Just after Erie Day School was founded (1929), John Dewey wrote about the benefits of experiential education in 1938. He explained some of the values on which EDS was founded, explaining, “there is an intimate and necessary relation between the processes of actual experience and education.” Dewey contended that in order for education to be progressive there has to be an experiential component to the lesson. Later support through the research of David Kolb at Case Western Reserve University (1975), defined an experiential learning theory as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience."
The theorists framed an educational approach that we continue to hold beneficial for our learners today at EDS. This month we begin many time-honored traditions with off-campus education. Grade 3 and 4 students will visit Camp Fitch. The Camp staff, EDS faculty (Mrs. Gates, Mrs. Giannelli and Miss Lyons) and parent chaperones will provide a safe environment in which students will learn skills in archery, sewing, carving, Native American gaming among others. In addition to the planned events, students will expand skill sets in furthering relationships, kindling new friendships, developing a sense of independence and risk-taking. Many of the facets of learning we continually support with our International Baccalaureate (IB) attributes.
Grades 7 and 8 students will soon visit Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to attend the Shaw and Stratford Festivals. International travel, a production to remember, dining with friends, shopping within a community are some of the memories to come. The education lies beyond the event participation, extending to the exposure, decisions, and the responsibilities that await. Furthering the connection between Mrs. Rogers and Mr. Gutowski among the students is yet another benefit of the experience. Similarly, Grade 6 students will join Mrs. Hartman with the local Manufacturers' Day at the Bayfront Convention Center to learn of the variety of products and labor resulting from our community.
Early Childhood and Lower School students will soon engage in visits to farms and gardens, acknowledging the preparations among farmers, animals and insects with the change of the seasons. They will experience first-hand the roles and responsibilities we share in caring for our community and world. (International Baccalaureate [IB] units of study at large!)
All of the events and travel opportunities that result in a well-rounded, experiential education are paid through tuition to Erie Day School. As you well know, the shared and historically-rooted progressive aims supported with tuition dollars at our independent, private school are a remarkable returned investment.
On behalf of our students that are about to engage in a variety of experiences outside of the classroom walls, we thank all for their commitment to Erie Day School - a school that has valued authentic educational approaches and opportunities for 88 years!