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Essential Experiences are part of the Putney Core, which outlines the skills, knowledge and understanding essential to a Putney education. They provide invaluable and immeasurable opportunities for students to develop qualities toward which people should progress throughout their lives. These qualities include cultural fluency, self-reliance, an appreciation for manual labor, an appreciation of fine arts, and a capacity for the “hard stretching of oneself.” 

As I’m just about to start the college process, I’ve been researching various schools and campuses. I find myself looking for the same characteristics that I was so lucky to come across at Putney, all of which I had never expected to value as much as I do now!” — Gio ’22

Here are some of the ways we prepare students to take what they learn off the hill and out into the world, helping to make it a better place. 

Live in a Different Culture

Students are required to live for a minimum of one month in a culture significantly different from one’s own, either with a local family or in a boarding environment with local students. 

Many students participate in Trimesters Abroad, where they will learn and work side-by-side with students and adults who may operate under a different set of cultural norms, assumptions and guiding principles. Travel experiences include destinations such as Morocco, China, Mexico, England and France. Students are encouraged to develop empathy and appreciation for differences as they see their own culture through a new lens, and consistently return with increased self-confidence, self awareness and purpose. 

Support Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability at The Putney School is a way of life. What else would you expect from a school located on a 500-acre working dairy farm in southeastern Vermont?

From our Net-Zero LEED Platinum Field House that consumes less energy than it produces, to growing a portion of our own food, to a Sustainability Squad made up of students with an advisor, sustainability and stewardship are integral parts of the Putney experience.

Our commitment to sustainability and ingenuity as the bedrock of our future has resulted in student initiatives such as a Master Plan to become a net-zero campus, an electric school bus proposal, efficiency upgrades to current buildings, improvements to recycling bins, awareness of daily energy habits especially at the dorm level, and a student-run professional level conference on climate justice. 

Stay Active

We believe in the value and importance of exercise for its physical and emotional benefits. Afternoon Activities include a variety of ways for students to develop aerobic fitness, physical endurance, or physical strength, establishing an appreciation for staying active while on campus, and wherever their lives take them. 

We offer competitive athletics such as basketball, soccer and ultimate frisbee, cross country running, rowing and lacrosse; recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, dance, yoga and wilderness skills; and work opportunities such as farm, carpentry, cider making, kitchen and landscaping. Students can also participate in our Ski Program and Horse Program, as well as annual Long Fall trips camping in a remote location for at least three consecutive nights.

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