Our mission, vision, and goals all center around one thing: our learners. We want to engage the whole child - intellectually, but socially, emotionally, personally, and ethically, as well. As needed, we integrating advice and feedback from an occupational therapist, certified special education teacher, reading interventionist, and certified Orton Gillingham instructor to provide a holistic, but individualized, approach to learning.
Our curriculum is experiential, hangs-on, and project based. Although we have a set schedule, we encourage intellectual deep dives by our curious thinkers. Our goal is not to teach content to be memorized, but to teach a student how they learn and how to critically think about and solve problems for themselves!
Our curriculum targets advanced third-graders through middle school students. We are intentionally small and won't ever enroll more than eight (8) students in a class, so the success of our classes depends on the contributions and involvement of all of the students, regardless of their grades. It's not infrequent that our 3rd graders are paired with 6th graders and learn from each other! Our classes are hosted by a lead teacher, with at least one additional teachers participating in each class.
For students enrolled in our Math and ELA classes, instruction is provided in ability-based groups of two to three learners. We may utilize a variety of different curriculums and methodologies - ranging from Montessori to Orton Gillingham, but we will always provide instruction that is both individualized and multi-sensory.
Our learners have access to a small maker space, where students are introduced to design and a problem-solving, tinkering, and a can-do mindset. Our maker space with wood, woodcarving and cutting tools, circuits, gadgetry, sewing, yarn, fabrics, buttons, and batteries. We have a 3-D printer and green screen, which are not only a part of our Maker Space, but also make frequent appearances our history and science classes!
Through a social-emotional teaching and leveraging a growth mindset, we'll build relationships with our learners, guide them to monitor their own feelings and actions, and integrate social-emotional skill building throughout our days together.
Our learning spaces aren't filled with desks or behavior charts, rather we have lots of project-friendly white-board tables, active learning stools, bean bag chairs, reading swings, and a sensory calming space We'll provide learners freedom of movement (within reasonable boundaries), sensory breaks when needed, and noise-canceling headphones. Our learning environments include low light, soft cushions, and lots of sensory fidgets. Of course, learners will also have access to outdoor spaces as well, if needed, during moments of overwhelm.
While we understand and appreciate the role technology plays in education and the future of our world, we hope to provide lots of hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities where screen time is minimized. Technology will be provided as necessary to facilitate research and learning experiences, however, our learners will be expected to leave all personal devices at the door.
We won't engage in outdated one-size-fits-all education practices, such as hours of homework and dozens of fill-in-the-blank worksheets and standardized tests.
Imagine a school system that recognizes learning is natural, that a love of learning is normal, and that real learning is passionate learning. A school curriculum that values questions above answers…creativity above fact regurgitation…individuality above conformity.. and excellence above standardized performance….. And we must reject all notions of ‘reform’ that serve up more of the same: more testing, more ‘standards’, more uniformity, more conformity, more bureaucracy. Tom Peter, “Re-Imagine”