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Exploration LearningAbout EXPLO

At EXPLO, we strive to return curiosity and exploration to teaching and learning so that every child can thrive — now and in the future.

Our Leadership Diversity, Equity, Inclusion + Justice
take charge

Our Purpose

At EXPLO, we want young people to take charge of their own learning: to chart a course that allows them to do more than simply “succeed” in life, but to actually thrive. We challenge students to live a life of exploration — to act on their curiosity, pursue their passions, and to make a life of meaning for themselves in collaboration with others. This is a life of daring. A life of courage. A life of purpose.

Learn more about our vision and values.

Our StoryThe EXPLO Journey

Founded in 1976 as a non-profit startup out of MIT, EXPLO has benefitted from decades of entrepreneurial leadership since day one. The mindset that created a community of intellectual adventure beyond traditional academics that has propelled EXPLO’s evolution from the first hybrid summer program for high schoolers to a multi-campus summer program for students in grades 2–12 to a sought-after resource for student engagement and innovative teaching and learning worldwide.

While we continue to draw inspiration from our roots in MIT’s Independent Activity Period, we continue to iterate and expand our work. In 2014 we began consulting with not-for-profits serving low-income students to help them drive student engagement. In 2016 we launched EXPLO Studio to explore the ways in which critical making curriculum and an entrepreneurial mindset can change the way educators approach teaching and boost student engagement. We launched EXPLO Elevate: An Innovative Schools Cooperative in 2019 to work with schools across the U.S. and around the world looking to innovate their approach to 21st-century education, increase student engagement, and equip young people with the necessary skills to navigate a rapidly changing and uncertain future.

Our FoundersLifelong Learners, Visionary Educators

Ann and Arnie Singal founded Exploration Summer Programs in 1976 with the goal of creating a unique summer experience for high school students that combined the best aspects of summer camps — close friendships, activities, and adventure — with a focus on intellectual engagement and lifelong learning. Arnie’s experience as an administrator and freshman advisor at MIT allowed him to witness first-hand a number of innovative initiatives around student-driven transdisciplinary learning that inspired the creation of EXPLO. While at MIT, Arnie recruited Brian Hughes to serve as EXPLO’s first Program Director — and to this day, Brian continues to work closely with EXPLO as a member of the Board of Trustees. Arnie and Ann led EXPLO until their retirement in 2007. 

Brian

Teaching Philosophy + MethodologyThe EXPLO Way

Every element of EXPLO is designed to make powerful moments of discovery that unlock the potential to become a lifelong explorer.

Worldwide Idea Hunting

If education is going to better serve humanity and the planet, it has to be reimagined — and this leads us to hunt for insights. EXPLO has a team of idea hunters pursuing the freshest and biggest ideas in science, art, business, psychology, medicine, politics, engineering, technology, education, and beyond. We bring these ideas back to the Exploration Center, our 30,000-square-foot headquarters, filled with labs, maker spaces, studios, a woodshop, and more.

Design for Unleashing Curiosity

We consider a boring class an emergency. The solution? Irresistible experiences that engage a student’s head, hand, and heart; build on “Aha!” moments, and fuel their desire to continue exploring. A wholly engaged student becomes a curiosity machine: asking questions, seeking answers, and then finding more and better questions.

Build Rich Experiential Learning Environments

If designed well, the learning environment itself is a teacher. We take staging classrooms, studios, labs, and outdoor sites seriously, turning them all into interesting venues with elements of surprise (and sometimes whimsy) to transport our students to another world. Our Summer Programs are located on extraordinary, beautiful campuses with loads of dedicated space allowing us to set up extensive materials and equipment.

Train Towards Inspiration

A summer at EXPLO expands a student’s view of the world and their place in it. Suddenly, more of the world is within their reach. Our educators are constantly finding ways to inspire students to explore the world of people and ideas; motivating them to think bigger and to take risks; pushing them to use their voice; making it safe to fail; supporting them in trying again; giving them real choices; surprising them; awakening their senses; and celebrating their discoveries about themselves, their peers, and the world around them.

Support Great Teachers to Ensure Deep Learning

At every EXPLO program, there is a Department of Teaching and Learning with instructional coaches who spend every day visiting classes, observing students and teachers, and coaching teachers to become better at what they do. So many education leaders have witnessed this work that we have been asked over and over to help schools and organizations reimagine teaching and learning. This has led to opening an exciting division of EXPLO to work with schools and nonprofits: EXPLO Elevate.

Need-based Scholarships + Grants

At EXPLO, we strive to make our summer programs accessible for as many curious and motivated young people as we can. As a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization, EXPLO is committed to expanding accessibility to serve families from around the world, regardless of their education, income, or occupation. 

Make a Gift

Over the past 40 years, the EXPLO Scholarship Fund has allowed EXPLO to offer need-based scholarships and grants to thousands of students. A gift in any amount can help ensure that another deserving student has the opportunity to experience an EXPLO summer.

EXPLO Elevate develops and offers professional development workshops and consulting for schools and nonprofits around the world. A donation to this Fund means educators serving low-income students can access the professional services to bring EXPLO to their students.

In honor of EXPLO founders Ann and Arnie Singal, the Singal Founder's Fund supports need-based scholarships for highly talented young people to attend EXPLO’s summer programs.