Many teens struggle to thrive in the atmosphere of traditional schooling when they find content, teaching methods, and the very structure of schooling to be irrelevant to them and the world around them. For these students, a variety of factors such as learning challenges, a lack of motivation, struggles with authority figures, and mental health issues have negatively impacted their academic performance. When traditional schooling has failed your child, experiential-based education can be an opportunity for curiosity, new perspectives, and connection.

Individualizing education for struggling students

One of the many challenges traditional schooling presents for struggling students is a lack of individualization in their education plan. Teachers simply do not have the time or resources to teach to every student’s individual learning style, so they tend to rely on practices and methods that fit the majority. This lack of individualization can cause some students to fall behind because they do not know how to advocate for their own needs.

With the experiential-based education program at BlueFire, individualizing your child’s educational needs are our first priority. We start by administering a learning styles assessment to gain an understanding of your child’s academic strengths and needs. We then take this information to address their specific educational challenges and come up with a treatment plan including academic goals based on state and national standards.

When students feel like learning can play to their strengths, it allows them to change their perspective and increases their self-confidence in being able to succeed academically. This is especially powerful in our hands-on, experiential, wilderness education program.

Learning by doing and real-life application

Research has proven that students learn and retain information best when they learn by doing, so we have utilized nature as a powerful learning environment.  At our wilderness school, each day provides an opportunity for students to learn about the world around them. For example, they experience the learning of science and social science by traversing the same paths as previous generations. Immersing students in the natural landscape helps to drive home lessons and provide relevance to learning.

To supplement academic standards, BlueFire also offers adventure therapy, a proven kinesthetic methodology that enhances the transfer of learning from the therapeutic environment to the student’s life. Adventure therapy includes planning and executing multi-day treks where students face challenges that will test their behavioral and emotional responses. Working through these challenges in nature will simultaneously help students build skills to work through challenges in their lives and relationships back home.

We recognize that wilderness education is not a long-term solution but that it can be used as a powerful tool to make necessary behavioral and educational changes. Because of this, we focus on translatable skills, both emotional and academic, to ease the transition back into the real world.

BlueFire can help

BlueFire Wilderness Therapy is a premier wilderness therapy program for troubled teens struggling with emotional, social, and behavioral challenges. We utilize a comprehensive approach to teen treatment based on research and decades of experience. By combining the best of individualized clinical work, family therapy, adventure activities, and equine therapy we help adolescents make lasting changes. For more information, please call (208) 502-2326.

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