While participating in an experiential learning trip to the mountains, students sit on a rock while listening to their instructor.

Experiential Education

students and teachers enjoying the sunset.

Learning beyond a textbook

Our students have multiple opportunities to learn, grow, and experience education in a safe and nurturing environment. We provide this through programs that support the social emotional development of our students, as well as opportunities to engage in immersive learning experiences away from the SDJA campus.

Experiential Education Opportunities

We believe learning through the guided practice of doing, questioning, investigating, feeling and reflecting outside the typical classroom setting provides a learning space for our students to develop and enhance the most critical traits for success in school and beyond.

Experiential education opportunities at MUS may include day, overnight, and international trips. All are designed within the tenets of our school’s mission - to empower each student to learn for life, guided by Jewish values and rooted in strength of community. Participating in a collaborative design process, faculty and administrators ideate, design, align, and implement all experiential learning programs to fulfill our school mission and support the growth of MUS students throughout their upper school journey.

Past Experiential Education programs

Our experiential educational programs have been both local and international. In addition to the experiences below, our 12th graders go to Poland and Israel at the end of their Senior year as a culmination of their Jewish learning.

Upper School students on an experiential learning trip
  • Coastal Roots Farm
  • Yosemite
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New York
  • Mexico City
  • Eastern Sierras
  • Colorado
  • Ecuador

Character Education & Social Emotional Learning

Lower School

In the GMLS Guidance program, our students engage in Character Strong, a research-based Character Education and Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum. Lower School students also benefit from Explorations, a specialist course every-other-week with materials and open-ended projects that enable students to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary while fostering problem-solving skills, bolstering creative confidence, encouraging teamwork, and empowering students as agents of their own success. Explorations includes Outdoor and Garden education that connects Jewish values to taking care of the earth, a Hanukkah Shuk with student-created products, a Farmer’s Market with student-created businesses, along with many other collaborative learning opportunities.

Middle School

We understand that being a middle school student is a dynamic time of growth, physically, socially and intellectually. Our EXCSEL program was specifically designed to support our students during this time of development. EXCSEL, which stands for Experiential Education, Character Education, Social Emotional Learning, is a program that emphasizes core character traits that will create a positive school culture, social emotional learning, and positive youth development. At SDJA, perseverance, curiosity, and empathy are the core traits we aim to develop in all our students.

High School

Students in high school participate in a series of sessions called Master Class. These sessions provide our students with strategies to navigate their social and educational lives. Session topics include awareness of self, team building, stress empowerment, positive lifestyle choices, healthy relationships, and study/time management skills, all guided by Jewish values. Master Class sessions are facilitated by individuals with professional expertise and will be presented in both a classroom and experiential setting. Master Class is a mandatory high school program and will appear on each high school student’s SDJA transcript.