Learning For Life
Camphill Soltane's five-year liberal arts based curriculum, Learning for Life, brings the best elements of a college experience to young adults with special needs.
Learning for Life
Learning for Life is a continuing education program for young adults with special needs, which seeks to spark the imagination and equip students to become life-long learners.
The Learning for Life program is embedded in Camphill Soltane’s community, creating cohesion between program hours and home life. An overarching theme is to develop a relationship with activities that bring life-long joy, such as music, art, conversation, relationships, meaningful work, and service.
Within the five years of the Learning for Life program, students integrate into a new young adult lifestyle with their peers, become increasingly responsible for their own learning, are guided in decision-making and supported to become competent in that process, and learn to express and practice their choice of vocation.
The curriculum is built on the twin pillars of liberal arts and functional skill development.
The liberal arts find expression in the Core Course, which may include studies in history, geography, mythology, literature, or world cultures. These studies are deepened and explored in different ways through classes in Painting, Music, Drama and Movement.
Students increase competencies in reading, writing, and math in small group classes designed to meet each individual’s learning needs with functional skill development. Hands-on workshops, including Gardening, Bike Repair, Ceramics and Woodwork strengthen analytical abilities and motor skills.
There is a natural progression of competencies that builds throughout the course of a student's journey through the Learning for Life program. Instructor Kathleen Bailey describes how the 1st year students in the Herb Garden class require teacher-directed learning, clear, specific guidance, and accompaniment with the work. The 4th year students, in contrast, are able to draw on their past experiences to assess what needs to be done, develop a task list, determine what tools they'll need, and decide how to divide up the work. Says Kathleen, "These are skills which enable older students to act as role models for younger students." They also represent crucial skills which are transferrable to other areas of life.
A new off-campus functional workshop, the Soltane Store in Phoenixville, provides opportunities for student interns to gain work experience in a retail setting by providing customer service, merchandising products, ordering and tracking inventory, and performing basic bookkeeping functions. The Soltane Store offers locally produced artisan goods, products and crafts from many different Camphill communities, and Waldorf-inpsired toys, books, and art materials.
The last two years of the curriculum put a strong emphasis on educational and functional classes such as Money Management, Creative and Practical Thinking, Leisure Planning, Nutrition, Public Transportation, and Safety - essential skills for adulthood.
Students may join Learning for Life between the ages of 18 and 22, and will graduate after completing the five-year program. Upon graduation, students may have the opportunity to undertake a two-year postgraduate apprenticeship in Soltane Works to explore a variety of careers.
Watch the video below for a glimpse into our Ceramics studio!