By Meghan Smith
Gathered outside in the new Alumni Amphitheatre on a brisk fall afternoon, 11th-grade students found moments of reflection under the guidance of faculty member Megan Killigrew. Together, the students learned about meditation and mindfulness as a component of Killigrew’s Healthy Living curriculum, one of the three arms of the new Student Experience Block. Designed over the summer and launched at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, the program is a new spin on Grade Level Programming and remains a dedicated class period for students to explore and acquire key knowledge in real-world skills.
“The Student Experience Block is an opportunity to have more hands-on learning for topics not covered in the traditional classroom,” explains Eliza Smith, the pioneer behind the change. “This type of learning allows students to explore new ideas and areas about themselves in a safe space, with the freedom to fail.”
The new program contains three components, through which students will navigate each year they are at Tilton. Students will experience Healthy Living, Next Steps, and the familiar Grade Level Programming, each component bringing forward vital skills for students to draw on in their futures.
Grade Level Programming centers around critical thinking, and honing in on age-appropriate skills including complex problem solving, outdoor education, public speaking, and professional networking. Healthy Living, led by Killigrew, allows students to learn how to make healthy decisions, whether that be through exercise, mindfulness, relationships, or social media. Next Steps, spearheaded by College Counseling Director Meredith Gadd, centers around planning for the future. This unit will evolve as students get closer to graduation, covering topics from interview skills, financial planning, community outreach, and college searches.
The power of this format lies in its ability to adapt as students’ needs change. As Smith explains, “We want students to utilize the idea of play; we just want them to try something new, give it their best effort, and see what comes from that.”
For a closer look at all three areas of the Student Experience Block, click here!