Following nearly two years of limited socializing during a pandemic, and in the age when any answer is just a Google search away, many teens in 2023 haven’t had the real-world experience needed for after graduation.
“Now that they’re older, the stakes are so much higher, because again we need them to be independent, successful, healthy, happy people,” says Meg Bamford, Head of Miriam School and Learning Center. “And it’s harder and harder for kids to make that leap.”
That’s why at Miriam High School we’re making a strategic effort to give our students these hands-on, out of classroom experiences through our Experiential Learning Program. Bamford believes, for our unique learners on the brink of adulthood, classroom learning alone is not enough.
“The Experiential Learning Program is really important because our kids struggle with generalizing what they learn in the classroom and applying it to their life,” Bamford says. “And what we know is that the more we can expose them to practicing what they learn in the classroom out in the real world, they will have a lot more success.”
Some recent experiences include a trip to IKEA where students were tasked with compiling a list of furniture they’d buy for an apartment, while staying within budget. This was one of the final lessons for the students who had been learning about budgeting, finding apartments within their price range, and what to look for in a future home.
Another opportunity for this experiential learning came around Thanksgiving, when students visited a local Schnucks to get supplies for their Friendsgiving celebration. Students again practiced budgeting as well as meal planning for the meal they’d be creating later in the week.
“They did so well and they were so excited to be able to have that autonomy to do it,” Bamford says. “Not only did they do that, but in Schnucks – because Schnucks is a really great place that hires people who learn differently- we were able to talk to the person from HR, and he was able to direct them and talk them through the process of applying for a job.”
This real- world learning is only part of Miriam High School’s strategic plan to guide teens transitioning to post-high-school life
“We have the ability to be different from a lot of other schools or organizations, in that we can make sure that our kids, when they graduate from us, have a portfolio of experiences that will lend them to the next chapter,” Bamford says.
The program is already setting students up to be more well-rounded graduates, but Bamford says there’s room to grow – specifically by having access to more experiences through reliable transportation.
“We really need everyone’s help to make this program be all that it can be,” Bamford says. “We see so much potential in the program, and we see so much potential in our kids. So we really would value everyone’s support in helping us get there.”
If you’d like to be part of this emerging and growing program, please contact Meg Bamford at email@example.com or call our Business Office at 314-968-3893.