How We Learn

At WyldFlower, we balance freedom, responsibility, and community. Here, students learn not just academics, but also how to navigate their world, how to advocate for themselves, and how to be productive members of a thriving community.

Decades of child-development research in psychology and neuroscience points the way for creating an ideal learning environment for children. Allison Gopnik, a researcher and author from UCLA with a recent book entitled “The Gardener and the Carpenter”, has a great analogy that we like to use here at WyldFlower. Adults should be more like gardeners (prepping the environment for optimal self-growth) and less like carpenters (forcefully shaping it’s subject into the object he/she wants to create).

Children are natural born learners. WyldFlower provides the loving and engaging environment in which they thrive.


The best learning is learning that is self-chosen. There’s a rigor that doesn’t occur when coerced into an activity with external sticks and carrots. By shifting focus to engagement rather than forced content, we can cultivate a learning environment that organically creates diverse moments for critical thinking, collaboration, self-regulation and problem-solving. Students find themselves truly responsible for their learning. In time, this develops into a strong feeling of self-efficacy and independence.


By participating in a school built on democracy, individuals realize they are just one perspective among many, that they have say in what their experience is like, and that by caring for others, they optimize the environment for all individuals to thrive. This leads to confident, empathetic and informed students who have meaning in their day to day learning; members of a community, engaged with life.


Anxiety, stress, loneliness and depression are at record-level highs for adolescence in the U.S. We believe that healthy minds are the prerequisite for being motivated towards authentic, deep learning. Long before we want you to read, we want to know how you are feeling. Learning starts with emotion, and education often finds itself leading with the cart instead of the horse. We believe in providing an environment that prioritizes mental health and have created a space which reflects that belief.


Play is a lot more than just fun. In his 2008 Ted Talk, psychologist Stuart Brown shared that “Play lights up the brain like nothing else.” He describes the many benefits of play and shares concerns that today’s society has forgotten these age-old understandings. Cognitive and executive functioning, social and emotional skills, problem-solving and creativity all greatly benefit from children participating in self-driven play. At WyldFlower, we take play seriously.


A loss of outdoor play for children over the past few decades is strongly correlated with obesity and mental health issues for teens. The value of getting kids out into nature is endless in our eyes. The Sheridan community has various opportunities for students to experience one of the most beautiful areas in the state of Wyoming. By designing learning trips around events relevant to students’ lives (and by giving them the freedom to explore and learn) students experience lessons that leave lasting impressions on their attitudes towards their environment and unlock a deep understanding of the interconnectivity of themselves and the ecosystem.

high school – Pathways


To take a more in-depth view of our program, here is our Sampler– a sneak peek into WyldFlower.

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” ~ Albert Einstein