, and presentation skills.
Principia is committed to sustainability and it is embedded in our curriculum and practices. Principia School is a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, a prestigious honor that recognizes top schools around the nation that share a commitment to sustainable practices and innovative environmental education. Students in Early Childhood through Upper School learn to be change agents guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and participate in on-going projects and activities to further their understanding of all that sustainability encompasses. As part of a school-wide campaign, the Impact Challenge involves projects, classroom work, and community service initiatives that focus on the UN Sustainability Goals and culminate in an annual event where students present their findings to an audience that includes industry experts and peers. BioBlitz is another campus-wide initiative and event Principia hosts each year that brings community members together and connects students with scientists and nature experts to explore the diverse flora and fauna around our 360-acre campus. These unique opportunities help students develop an appreciation for nature and a deeper understanding of sustainability and its impact.
Students at all levels explore the Bible through a variety of lessons and activities. These classes are designed to enable students to develop a knowledge and love of the Scriptures, while recognizing their relevance to society today. Within these classes, daily thematic readings and engaging discussions aid in deepening understanding. Upper School students also have opportunities to take advanced classes with corresponding curriculum-based trips to Israel, the Holy Land, and Greece.
Officially dubbed the "IDEA Labs," two innovative STEM labs were introduced to the School in 2019 to expand experiential learning—opportunities to move beyond textbooks and theory to develop future-ready skills. Here, students collaborate, create, and develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for math and science. State-of-the-art work stations allow K–12 students to develop skills to tackle 21st-century challenges through unique project-based learning opportunities. Whether they’re designing computer code or working with circuitry, students engage in complex problem-solving daily. Hear from one of our students about her experience in the Upper School IDEA Lab.
Principia School Challenge Course
Principia's on-site, state-of-the-art Challenge Course for students from kindergarten to Upper School is designed to move participants beyond personal limitations and develop their communication, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. The course offers both low- and high-ropes areas, and a rock-climbing wall.
The Signature Experience builds upon the Upper School’s core curriculum to offer additional peak opportunities for students to develop deeper connections in their learning. Each academic year (grades 9–12) includes an intentional programmatic focus that extends to classes, projects, and activities on- and off-campus. The purpose of the Signature Experience is to further develop future-ready skills that prepare students for success in college and beyond. Throughout their time at Principia, students become capable young adults who are innovative, selfless, ethical, intentional, and collaborative.
Principia Adventure is a Middle School program unique to Principia School that focuses on developing skills in the areas of leadership, collaboration, selfless service, seeking out challenge, and self-awareness. Students develop these attributes through outdoor, experiential opportunities such as rock climbing, fire building, backpacking, canoeing, orienteering, tracking, lashing, biking, and shelter building on our 360-acre campus and Challenge Course. At the end of the year, students embark on various overnight trips to put their learning into practice.