An Immersive, Experiential Early Education

The Elementary Learning Center brings The Island School’s core principles of experiential education and outdoor learning to our community’s youngest learners. Originally designed to provide a learning space for staff children, today the ELC welcomes students from neighboring communities on Eleuthera to learn in a multi-age classroom of students ages 3–11. Utilizing the extensive resources and experts throughout our community, students learn through creative exploration and hands-on experiences in an exceptional natural environment.

Our Approach: A Meaningful, Place-based Exploration

Like all of our schools, we believe that students learn best when they are doing real work. In addition, opportunities to solve problems and discover solutions are lasting, meaningful experiences. As such, whenever possible, we apply our place-based and experiential learning approach to daily activities at the Elementary Learning Center.

Simultaneously, we ensure that students have time for age-appropriate lessons and skill development to ensure their education is progressing at the right pace for them. We then find opportunities to apply this learning and skill building to practical lessons throughout our community, engaging students with our principles of community responsibility, environmental research and sustainable development.

Our Curriculum: An Active Day of Inquiry and Engagement

Core academic content each day includes literacy, mathematics, inquiry, and the arts.


During literacy, students build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills allowing them to develop into effective communicators. Instruction takes the form of small group literacy blocks to provide developmentally appropriate targeted instruction, while at other times students come together to create and act out a story, read to one another, or collaborate on shared projects.


At the ELC we believe in teaching students the fundamentals of mathematics, while utilizing our place-based environment to provide hands-on opportunities to apply what they have learned to real-word problems. Students can often be found throughout out community applying skills such as number sense, measurement, geometry, and more, by integrating mathematics lessons with our units of inquiry. Examples may be measuring the lip of a conch shell, finding shapes in nature, or calculating the circumference of a coconut.


Inquiry is an exciting opportunity to put our campus classroom to use! Often working with The Island School staff including researchers, scientists and students, we are able to connect intimately with our environment and develop an early understanding and appreciation for sustainable practices and environmental stewardship.

Through this discovery time, we frame questions and seek answers together. Project-based learning in our outdoor environment utilizes an interdisciplinary approach by combining science, social studies, literacy, math and art to enhance students’ understanding of topics. We build on skills with varied assignments and applications based on each student’s ability and needs.

The Island School

We chose the ELC for our kids because we felt as if it is the best option on the island, hands down. Seeing the excitement in their eyes with the stories they told when they returned home at the end of the day, along with the weekly updates from the teacher, only confirmed our initial inclination about the school and teaching staff. Learning can be taught in many different ways, especially to accommodate every child’s needs and learning styles. The ELC has nailed it. They have a full understanding of this and implement various teaching styles in their school for their students to thrive and achieve their highest potential.”

Robin Rankine

ELC parent