Children are born with an immense potential to learn, explore, connect and grow joyfully in their bioregion and the social context in which they live. A Ridge and Valley education is an experience of emergence, wonder, support and guidance that allows young people to grow into the fullest expression of their interests, passions and joys so they become self-directed, confident, responsible and informed adults. On this journey, children build cross-discipline skills that integrate subject matter through hands-on experiential activities that activate a wide range of sensibilties, skills and awareness.

Students learn respect for the earth and for all living things. They learn habits of living that reflect sustainable lifestyles. They learn to seek joy, to resolve differences, dissolve boundaries and share common goals. Our students learn how to think.

Ridge and Valley graduates grow into adults who love the earth and who are passionate about its ability not only to survive, but to thrive. They will provide leadership with a clear vision of the world and how to make it better.

  • Teaching methods are primarily modeled on experiential education methods. Experiential education bases instruction on the interests, attractions and natural abilities of each student.
  • Subjects are experienced, not taught, and are not be segmented as separate, unrelated areas of study.
  • Teachers identify learning styles and specific interests of their students and guide learning accordingly.
  • Students can expect to spend approximately 25% of their learning time outdoors.
  • Subjects and curriculum are experienced with Earth Literacy as the primary focus.
  • Assessment is ongoing through exhibitions, portfolios, and project-based rubrics rather than through conventional grades. Ongoing assessments include evaluation and self-evaluation, based on criteria and standards developed collaboratively by teachers and students.
  • Students are encouraged to use sustainable lifestyle practices at school and at home.
  • Children may work with younger and older schoolmates, or in multiple and flexible group arrangements. This develops interpersonal skills appropriate to the various roles of team member, mentor, guide, teacher and learner.
  • Students participate with teachers in designing and adapting academic activities. This reflects their personal goals and develops their multi-faceted talents.
  • Students learn conflict resolution techniques as part of a formal conflict resolution program. All discipline problems that are not in the category of causing physical harm or property damage will be handled through the mediation process.
  • Students participate in establishing the guidelines of their classroom.
  • Students develop problem-solving skills through their participation in real-world community projects both individually and with classroom groups.
  • Students have opportunities to work collaboratively with other students.
  • Students experience a daily learning atmosphere in which more questions are expected from students than from teachers.
  • Students have access to all of the teachers on the staff as resources and advisors.