The sun just finished taking the frost off the ground in the morning on Wednesday, November 6, when all of the students and faculty started their walk after breakfast. But unlike a typical day of dispersing to many separate buildings and many separate classrooms, everyone gathered in the Brunger Wilkey Gym for the Exhibition of Learning (EOL). This EOL gave students the opportunity to present to the entire school what they learned as a result of a week of Experiential Immersions (EIs).
This year marks the third annual EI. October 28 – November 4 was a week of exploring something different and experiencing something new. EIs are 5-day mini-courses that provide students with new opportunities to learn outside of a traditional classroom setting and structure.
This year, the courses included things like Rock Climbing and Geology, The Horse Course, Astrophotography Adventure, Brazil Culture and Customs, Rainwater Catchment (Box of Rain), and many more. Wasatch Academy is committed to providing its students with progressive and immersive learning approaches. Without the excellent faculty and staff, this forward-thinking program would not be possible.
Dr. J. Dianne Brederson, Assistant Head of School for Academics, and Dr. Joel Barnes, Director of Experiential Education and Sustainability, are the educators that brought this experiential and project-based learning week to life. Their passion for educating our youth in real-world, hands-on experiences is one that the entire Wasatch Academy community has been eager to support.
Each EI was taught by faculty teams from different departments designed to create small learning communities made up of students with diverse academic interests and personal backgrounds. They emphasized interdisciplinary experiential learning focused on real-world topics and projects and valuable life skills.
The goal of the EIs is to allow students to investigate topics beyond their comfort zones (familiar topics and teachers) by exploring new areas, embracing new experiences, and having fun! Students were able to engage physically, mentally, and emotionally, providing them with the opportunity to understand themselves, and the world around them, in a deeper more meaningful way. EIs offer perspective to our youth and give them tools that can be used to immerse themselves in culture, nature, and society for the rest of their lives.
This added program is quickly becoming a signature component of the “Wasatch Way.” Dr. Barnes states, “These EIs are living, breathing examples of what Wasatch Academy is doing in terms of progressive, creative education that is experiential and academically rich. Students are engaged in project-based learning that involves collaborative learning and problem-solving.”