Design Principles

10 Design Principles

2. PRIMACY OF SELF-DISCOVERY Learning occurs when students are engaged in meaningful activities that require their whole selves.  They discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected. As part of ELOB, students participate in expeditions that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. SNACS educators help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

2. THE HAVING OF WONDERFUL IDEAS All children possess a natural curiosity about the world we live in.  Teachers design learning experiences where children can investigate, experiment, and pursue a hands-on exploration that enhances what they learned during direct instruction.

3. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR LEARNING Learning is both a personal process of discovery and a social activity. Everyone learns both individually and as part of a group. The SNACS culture promotes life-long learning for children and adults while encouraging everyone to become responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

4. EMPATHY AND CARING Learning is fostered in communities where there is mutual respected between and among adults and students. Learning groups are small with a caring adult looking after student progress and acts as an advocate for each child. Older students mentor younger ones, and students feel physically and emotionally safe.

5. SUCCESS AND FAILURE All students need to be successful to build confidence and the capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. But it is also important for students to learn from their failures, to persevere when things are hard, and to learn to turn disabilities into opportunities. Every opportunity of misbehavior or failing to meet mastery is an opportunity to learn the appropriate behavior or skill.

6. COLLABORATION AND COMPETITION Individualized and group learning are integrated so that the value of friendship, trust, and personal growth is clear. Students are encouraged to compete not against each other, but with their own personal best and with rigorous standards of excellence.

7. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Both diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative power, problem-solving ability, and respect for others. SNACS students investigate and value their different histories and talents as well as those of other communities and cultures.

8. THE NATURAL WORLD The natural world refreshes the human spirit and teaches important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Outdoor lab experiences are crucial to SNACS philosophy.  Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

9. SOLITUDE AND REFLECTION Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections, and create their own ideas. They also need time to exchange their reflections with other students and with adults.

10. SERVICE AND COMPASSION We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others. One of ELOB primary functions in design is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service.

More information can be found about ELOB by visiting the website at