Experiential Learning      

Midland students walking in nature

 

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

John Dewey

Achieving meaningful experiential learning is a sought-after goal of schools throughout the world. At Midland, experiential learning – learning by doing, seeing, leading, and experiencing – is a focused part of what we do every day.

Our goal is that students make deep connections between:

  • Individual action and real consequences, other than grades (For example, either the shower water is hot enough, or it isn’t)
  • Community work and the development of character, self-reliance, and self-confidence
  • Immersion in the natural world and stewardship

 

Linking actions to tasks with consequences immediately in front of us helps us see ourselves as integral to the cycle of life and materials. For example:  We compost horse manure to amend soils in the garden. We plant and then harvest carrots, parsley, and peaches. We wheel student-grown foods to the kitchen in carts. We prepare meals and then clean the sinks, dishes, and floors. We collect all food scraps and then haul them to the garden to feed our pigs, who help to make rich soil for the garden by turning over the compost, hay filings, and kitchen scraps. We witness and understand this tight nutrient cycling while we help build soil fertility in our organic garden.

Experiential learning embodies all of Midland’s mission and philosophy, particularly the following tenets, which take hold here and continue to develop throughout life:

  • A simple, self-reliant lifestyle, close to nature, teaches us to develop our inner resources, to distinguish between needs and wants, and to appreciate life’s fundamental joys and challenges.
  • A school community entrusting students with authentic leadership roles, emphasizing individual and collective responsibility, and relying on its own work to meet its basic needs, prepares students to take care of themselves and to serve others. 
  • Connection to the environment, through academic education and everyday example, teaches students to be good stewards of the earth.


Integration and Essential Habits:
By design, each of Midland’s experiential learning components interleaves with the other, sometimes in obvious and purposeful ways, and other times as parts of the larger whole. Making dinner, repairing a showerhead, maintaining trails, feeding the herd, and repairing the fences are among the many things we work on together to keep Midland running on a daily basis.


We don’t invent case studies to explore; we simply do to the work that needs to be done. With the completion of each task, the obvious and immediate benefit is to the community, but ultimately the long-term benefit is to the individual student, who grows in strength, self-confidence, and character.

The essential habits we hone are:

Responsibility and accountability:

  • Developing one’s inner resources builds community and leaves smaller ecological footprints. How we treat the Earth is really about how we treat each other. It all begins with personal responsibility.

Self-reliance and self-confidence:

  • Self-reliance comes from finding one’s strength within. Kids feel good about themselves because they have mastered something. Midland provides real opportunities to achieve competence in developmentally appropriate tasks.

Community-building

We promote service, inclusion, and active engagement. Students learn that what we do matters to those around us.

  • Students learn that what we do matters to those around us.
  • We promote service, inclusion, and active engagement.
 

Living Midland's Mission


Experiential learning embodies all of Midland’s mission and philosophy, particularly the following tenets, which take hold here and continue to develop throughout life:

    · A simple, self-reliant lifestyle, close to nature, teaches us to develop our inner resources, to distinguish between needs and wants, and to appreciate life’s fundamental joys and challenges.

   · A school community entrusting students with authentic leadership roles, emphasizing individual and collective responsibility, and relying on its own work to meet its basic needs, prepares students to take care of themselves and to serve others.

   · Connection to the environment, through academic education and everyday example, teaches students to be good stewards of the earth.


solar rack


Midland students working on a car
 

5100 Figueroa Mountain Road/PO Box 8, Los Olivos, CA 93441 | ph: 805-688-5114 | admissions@midland-school.org

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