boys playing guitarExperiential Learning

We believe children learn by doing and benefit enormously from hands-on experiences. Whether inside the classroom or outside, experiential learning at Catlin Gabel is participatory. Experiential learning happens in the classrooms and during trips off campus. Experiential learning is how kids learn. When children are exposed to a new problem or idea they need to work it through their senses to make it their own. We are constructivists and this theory guides our curriculum and instruction. Students construct their own learning vs. the traditional model of  “Open Head, Pour in Knowledge.”

Experiential education is a pedagogical process by which educators engage students through a cycle of direct experience, reflection, analysis and experimentation. It encourages deep learning, inspires personal growth and promotes active citizenship.

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Lower School Experiential Days is an inquiry immersion week when children and teachers work in small, multi-grade-level groups and venture beyond the classroom to share hands-on experiences such as hiking, photography, culture studies, dramatics, fishing, and cooking. Deep learning and multi-age relationships are hallmarks of the week. The social context of learning cannot be underestimated.

An independent preschool through 12th grade day school in Portland, Oregon
8825 SW Barnes Road,
Portland, Oregon 97225 |
503-297-1894 |

Explore why Catlin Gabel is a national leader in progressive education.

We welcome more than 100 new families annually to our inclusive community from the Portland area and beyond.


A demanding and engaging program in which each student is the unit of consideration

Playing sports involves life lessons in determination, grace, and resilience. We invite everyone to be part of a team.

Extensive support ensures our students are successful.

Learn about Catlin Gabel news and events on campus and beyond.

We foster a community that appreciates our differences and recognizes our essential unity

Every gift benefits our students. Every volunteer hour builds our community.

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