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Educational Philosophy

Wildwood Academy: a place-based educational laboratory where learning occurs through passionate inquiry, physical movement, cultural engagement, and ecological stewardship


Wildwood Academy is a place-based and innovative independent school that is constantly creating a culture that is applicable for the challenges our students will face in the 21st century. With the Columbia Gorge serving as a vivacious (and vast!) learning laboratory, students and teachers learn in partnership through exploratory projects which capitalize on the passions of our learners and the needs of our environment and community.  

Rather than being the “knowledge emparters,” Wildwood teachers support their students in constructing their own understandings of the humanities, arts, sciences, and math. This is achieved through lessons designed to provoke critical questioning, creative problem solving, and collaborative thought. This, of course, is only possible through small class sizes, which allow for trusting relationships to develop. 

Wildwood faculty are passionately committed to experiential learning, where students not only learn by doing but by feeling it and sharing it with their community. With clearly established academic and non-cognitive goals as their guides, students work to anchor discipline-specific skills that build confidence and innovation to apply to future learning. Our aim is for students to not only “know” but to take that next step to “apply” their learning to novel situations. This builds the foundation of the lifelong learning and adaptability we want for all of our children.


We believe children are much more competent than what may meet the eye. When encouraged to use their own compasses a little as they navigate their path of learning, when encouraged to slow down to take note of all of the beauty around them, powerful (and heart-felt) learning follows. This is the aim of Wildwood Academy.

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