When asked to describe EXPLO to newcomers, we often find ourselves saying something along the lines of, “we’re not quite summer camp and we’re not quite summer school — we’re something in between, where you experience all of the things you love about summer camp and so much more.”
Students at EXPLO are in Constant Motion
With daily courses and workshops and a focus on exploring the world of people and ideas through engaged learning, it’s easy to imagine that our students are sitting in classrooms all day. On the contrary, students who come to EXPLO are in constant motion, whether it’s in the classroom or outdoors exploring their home away from home.
And while we do require that all students participate in structured physical activity during their time with us, we also recognize that every student comes to us with a different level of experience and comfort. For some, playing a sport out on the field feels like the best thing in the world. For others, it may feel scary or overwhelming. Whether it’s in your wheelhouse, or far outside it, we believe that kids should be trying a little bit of everything, and we believe that moving your body and being active is an important part of being a kid.
At Least Two Sneaker Activities a Week
At EXPLO, we are constantly working to find the balance of academics, movement, play, and creativity that best serves each individual child. We recognize that athletics may not be for everyone, but we believe that fostering an active lifestyle is a critical component of developing and nurturing the whole child. That’s why we’ve created a suite of Sneaker Activities that encourage kids to get up and get moving.
Whether it’s a nature walk in the Wheaton woods, an organized soccer match, Squirrel Fishing, or free swim with their friends, all EXPLO at Wheaton students are required to participate in two sneaker activities each week. We always give them a gentle nudge to try something new and provide built-in support to ensure that they feel safe to step outside of their comfort zone.
The warm summer months often beckon idyllic memories of endless sandlot baseball games, pickup basketball on a burning hot blacktop, and flag football in open fields.
“As a kid, I was raised playing sports all the time and loved it,” recalls David Torcoletti, longtime Head of EXPLO at Wheaton. “But for some of our kids sports just haven’t worked for them in the past. Parents call me and ask, ‘Is my kid going to have to play sports again?’”
We mean it when we say that we prepare the whole child, pushing our students to stretch themselves academically, creatively, and physically too. But we are always mindful of each student’s baseline and strive to create a low barrier to entry with ample opportunity to grow and improve so that everyone can feel free to participate and have a fulfilling experience.
. . . we are always mindful of each student’s baseline and strive to create a low barrier to entry with ample opportunity to grow and improve so that everyone can feel free to participate and have a fulfilling experience.
“If you’re a kid who has had a negative experience with competitive sports in the past, I understand that you might need a place where you don’t feel like you’re always picked last. Nonetheless, we have bodies and we have to stay healthy,” Torcoletti says.
“As lifelong learners, we want kids at EXPLO to feel like they have found a place where they can move their bodies proudly — whether it’s playing soccer or a silly game or just taking a long walk. We want to redefine what it means to be ‘athletic’ and shift the focus to being active.”