Experiential learning is at the heart of the Pacific Oaks approach. We teach and measure learning not just through academic or theoretical classroom work, but through extensive hands-on research, clinical training, and community service in real-world settings—and through exploring the countless other formative learning experiences our lives have provided.
Many of our students have the extraordinary opportunity to gain hands-on experience at the Pacific Oaks Children's School, a progressive and renowned program that has been on the cutting-edge of infant and preschool education for more than 65 years. Others complete field experiences at educational institutions and community organizations, putting classroom theory into practice in diverse and challenging settings throughout the greater Los Angeles region and beyond.
Perhaps most unique, our students also learn by sharing personal stories, and listening to the experiences that have shaped the lives of their classmates. In our safe, inclusive classroom culture, these conversations provide powerfully instructive tools, integrating theory with real-world examples while fostering a profound understanding and respect for the unique identity of every human being. In the words of the Brazilian educator and theorist Paulo Freire, "No one is born fully formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are." Indeed, our students often say that by learning to understand themselves, they learned to change the world.