About the Center
What is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning is the process of making meaning and creating knowledge from direct experience. Experiential learning is learning through doing and reflection on doing, which is often contrasted with rote learning. Experiential learning focuses on the learning process for the individual.
[A simple example of experiential learning: In an Animal Behavior class students would go to the zoo and participate in field research. Students would learn through observation and interaction with animals as opposed to reading about animal behaviors from a book.]
Learners make discoveries and experiment with knowledge firsthand, instead of hearing or reading about others' experiences. Learning is seen as a process; not as an outcome.
Why does WGHS have an Experiential Learning Center?
There is significant potential for high school students to learn, grow, and mature based on experiences they have outside the classroom walls. Going beyond the structure of the academic, knowledge-based classroom, experiential learning allows the students to gain knowledge and, sometimes, even high school credit, by focusing and reflecting on the value and impact of these experiences. The Chelsea Center offers thoughtful, systematic, and informed guidance on how to think about and assimilate a wide variety of learning experiences.
Who is eligible to be part of the Chelsea Center?
All students at WGHS are eligible. There are no restrictions on who may apply and all are welcome. The Chelsea Center was piloted in the summer of 2010 and continues to grow. 25 students took part in the pilot program, participating in over 20 different experiences, both individually and in small groups. The summer program has grown exponentially and offerings during the school year are growing, as well. All WGHS students took part in our Annual Summer Experiential Learning Opportunities Fair, and the entire sophomore class participates in an annual sophomore service learning day in the spring.