Life School

Building healthy communities by helping young people learn new skills, realize their potential, and develop a sense of belonging and purpose in the world.

Life School is a series of workshops designed for middle school and high school aged students that emphasize building healthy relationships, understanding feelings, developing empathy, managing emotions, and developing social responsibility. Students learn research-based skills focusing on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decision making.

Life School supports students, staff, and families in achieving their personal life goals and living healthier, deeper, richer, more meaningful lives. Research shows that social emotional Learning programs can have a positive impact on school climate and promote a host of academic, social, and emotional benefits for students such as better academic performance, improved attitudes and behaviors, and fewer negative behaviors.

Life School consists of (6) four hour long experiential learning workshop options. All workshops are held at Common Ground throughout the school year. Group sizes can consist of up to 25 students. The workshops can be scheduled as “stand-alone” offerings or combined with other workshops to deepen the impact. A variety of teaching methods and activities are utilized including: outdoor adventure challenge, art and music-making, journaling, videos, and group discussions. We still offer our original full year (8 session) version of Life School upon request.

What people are saying:

“I can see in all of my students a new found confidence in finding their voice and expressing their thoughts and feelings… I think you have done an outstanding job at relating the information in a way that creates an avenue for inquiry and discovery.”

Workshop Topic Options


Our unique view of the world and history influence everything in our lives and how we respond to life experiences. We make meaning of the events in our lives through our unique view of the world. In this session we explore how to become more mindful of our worldviews and that understanding who we are and how we connect to the world can help us develop a well-rounded sense of confidence and optimism about our lives. A deeper understanding of worldviews can enhance relationships, grow ability to feel empathy, and develop deeper levels of respect.

Being Yourself

Be who you really are, not what you have learned to be. In this workshop we share the ideas that self-acceptance, positive self-talk, and positive thinking can have a direct impact on what and how we experience our lives.

Emotional Smarts

What roles do emotions play in your life? In this workshop we provide opportunities for students to develop a deeper understanding that it is our relationship to our emotions that typically cause us problems and not the emotions themselves.

Resilience (Fear)

Making choices with an emotional awareness rather than making choices from a place of delusion or fear. In life there will be circumstances that will trigger strong emotions. If we are not mindful, we may react to those circumstances in a way that can cause more harm. We may not be able to control the situation or circumstance itself but we can manage our responses to them.


Why do I do what I do? How to create more of the life you want and less of the life you don’t want. This workshop focuses on seeing the connections between habits in our lives and our emotions. We will explore how to become aware of problem habits in our lives and to create healthy habits in line with what we want to create in our lives.


Paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. Mindfulness centers on the conscious awareness of the present moment, by focusing our attention and controlling our breath, we can learn to reduce stress and optimize the learning capacity of the brain.


Common Ground is located in Oberlin, Ohio. Head to our Explore the Area page and find out about other things to do and places to stay in the area, or you can learn more about our organization, which has always proudly been not-for-profit.