Outdoor/experiential program: Stone Path Academy’s education is frequently experientially based in order to address academic goals while also promoting the social, emotional and transitional goals of each student. Stone Path Academy defines outdoor experiential education as that which takes place outside the traditional classroom setting and creates learning opportunities through direct experiences.
Experiential learning occurs when carefully designed opportunities are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis. Experiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results. Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in the processes of inquiry, investigation and problem solving as s/he questions, explores, experiments, creates and ultimately constructs meaning.
This instructional design includes the possibilities for learning from natural consequences – mistakes as well as successes. In general, the goals of experiential education are to: enhance personal and social development, create a sense of team and self, develop strategies for overcoming adversity, and develop a deeper relationship with the surrounding environment. Outdoor education emphasizes the effects of natural environments on human beings and the role of stress and challenge on living beings. Students can become aware that they are part of a greater ecosystem and are not bound by cultural and societal norms. In essence students can learn to evaluate their impact on the world around them in a forgiving and nonjudgmental setting.