MS Experiential Learning

We Make Learning Meaningful to Students…

Kids do better in school when they care about the subjects they are learning, and the best way to create that environment is to connect academic content to their own interests and to the “real world.” Our educational program is designed to prepare students for active participation in a democratic society, so we create authentic and engaging student experiences. These enrich children’s experiences by making links between their academic studies and the world outside the school, and show our early adolescents that we know the bigger world has meaning and value for us to consider. From science labs studying the movement of seismic waves to calculating compounding interest based on holiday shopping, our academic program weaves areas of high student interest into the curriculum to teach key knowledge and skills. We also offer an expansive program of experiential learning opportunities.

…Through Field Trips And Overnights

Our day and overnight field trips provide opportunities to deepen learning and build a strong connection between the students and faculty. In addition to new emergent opportunities every year, such as local theater productions and service learning programs, we curate a robust list of annual trips:

  • 6th grade – Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum (San Jose), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Kayaking in Elkhorn Slough, Pinnacles National Park (overnight)
  • 7th grade – Año Nuevo State Park, California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco), Yosemite National Park (overnight)
  • 8th grade – Steinbeck Center (Salinas), Defense Language Institute (Monterey), Washington, DC and Colonial Williamsburg (overnight)

…Through Special Programming

We are pleased to partner with expert service providers who bring extremely high quality  programming to our students. We ensure that our students are engaged in conversations about real-life topics that can be difficult for families to lead directly, and that fall outside the typical role of our academic and advisory curriculum.

…Through Student Council & Leadership

Middle School students hold elections to fill Student Council leadership positions. The elected student officers learn organization and communication skills while having an impact on their school experience. All student council members are required to participate in the Leadership elective. Student leaders prepare agendas, run meetings, give presentations at assemblies, and provide valuable student input to the Head of School. They plan and implement spirit days, student contests, and middle school dances, and contribute to larger events such as the Talent Show, One World One Earth Day, and Walkathon. Through student council experiences, middle school students gain authentic leadership skills, confidence and independence that supports their transition to high school.

Graduation Speeches: The Culminating Performance of Understanding

Every eighth grade student delivers a speech at graduation. The culmination of their years at Gateway, these speeches give our graduates an opportunity to reflect on how they have grown during the course of their K-8 journey, to acknowledge their changing selves, and highlight the the graduates’ individual self-expression, confidence and knowledge of themselves. Our alumni come back in force for the ceremony, expressing love and support to each new class of graduates as they leave behind the program and community.