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Experiential Learning


Experiential Learning is a hands-on learning program for students experiencing an emotional disturbance who have difficulty in traditional academic settings. The program provides an innovative pre-vocational educational opportunity to students ages 12 to 18 who are experiencing varying degrees of difficulty in their present school placement and are better suited for active, hands-on learning experiences.

The pre-vocational component helps students develop the skills, behaviors, and attitudes necessary to foster a positive school experience, and advance into vocational training or successfully enter the world of work. This program works collaboratively with school districts to meet individual curriculum needs and allows students to earn necessary credits toward promotion or graduation.

Experiential Learning is available on Sweetser's Saco campus and includes farming and animal care, woodworking technology, automotive maintenance and repair, greenhouse gardening, and culinary arts.  

Information for Clients and Families


The goal of the Experiential Learning program is to return students to a community-based, educational, vocational, or work placement.


The philosophy of The School at Sweetser is to provide a comprehensive psychoeducational program based on individual needs, created and supported by families. We strive to employ all means, methods, and technologies available to assist students in their successful integration back into the community.

We believe that...

Each child is entitled to an educational program appropriately tailored to his/her needs. Flexibility and individualized programs are necessary as no two students present with the same needs, issues, or developmental achievements. Programs must change to meet the ongoing needs of students.

Learning occurs in an environment where curiosity is encouraged, creativity is nurtured, and individuality is accepted. By fostering a safe learning environment, we encourage children to accept challenges, take risks, and test their creative abilities. Once basic needs for safety are met, the child is free to focus on skill development and academic demands.

We believe that all students have individual rights and opinions. We attempt to foster an environment based on mutual respect and recognize that our students may have differing value systems. We respect these rights to the extent that they do not interfere with the rights of others and are within the bounds of societies legal code.

Our goal is to raise competencies that allow students to benefit from less restrictive educational opportunities. Encouraging students to participate in the psychoeducational process promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility, qualities that help students successfully transition to a public school setting.

The re-integration of Sweetser students into the community depends on the strengthening of their academic abilities and the rebuilding of their self-esteem and coping skills. These goals are accomplished through year-round academic and social opportunities that are designed to provide both realistic challenges and opportunities for success. Only when they feel successful will students develop a sense of competence and self-esteem.

Growth and change are most likely to occur in the context of human relationships. Teachers, clinicians, and support staff are important role models who promote caring, respect, and life-long learning for others through their actions, words, and attitudes. To this end, staff strives to achieve optimum professional growth.

What Our Clients Are Saying

One of Margaret Norbert 's clients writes that, "Maggie is a wonderful therapist who sets a goal and inspires her clients to reach it. She uses practical examples of how to use strategies in real life - I highly recommend her!"

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Executive Address: 2 Pendleton Drive Saco, Maine          Mailing Address: 50 Moody Street Saco, Maine 04072-0892          Phone: 1-800-434-3000                           Copyright © 2019  Sweetser