Experiential Days

What is Experiential Days?

Adults lead small groups of students from mixed grades in focused exploration on a topic of interest. Students and teachers, who might not get to work together during regular school, have long uninterrupted blocks of time over the course of four days to go into depth on the topic. 

When is Experiential Days?

Experiential Days is scheduled for the four days before spring break.


What is the student-teacher ratio?

We strive for an average of seven students per adult and value this amazing ratio.

How do children choose their Experiential Days class?

Students select four options from a list of offerings. Students and parents have time to review the options before making selections.

When do the students find out which group they’ll be in?

Students find out their groupings in late February. There is a lot of excitement on the day the groups are announced. The newly formed groups meet for 40 minutes with their group leaders for a preview of the week. At that time, students receive letters for their parents with a detailed itinerary for the four days.

Do the students always get one of their four choices?

Yes! Learning that you don’t always get your first choice, or the choice you were hoping to get to be with a close friend, is part of learning resiliency. Parents can help model healthy responses to disappointment and guide children to adopting a positive outlook.

What we have learned is that no matter which Experiential Days class a child is in, s/he somehow “loves” it by the end of the week—it’s the magic of this type of learning experience. In fact, whenever we interview Upper School students and alumni of Catlin Gabel, it is clear that their Experiential Days classes are something burned into their memories forever.

What about safety and behavioral expectations?

Safety is of paramount importance, and students are given explicit instruction in safe behaviors such as listening when in new places and staying close to the group. Our teaching staff establishes relationships quickly with children and are astute in making sure everyone is where they should be. Fortunately, this is a part of the culture of the school; our children have already practiced safe behaviors on their many field trips.

Every employee who works with students is trained in first aid and CPR. We are also trained to drive the mini-vans and other rental vehicles that we use for transportation during Experiential Days. The adults keep your child’s medical and emergency forms with them on all trips.

How should parents prepare for Experiential Days?

Read the parent communication from your trip leaders carefully so you know which days to pack lunches and snacks, what clothing is needed, and other vital information. Show interest in your child’s Experiential Days class and help him or her develop independence by helping with preparations for each day.

What if my child has an allergy or special need?

Just talk with your child’s group leaders; you will find them to be sensitive, helpful, and flexible.
An independent pre-K through 12th grade day school in Portland, Oregon
8825 SW Barnes Road,  
Portland, Oregon 97225   |  
503-297-1894   |  

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