“I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
Our mission, vision, and goals all center around one thing: our learners. We want to engage the whole child: intellectually, socially, emotionally, personally, and ethically. As needed, we integrate advice and feedback from an occupational therapist, reading interventionist, and certified Orton Gillingham instructor to provide a holistic and individualized approach to learning.
Small Group Instruction for Reading & Math
Our curriculum targets advanced fifth graders through middle school students. We are intentionally small and won't ever enroll more than ten (10) students in a class. The success of our classes depends on the contributions and involvement of all students, regardless of their grades. It's not infrequent that our younger learners are paired with the older ones to learn from each other! Our classes are hosted by a lead teacher, with at least one additional teacher participating in each class
Learning How, Not What
Our curriculum is experiential, hands-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!
Multi-Age Learning Groups with 8:2 max student-teacher ratio
For students enrolled in our Math and ELA classes, instruction is provided in ability-based groups of no more than 4 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.
No Boxes to Check
We won't engage in outdated one-size-fits-all education practices, such as hours of homework and dozens of fill-in-the-blank worksheets and standardized tests. MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress, Growth testing is offered two- to three- times a year for interested students and families, but participation is entirely optional and voluntary.
Social Emotional Learning & Growth Mindset
Through social-emotional teaching and leveraging a growth mindset, we build relationships with our learners, guide them to monitor their feelings and actions, and integrate social-emotional skill building throughout our days together.
We leverage South Carolina’s year-round temperate climate for lots of outdoor learning opportunities. Students regularly utilize our attached, covered, outdoor classroom, nearby green space, and the common area around the lake for lessons. We’ve measured the angles of rails and fences around the community, written nature poetry inspired by the walking trail, and conducted water testing of the lake.
Maker Space Design Studio
Our learners have access to a small maker space, where students are introduced to design and 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 also have a 3-D printer and green screen, which make frequent appearances in our history and science classes!
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 provide learners freedom of movement (within reasonable boundaries), sensory breaks when needed, and noise-canceling headphones. Our learning environment includes 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.
Therapeutic Support Animal
Our students are joined each day by Wonder’s three-year old, certified canine good citizen and therapy dog, Pip. He eagerly greets students during their arrival each day, and is amazing listener during independent reading time!