Our Philosophy

Experiential Approach

Learn by Doing

What is Experiential Learning? 
Experiential learning is a process by which educators engage students through a cycle of direct experience, reflection, analysis, and experimentation. At Athenian, this approach is woven into everyday classroom learning and is foundational to some of our signature programs: Athenian Wilderness Experience (AWE), March Term, Focus Days, and Round Square. Community service is another way students engage in experiential learning at Athenian.

Through experiential or hands on lessons, Athenian students call upon critical life skills such as collaboration, tenacity, courage, inquisitiveness, and self-awareness. The skills and knowledge gained in and outside the classroom is deep, integrated, and lasting.

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Classic Athenian Focus Days

Panathanaea: Perform a dramatic presentation in handcrafted dress, cook Greek food, participate in an olive harvest, and compete in Olympic Style games in groups representing Greek city-states in this culminating day integrating art, social studies, English, and science.  

Softballs in the gym:
 Exploring how to answer the question, "How many softballs can fit inside Athenian's gym?" students spend the day devising creative ways to measure the odd shape of our gymnasium. 

Island Day: Travel between Pacific Islands (across Athenian's campus) with handmade goods for trade to experience the trade system firsthand.

Scratch Programming: Develop your own interactive animation program using Scratch, a powerful drag-and-drop programming language.

Field Trips: Search for geological evidence at Sibley Volcano, practice navigation skills while hiking in Las Trampas, volunteer at the Alameda County Food Bank, visit the Asian Art Museum, explore the chaparral of Black Diamond Mine, and visit the Immigration Station on Angel Island.