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Educational Philosophy

The Ecology Learning Center is guided by the principles of ecology at every organizational level. This requires us to take a systems approach to each challenge and every opportunity. No individual thrives or stumbles alone; we are a community of interdependent learners, teachers, thinkers and actors suspended in a web of relations that extends beyond the school doors and into the world. This awareness has informed the development of these guiding principles, and serves to inspire, inform, and guide our decisions. We strive to have all stakeholders align all policies, practices, and procedures to accommodate these Guiding Principles.



Students explore the local environment, culture, history, and economy as the foundation of their studies across the curriculum. By situating all learning in the places that are familiar and significant to our students, we help to generate the life-long habit of thinking critically about the world we live in and the challenges that face us every day. Every student completes an interdisciplinary project annually that includes field studies and service projects at local farms, businesses, or organizations.

Hands-On and Performance-Based

Students are evaluated on their ability to solve problems, integrate knowledge across disciplines, and contribute to group work. We acknowledge multiple intelligences. We value alternative learning styles. We celebrate non-traditional teaching relationships, including mentorships, apprenticeships, and independent study. Upon graduation, every student completes at least one internship, one apprenticeship, and a personal portfolio.

Reflective and Empowering

Students strengthen their inter- and intrapersonal intelligence through collaborative and individual work. By reflecting honestly on their learning experiences, students benefit and grow from their failures and their successes equally. We believe that social and emotional learning are indispensable in the transformation of children into young adults. All students will participate in regular advisory groups, all-school meetings, team-building challenges, leadership training, and guided self-reflective practice.

Dedicated to Wellness

We honor the connection between mind and body and strive to support the healthy development of our students as whole persons. Students participate in activities that promote healthy eating, active living, and time outdoors. Every student  completes a project on growing, harvesting, and/or preparing local foods before graduating, and participate in at least one overnight wilderness trip per year.

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