The Experimentory Blog

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The Experimentory Blog

Our year-round blog describes our program, values, and plans for next year.

The Exp Summer Daily

Our summer news consists of daily updates while we're in session -- giving a window into past years.

Sampling Deerfield: Community

March 6, 2018

Aren’t valleys are wonderful? Cool swimming on a hot summer day. Farming in dark, fertile soil. Messing about in boats. It is no quirk of fate or whim that European immigrants settled Deerfield, MA in one.

Of course that’s the perspective of a Valley Dweller. When you live on a mountain, valleys are obstacles. And we all live on mountains – figuratively speaking.

Mr. Kelly offers Sean lessons on life -- and the Pioneer Valley.Our last post connected community and character: you can’t “maximize your character” all by yourself because so much of good character is about how you treat others. This post considers ways to build community – specifically some ways we do it here at Deerfield Academy.

Students atop the Poet's Seat Tower in Greenfield during their Nature Walks  Co-Curricular.
Does Allan spy someone across the
valley???

Back to our mountain metaphor: People tend to regard their own perspective of the world as beautiful, good, and valuable – full of lofty insights – a majestic high ground. It’s a bit like being on a mountain. When we encounter someone quite different from ourselves – from a different culture, perhaps, or with a different personality type, or with different passions – it’s a bit like spotting someone on a neighboring mountain peak. It may be a short distance as the crow flies, but you’re not going to reach them without a precipitous drop-off, a river to ford, and then an uphill climb on the other side.

Each month of the school year, Deerfield students and staff focus on a different cultural competency skill. These are practical principles that help us learn how to connect with others. We call the series “Cross the Valley” – a way of bridging the gaps between us. Here are a few:

  • Listen to Understand Instead of Listening to Respond
  • Use “I” Statements
  • Give Space and Grace
  • Have Tough, Candid, Caring Conversations

These Cultural Competency Skills are another way that the Experimentory reflects Deerfield. We use skills like these to make students from across the country and around the world become one learning community.  

Stephanie (a student from China), Sam (a proctor from Rhode Island) and Will (a student from Texas) together for Exp17.

Experimentory Blog posts feature our students, teachers, classes, values, goals, and plans for the coming year. It's a great place to learn what we are like and decide whether we're a good fit for your next summer. If you're interested in subscribing, please complete the form below!

You may also enjoy our second blog, The Exp Summer Daily. It runs each summer during the program itself and can give you an idea of what the program is like on a daily basis.

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