Experiential Learning Archives | Ashley Hall

Thank you to The Post and Courier for the heartfelt story on Horizons at Ashley Hall. In its inaugural summer at Ashley Hall, Horizons National is an award-winning program designed to combat the “summer slide.” This amazing group of 1st and 2nd grade girls from Charleston’s Memminger Elementary School and Mitchell Elementary are developing a deep love of learning all under the guise of summer fun! Click on the button below to read the full article. 

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More Information and how to get involved:

Horizons at Ashley Hall website

Horizons National Website

Over the last year, Early Education Center (EEC) teachers have noticed their student’s love of natural spaces and found objects here on campus. Last spring, faculty began discussing ways to document the children’s responses to nature and the Nature Retreat Project was born. The project was inspired by the faculty’s summer reading of the book Last Child in the Woods coupled with an on-site visit to the Laurel School in Northeast Ohio which offers a similar program as part of its nationally recognized preschool program.

Under the skillful direction of pre-kindergarten teacher Dana Molony, the search for the perfect Nature Retreat location began in early October. Wendy Robbins, the EEC atelierista, quickly joined the initiative to weave in Reggio-Emilia elements that would further support the program’s development. After a visit to Ashley Hall’s John’s Island property that features the school’s Sports Complex, it was immediately clear that it was the perfect place for this magical experience. Ms. Molony and Mrs. Robbins carefully prepared the property for exploration by creating paths in the forested areas surrounding the sports complex while teachers helped build excitement for each class’ upcoming immersion week.

During the month of November, each of the three Pre-Kindergarten classes traveled every day for a week to Johns Island by bus to take part in the Retreat. Following Reggio practice, the children served as “guides” as the group explored the wooded area. Students paused to examine everything from spider webs and fallen trees, to animal burrows and beetles. By visiting the same site day after day, the children were able to observe changes to the environment and build a lasting relationship with nature.

Not only was this an incredible learning experience for both the EEC children and teachers, but it also provided a cross divisional connection with the Upper School Science Department. Teachers from the Upper School science department joined the Retreat on select days to explore future collaboration opportunities which embrace the school’s Learning Spiral teaching philosophy.

Upper School Science faculty member, Allison Bowden, reflects on her EEC Nature Retreat experience:

Witches Broom and Wheel Bugs

Small hands pull a sweet gum near
I’ve never seen a purple leaf.
Flattened fingers become a cricket’s runway
I’ve never held a bug.
He reaches for a dried mat of grass
I think it’s in the duckweed family.
Dirt covered hand pinches a red berry tightly
It’s food for winter animals.
She holds a vine with twisting tendrils
They are double springs.

Welcome to Her World: Exploring Math & Science at Ashley Hall

Wednesday, November 15
6:00pm – 8:00pm

The Ashley Hall Bee Society is buzzing on campus. Begun five years ago with one Bee Cause observation hive installed in the Lower School Science Lab, the bee program now expands through the Upper School curriculum with rooftop Langstroth hives (a wood hive built in a frame for easy bee and honey removal) being explored daily by students of all ages. It is a signature component of Ashley Hall’s science program giving the girls a “hands on” experiential learning opportunity to connect with the natural world and understand the bee’s critical impact on the ecosystem.

Learn more about the Bee Society and our science and math programs at Welcome to Her World. In this special evening program designed for parents across all divisions, Ashley Hall will share how our Learning Spiral is being fully realized in the areas of math and science. Specifically, the manner in which classroom activities and experiential opportunities are sequenced in order to foster not just content mastery but also the acquisition of vital skills and habits of mind will be shared. Participants will have the opportunity to experience first hand some of the important work students are doing and to get a glimpse of what might be ahead as they progress through other grades and divisions. Prospective families are welcome!

To make your reservation: email [email protected].

Please enter campus through the Smith Street Gate at 133 Smith Street. Ample parking is available in the lot across from the Smith Street Gate. Students are more than welcome to attend, but this event is designed for parents.

We look forward to seeing you there!

With blue skies above and the smooth water of the Ashley River below, a gleeful group of Ashley Hall fifth graders launched their wooden boat fleet from the banks of Brittlebank Park last Saturday. Over the school year, the girls have worked diligently with the guidance of the Lowcountry Maritime Society (LMS) on a unique STEAM project designing, building, and now sailing their own hand-engineered wooden boat.

The girls were guided through the process reading scaled plans and transforming those plans into wooden boats they built themselves. And now it was time to put the boats to the test on the water with passengers! Throughout the year, students also explored local maritime history and seamanship skills as part of this comprehensive project. Research shows that girls decide as early as fifth grade if they will consider careers in the areas of math and science. Ashley Hall is doing its part to pique that interest! Thank you to current parent, Margie Barham ’86 for capturing this wonderful day! 

View Pictures from the Boat Launch

The Ashley Hall Bee Program continues to buzz. Begun four years ago with one Bee Cause observation hive installed in the Pardue Hall Science Lab, the Bee Program now expands through the Upper School curriculum with rooftop Langstroth hives (a wood hive built in a frame for easy bee and honey removal) being explored daily by students of all ages. It is a signature component of Ashley Hall’s science program giving the girls a “hands on” experiential learning opportunity to connect with the natural world and understand the bee’s critical impact on the ecosystem.

With a desire to start the program with the younger children, Ms. Flowers and the Lower School Bee Club took the helm, and a new Bee Cause hive was recently installed in the Ross Early Education Center. “This is a terrific Reggio Emilia tool,” shares Early Education Center Director Dana VanHook, “and the Lower School girls taking the initiative on installation made the opportunity perfect. The younger children are thrilled to now have a hive to explore and respond to.” Now to share some bee hive love with the Intermediate Program…stay tuned girls!

Students from Ashley Hall’s Early Education Center and first grade have been exploring building and construction. The students have been practicing making 2-D sketches and bringing them to life in the classroom. In collaboration with this study, the students were able to visit the Medical University of South Carolina’s construction site for the new Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. This was such a wonderful way for the students to understand the different steps that happen in the construction process. They were also able to meet many different local professionals and were able to observe many of the equipment tools at work.

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Ashley Hall is a private school for girls located in Charleston, South Carolina enrolling students in pre-kindergarten-grade 12 with a boarding program for grades 9-12.
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