Philosophy

All WELS curriculum is based on the education philosophies found with John Dewey’s experiential educational theory, drawing upon real-world experiences to derive meaning and educative opportunities. Attending to the social emotional learning of each student through the importance of community building and a student-centered approach is another hallmark of the WELS program. The program is rich with active learning opportunities, reaching various learning styles supporting the success of the individual, not just the class. WELS/PSHS welcomes students that desire a smaller learning community and are willing to work hard and commit to full participation.

WELS is different than "traditional" education. 

Students Teach

students g gathered for training

Teaching something means learning on a whole new level. All of our students get an opportunity to learn and practice teaching skills in a variety of situations throughout the program. 

Students Lead

We believe that all our students are capable of being leaders -- with younger elementary students, with their own peers, and within their communities. We spend a great deal of time exploring what it means to be a leader as well as practical opportunities to try out new leadership skills.

Outdoor Challenge

During an outdoor adventure, nature provides real-life situations with immediate consequences that require the use of communication, self-evaluation, and creative problem-solving.

Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary Learning is a research-based comprehensive school design that enables all students to meet rigorous academic standards and character goals. The core curriculum consists of learning expeditions--long-term, in-depth studies of a single theme or topic that usually involves fieldwork. WELS Expeditions revolve around environmental leadership & service. 

"Expeditionary Learning is a philosophy that honors the learning potential that is inherent in risk, challenge, and the unknown." 

 student working in the environment with a shovel in hand

Hands-on/Minds-on Learning

There are many different learning styles, and it is important to be sensitive to the different needs of our students. Much of our curriculum is taught experientially--learning through experience--and thereby serves most intelligence and learning styles.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum

In the "real world," life is not divided into Math, Science, or English. We recognize this; so we incorporate multiple subjects at once in authentic learning opportunities.

Environmental Stewardship

Our community is not just limited to the people around us. Our community includes the plants, animals, land, air, and water. Throughout all of our programs, we remain sensitive to how our decisions impact everything around us.