Gifts supporting curricular innovation have helped to launch a ground-breaking chapter in our history. Educational research shows that the most effective learning occurs when students live the experience of learning as much as they can. It is hard to imagine a school more perfectly positioned than SYA to develop such experiential methods and lead the way in place-based education.
SYA’s curriculum is our mission in action. With an interdisciplinary and student-driven approach, there are no clear lines that separate traditional school from experiences outside the classroom. Time spent engaging with host families, on educational travel, extracurricular activities and fieldwork are all part of the SYA curricular experience. As students uncover the connections between their coursework and their environment, the world around them amplifies learning. SYA’s experiential model challenges students while encouraging them to take their education into their own hands.
At the heart of SYA’s curriculum is experiential fieldwork. Through fieldwork, students develop key skills and gradually take increased ownership over their education with the support and mentorship of an advisor. As the culmination of the SYA experience, all students complete a final project. While engaging in this hands-on fieldwork, students master the language of their host country and apply SYA’s interdisciplinary and student-driven approach to their courses.