School of Living Arts offers an engaging thematic curriculum, integrated academics and immersive, expeditionary learning experiences that invite middle & high school learners into meaningful relationship with themselves, others and the world around them. 

An Enlivened middle & High school Experience

 School of Living Arts students develop healthy, abiding relationships with learning, which prepare them- heart, hands, and head- to confidently enter life after high school & fully engage their chosen life-path.  Enlivened academics are offered through thematic lesson topics, and a weekly rhythm of academic focus classes support that a holistic understanding of subjects while challenging students to grow and deepen their understanding.  Emerging life skills are encouraged through global travel as a group, deep relational learning and skilled mentorship.  Internships and apprenticeships engage students' passions and curiosities as they gather real-life experience of their artistic, professional or vocational interests. 

 SOLA's biologically compassionate start-time  (9:15am) and daily rhythm allow space for contemplative practice & self inquiry, while our integrated, thematic curriculum, internships, international travel experiences, and flexible enrollment options provide an expanded field of learning unlike any other. 

Perspective drawing of a fort from a thematic block on Medieval History

Perspective drawing of a fort from a thematic block on Medieval History

Thematic Lessons

Through the 1.5-2hour morning Thematic Lesson period, SOLA students are invited to dive deeply into thematic topics, and encounter the passion, wisdom, and knowledge of the Thematic Lesson teacher.  Thematic Lesson presentations are not derived from a textbook, but are instead presented using primary sources, shared through the teacher’s unique, authentic voice, and ensouled understanding of the subject matter. These extended morning sessions offer an opportunity for holistic, hands-heart-head integration of subject matter, and provide a spaciousness that allows for enriching and often surprising interdisciplinary connections to emerge. 


Academic Focus Classes

In addition to thematic lessons, SOLA students participate in ‘academic focus classes’ throughout the year, engaging secondary schooling academics through lecture, practice, independent work, test/quiz taking skills, and inquiry/feeedback. Focus classes often use textbooks or course-books, and are offered in shorter, 60-90 minute sessions, 2-4 times per week. Through these classes, students will become comfortable with, and receive an authentic context for, more traditional classroom methodologies, while also gaining an understanding of the limitations inherent in linear, quantitative methods of assessment. 


Cultural Immersion & Life Skills

Our SOLA students are offered a unique opportunity to develop important life skills and experience themselves as cultural beings within a global culture through our Global Village International Immersion programs. Each year, SOLA students work together to raise funds for their trip to established international and domestic venues. These expeditionary learning experiences are guided by skilled mentors, teachers and expeditionary educators, who encourage group synergy and support the students’ development of important life skills that will carry them through their adventure, and into adult life beyond. 


Internships & Electives

SOLA’s internships and elective courses take place on our campus and at local artistic and professional venues. These immersive classes are offered in trimesters, with an option to extend the duration of the learning experience.  Our list of learning relationships in the Asheville community expands and changes each year.  Is their a topic not listed that you’d like to learn more about? Tell us about it, and we will support you to create a new learning relationship! 



Nature Immersion & Animal Connection 

At SOLA learning is participation in Earth's diverse community of life.  Our campus is a Sanctuary for abundant, diverse plant and animal life.   In keeping with our mission to provide learning Sanctuary for all life, SOLA students honor the natural world through a collective agreement to care for, and do no harm to life in our Sanctuary.  Nature and animals are part of each day's rhythm, through nature walks, eco-contemplative practices, animal care and feeding, and much more.   

SOLA students also have many opportunities to engage their animal relationships in a deeper way, through natural horsemanship classes, animal arts electives, and internships that include trail riding, farm animal stewardship, and much more.