Day School Program

The Mission: Vitality-Centered Education

We define education as the vehicle through which culture is created. In vitality-centered educational practice, life is at the center of all that we do, which means that Springhouse’s Day School curriculum:

– Is holistic in the ways it encourages individuals to cultivate self-awareness and explore their own wholeness through our mentoring program and skills framework;

– Is place-based in the ways we strengthen our relationships with our community and the Earth through interdisciplinary courses, our Apprenticeship Program, school trips focused on service, and our on-campus farm;

– Tends to human development by honoring each individual’s growth through rites of passages, developmentally-appropriate curricular progressions, and assessment models that determine readiness rather than mastery;

– And aims to pass down the values, skills, traditions, and knowledge needed to live in and build regenerative culture through our Values in Action statement (all commit to practicing connection, individuality, creativity, trust, resiliency, and integrity), regularly singing and dancing together, and engaging intentionally in intergenerational learning.

At the foundation of vitality-centered education are the five design principles: taking care of vulnerability, cultivating personhood, building beloved community, respecting the wisdom of the Earth, and loving and serving others.

The Map: Areas of Exploration

In our Day School, we are raising Regenerative Culture Builders who explore what it means to be in life-giving culture through the primary Areas of Exploration (AOE): Earth, Body, and Society, all of which are connected yet distinct from one another. These were inspired by Dr. Bill Plotkin’s framework of human psychospiritual development, specifically his focus on both the human and earth culture tasks of each stage. This curricular structure is a synthesis of Plotkin’s research on development, Springhouse’s vision, and eight years (and counting) of on-the-ground experimentation in life-giving cultural and curricular design at Springhouse.

The Tools: Culture-Building Skills

VCE is a structure that values wholeness, and in the Day School, we are interested in encouraging adolescents to explore all aspects of themselves, not just a tiny sliver that only includes areas where they shine, that they know well, or that are privileged by the larger culture (i.e. the intellect). All Day School offerings are opportunities for learners to practice skills that are holistic and help them begin to live into our vision of life-giving culture. This skills framework includes eight different areas:

  • Self-Awareness: Developing a greater understanding of oneself in order to be of clearer service
  • Reasoning: Strengthening one’s capacity for discernment and making sense of what is
  • Experimentation: Regularly navigating ambiguity, complexity, and change in order to continue to iterate regenerative cultural designs
  • Relationships: Nurturing and strengthening one’s connections to others
  • Expression: Sharing one’s insights and inspiration clearly with the world
  • Embodiment: Cultivating presence by being in, tending to, and listening to the wisdom of the body
  • Initiative: Taking action toward creating a better world, starting with oneself
  • Ecology: Committing to the health of the Earth and to exploring one’s relationship to it

Each of these eight skill areas contains more specific subskills that build upon each other in developmentally-appropriate progressions.

The Practice: Regenerative Cultural Ways

The intersections of the Areas of Study house the place-based, regenerative cultural ways that we practice to foster life-giving ways of being: Explorations in resiliency and creativity, human-Earth relationship, and home/belonging. Some examples of regenerative cultural ways that are integrated into the Day School curriculum are listed below:

~ Mentoring
~ Dance
~ The Apprenticeship Program
~ Experience Week Trips
~ Singing
~ Athletics and Resiliency-Focused Tracks

Experience Week Trips

Springhouse values expeditionary learning because it fosters a sense of connection, develops resilience in both the learner and the community, and sparks curiosity in ways that simply cannot happen in a familiar environment. Springhouse offers three Experience Week trips each school year, including a trip during the first month of school. On these ventures, the school community journeys out into the world for an immersive and deeply bonding learning experience.


Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeships are designed to provide immersive learning experiences as well as serve our local community. One day a week, all Springhouse learners participate in our Apprenticeship Program. For this program, Springhouse partners with local organizations and artisans, connects with global initiatives, and provides opportunities for learners to do hands-on projects at our campus. 

View our Apprenticeship Program page HERE.

Current Calendar and Schedule

Springhouse operates on a trimester system. Springhouse learners take one interdisciplinary  “Main Course” each trimester, along with an elective course, dance, athletics, singing, at least one apprenticeship, and one Experience Week Trip. A diploma from Springhouse represents a rigorous journey of learning and growing in community.

View our Calendar or a sample schedule.

Reimagining Tuition: Investing in Springhouse

At Springhouse, we believe education should not be a commodity and we strive to make sure that no family is turned away for financial reasons. Instead of tuition, we see your contribution as an investment in our vision and mission.

Please do not let this information be an obstacle to pursuing the application process.

We aim to dismantle the notion of education as a commodity by radically shifting the way we see money. Please review Springhouse’s Regenerative Economic Model for transparent information about our budget and consider what you can invest in our Day School Program.