Trips & Projects

“The Task Force recommends that science and math be taught more as ‘hands-on’ learning from the earliest grades. Science and math and their companions, engineering and technology, can best be learned by ‘doing’ and not merely by memorizing facts.” —Governor’s Task Force on K-12 STEM Education Final Report, January 2015

The 21st-century challenge for educators is to design learning environments and instruction that enable students to use what they learn in appropriate new contexts—that is, to enable the transfer of learning. Experiential education, which takes students into the community, helps students both to bridge classroom study and life in the world and to transform inert knowledge into knowledge-in-use. At the Waldorf School of Garden City, students move through a hands-on curriculum that is enriched by meaningful trips and projects. This type of approach helps students develop a deeper understanding of subject matter than is possible through classroom study alone; it also helps develop their capacity for critical thinking, their application of knowledge in complex or ambiguous situations, and their desire to engage in lifelong learning.

Old Westbury Gardens

Learn by Doing

At the Waldorf School of Garden City, students learn through engaging in direct, active experiences that result in real responsibility for outcomes.

Sailing on a Schooner

Experiential learning promotes the pursuit of passions, interests, risk-taking, and innovation. Students learn the subject matter while also learning about themselves by being involved in activities and taking ownership of their learning process. Field trips and trips to our farm campus are the most visible examples of experiential education at Waldorf. However, hands-on, inquiry-based learning is just as prevalent in the classroom.

Waldorf Middle School Students at Heifer

“The Waldorf School of Garden City is an exceptionally cozy, caring, and nurturing environment, where children and their parents are encouraged to strive to reach their full potential while minimizing the interference of performance anxiety, cognitive clutter, and competitive mindsets. For children, the emphasis is on visceral, intuitive engagement first, with the world as sensorily experienced, and then on ideas, communication, and analytic thinking. In the place of dogmatic formulae, personal understanding and community interaction are foregrounded. The idea is that grasping the hows and whys embedded in human knowledge (in the larger social context) results in a far greater sense of confidence and empowerment than instilling rote responses to likely standardized testing scenarios. There are precious few schools following this model, but American society would benefit from more of them, and from their being more accessible to a wider socioeconomic demographic range in urban, suburban, and rural settings.” —Current Parent