A Vital Part of the Chewonki Experience
Since its beginning, Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki has vigorously invested in the value of cultivating the head, heart, and hands of every student who enrolls in the semester school. We believe this practice is essential to the enduring success of our sustainable community and the goals of an immersive learning organization (see Maine Coast Semester Goals for Graduates).
These values guide the organization of semi-weekly work programs. Every work program offers semester school students to work in partnership with their teachers, fellows, and Chewonki staff on behalf of the entire Chewonki community.
Work programs provide students with the opportunity to connect classroom learning and their lived experience to real-world work. During work program, they learn about the function of and skills specific to various Chewonki programs, as well as those of local organizations and agencies, e.g. Traveling Natural History Program, Elementary School, Chewonki Farm, Kitchen, and Facilities, St. Phillips Food Pantry, etc. Through this work, they begin to understand the complexity of physical work, as they employ the habits of applied creative problem-solving and critical thinking.
Work programs provide students with the opportunity to emotionally invest in the behaviors and practices that enable sustainable communities to thrive and encourage students to adopt the habits of civic leadership. Working to support the community of which they are a part contributes to building a strong personal work ethic, pride of craftsmanship, and a willingness to contribute to something greater than themselves.
Work programs provide students with the opportunity to continuously re-evaluate the work they do with their hands while honing skills that enable them to fully engage in tasks that ensure the ongoing well-being of the Chewonki Foundation, e.g. trail and building maintenance, farm work, invasive species removal, wood-splitting, cidering, sugaring etc. Ongoing involvement in work program offers students the opportunity to develop an appreciation for the essential work of the trades as well as self-reliance and valuable life skills.