Program Curriculum

Through our dynamic, curriculum-based experiences, young people learn the importance of history, how it impacts them today, and how to be active participants in the political process.

student workshop learning talking Shadow

Every day, students from across the country join us in Washington, DC, to build the skills and dispositions of engaged citizens.

How do we do this?

On Close Up’s high school and middle school programs, students use the nation’s capital as a living classroom where they explore iconic sites and discover how the issues and ideals represented in them impact us today. Through interactive workshops and facilitated debates and deliberations, students gain a deeper understanding of both historical and current issues, the importance of civil discourse, and their unique role in our political system. 


Highly Trained Program Instructors

Close Up delivers its world-class experiential curriculum for Middle School and High School students through a staff of highly trained, college-educated program instructors (PIs), each of whom works with a group of approximately 25 students throughout the week. It is in this intimate workshop setting that students collaborate with peers from across the country. Together, they create a learning community to share their perspectives on issues that matter to them, exchange ideas, and gain a greater understanding of their role as citizens. 

Capitol Hill Day (High School)

High school students spend an unforgettable day on Capitol Hill, walking the halls of Congress and meeting with members and staff members of their congressional delegation. It’s an incredible opportunity for students to put their new skills to work and question lawmakers about policy issues. 

Seminars and Onsite Study Visits (High School)

High school students participate in onsite study visits and seminars at foreign embassies, government agencies, and advocacy organizations, giving them a glimpse of real-world policymaking and citizen action. Close Up partners with more than 150 organizations in Washington, DC, to offer these unique perspectives. 


Close Up helps students build a connection to the U.S. political system by exposing them to the history, institutions, and processes that define our government. Our programs provide young people with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for a lifetime of active and effective citizenship. So, how does this show up in our practice?

High School Methodology 

Experiential Education
Cooperative Learning
Issue-Centered Education
Intentional Scaffolding and Sequencing

Middle School Methodology

Comprehensive Curriculum
Experiential Learning
Issue-Centered Education