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Our youngest learners have a unique opportunity to explore the world outside of the classroom by visiting local cultural and historical organizations.  These opportunities are for students in preschool through fifth grade and are called Essential ExperiencesSM.   Each experience is directly connected to classroom learning, deepens connections to their community, drives curiosity, and exposes students to career possibilities. 

Additionally, throughout elementary school, students build the skills and competencies as outlined in the Portrait of an Elementary Scholar.  This helps prepare students for the next step into middle school. 

Portrait of an Elementary Scholar Flier

Essential Experiences

3rd Grade: Building Communities Together

How did the early communities of Northeast Ohio change over time? A fully-guided tour demonstrating how Ohio's early communities transformed from small, isolated farms into thriving villages

4th Grade: Artist as Inventor

How do artists act as inventors? A gallery and studio experience to find new ways to see the world, use materials, and solve problems

5th Grade: Akron, The City of Opportunity

How has the immigrant/migrant experience changed in the last 100 years? A customized experience to explore the trades, crafts, and careers of 1920s immigrant and migrant workers


Essential ExperiencesSM started as a three-year $1.2 million commitment from GAR Foundation to provide preschool through fifth-grade students at APS with a meaningful field study outside of the classroom.  The commitment has been renewed for another three years with an additional $2.1 million in funding.