Principles of Practice

We believe that schools can inspire personal and cultural transformation by modeling authentic, caring and mindful relationships. Our professional learning community seeks to build intergenerational connections, appreciate the best of what is working, empower the possible and guide the process of personal and cultural transformation toward ecological and human vitality.

In practice, we support learners within classrooms by providing a network of community partnerships that:

  • link learning to real life exploration
  • develop school and community leadership
  • provide career-focused project/pathways for students

Within this encouraging context, participants can experience a deep sense of connectedness to their peers, community and the natural world while developing resilient leadership skills and academic success as they work alongside professionals on innovative, career-focused projects. Within the New Leaf Collaborative there are over 40 partner organizations that help to integrate learning strategies, resources and expertise with place-based, hands-on experiences for educational communities.



New Leaf Values and Guiding Principles






Connection precedes content

Experiential and emergent and learning is facilitated

Individual and team work are both valued

Challenges are embraced and seen as opportunities for growth

Systems of renewal are in place

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is foundational to personal interactions

Honor and encourage diversity Everyone is a teacher A place of trust that allows and encourages authenticity and vulnerability is created

Balance, joy and spaciousness are considered integral elements of all experiences

Celebration of small and large achievements is practiced

Reflection leads to appreciation Community involvement is an integral part of the classroom Learning can occur everywhere and is interdisciplinary

Systems thinking is employed in the designing and creating of experiences

Curiosity is inspired

Play is medicine Learning leads to action that provided a service to others Cycles of action and reflection are imbedded into every activity Relationships with nature and place are nurtured
Relational trust is cultivated as part of the daily curriculum Everyone’s voice is heard and respected Connection to place is cultivated The Hero’s Journey is used as a model of growth and development

Mindfulness is taught and practiced