Experiential Learning: What It Is and Why It Is Best for Your Child

Twelve years ago, Mount Pleasant resident Jason Kreutner was having a difficult time finding what he considered a suitable school for his child. As a career educator, he had a keen understanding of the type of environment and teaching philosophy that fosters learning in a practical context.

Through experiential learning, children can learn by experience and by reflection in a hands-on environment—a theory which became the foundation for the curriculum at the University School of the Lowcountry.

“The school is perfect for bright children who might otherwise find themselves bored in a traditional learning environment,” says Kreutner.

Experiential learning takes education beyond the confines of the classroom and into the community, in a way that encourages engagement and accelerates learning. If that alone isn’t reason enough, here are four additional reasons experiential learning is best for your child:

  • Cultivates Curiosity

An experiential learning environment helps foster the development of critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills by bridging the gap between theory and practice. The University School of the Lowcountry embraces this philosophy with its hallmark Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) program. Students learn in a classroom environment 4 days each week to accommodate one weekly field trip.

  • Empowered Educators

A small student population of 70 total students allows teachers to manage their classroom in a way that actively fosters a culture of learning. These "Renaissance Scholars" are passionate about many interests, and this enthusiasm spills over into all disciplines they teach. In this environment, students can grow and develop their own interests while feeling supported by the school community.

  • Comprehensive Curriculum

As an independent school, the University School of the Lowcountry introduces and embraces subjects that are off-limits in public schools such as faith and politics. For example, while public schools were closed for Election Day, USL students took field trips to polling locations to interview voters and provide exit poll results. On another occasion, Jay Bender—attorney for the South Carolina Press Association and retired media law professor at the University of South Carolina—spoke to students about the importance of a free press when the press was being politically maligned as the enemy of the people.

  • Social Skills

Experiential learning is also rooted in social learning—the act of observing and learning from the experiences of others. Through regular interaction between students of different grade levels, children learn to develop social skills such as empathy and gain greater perspective about the world and those around them.

The University School of the Lowcountry was founded on the belief that experiencing the world beyond its classroom walls creates students who are better prepared to be thoughtful, engaged citizens in the future. Accredited by the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA), the school serves students in grades 3-12 in a co-education and non-sectarian environment. To learn more or to schedule a tour, visit USLowcountry.org or call (843) 884-0902.