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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 + Belonging
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 mission.

Our StoryThe EXPLO Journey

Founded in 1976 as a non-profit start-up out of MIT, EXPLO has benefitted from decades of entrepreneurial leadership. The same mindset that created a community of intellectual adventure unconfined by traditional academics has propelled EXPLO’s evolution –– from a pioneer in the field of summer academic enrichment for high schoolers, to a multi-campus summer program for students in grades 4-12, to a globally sought after resource for engaging and innovative teaching.

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. In 2019, we launched EXPLO Elevate: An Innovative Schools Cooperative to work with schools 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 was inspired by his experience as an administrator and freshman advisor at MIT, where he witnessed a number of innovative initiatives around student-driven transdisciplinary learning.

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. 


Teaching Philosophy + MethodologyThe EXPLO Way

Learning Through Exploration

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 opening up their world.

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

Every EXPLO program has a Department of Teaching and Learning with resident instructional coaches. They spend each day visiting classes, observing students and teachers, and coaching teachers to become better at what they do. So many education leaders have been inspired by this work that they've asked us to help their 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.