Friday, July 25, 2014

Elementary

At La Scuola, we take the education of young children very seriously. We know that the experiences we share with our students make a significant difference in their lives. Our students learn more than the fundamentals, exceeding the Sunshine State Standards while engaging in hands-on learning experiences.

La Scuola has developed an educational program, which balances traditional academics with innovative research projects in an environment inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. In addition to spacious classrooms with large windows facing the outdoors, the children also have an Atelier, a photo lab, and a theater. In our school each child becomes a thinker who listens, an inquirer who negotiates, an inventor who collaborates, and an individual who believes in him or herself.

At La Scuola, we seek to foster in children a deep commitment to their own learning. Our basic goal is to have children want to learn. Rather than passively absorbing information, our students explore their world and actively master academic skills, while developing self-confidence and the ability to collaborate effectively with others. You won’t find our students spending most of their time behind desks or reading textbooks; they are actively engaged in learning in a hands-on way both inside and outside the classroom. Research studies capture students’ imaginations and offer the children the opportunity to immerse themselves in a focused area of study. Fields of inquiry are integrated across the curriculum. Learning is meaningful, relevant, real and exciting.

Our faculty and students engage in active research, real learning. Through these research projects children fulfill their innate desire to understand their world and to master ways of interacting in it. Each project revolves around questions of essential importance and vital interest the student’s share. Through a multidisciplinary approach children apply cognitive, expressive and inventive skills to develop theories and discover answers. Each project concludes with a high level communication of the ideas uncovered in their investigation. Examples of this communication will cover the walls of the school to remain as an ongoing history of our research.

What makes our Elementary Program unique?

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
At La Scuola, students are engaged and captivated by hands-on learning experiences. Learning through direct experience offers children the opportunity to actively master skills. It brings learning to life. From creating and running their own grocery market to learn about money, conducting archeological digs of mystery cultures as a way of studying world cultures, or performing field ecology research throughout the city of Miami, is an example of how the students learn in our school.

REFLECTIVE LEARNING
When students reflect on their experiences, they develop a genuine understanding of what they’ve studied. Reflection reinforces and enhances their learning. It gives them the opportunity to better retain information and build on earlier discoveries. While journal writing is central to this process, students also reflect on their experiences through discussion, writing, drawing and creating visual presentations. La Scuola recognizes that children communicate in multiple “languages.” Students at all grade levels reflect by creating displays, books, videos, web pages, dramatic performances, public speaking, art and presentation skills. Through these different channels of expression, students have the opportunity to first individually reflect and then share their discoveries with a larger community.

RESEARCH-BASED LEARNING
Through a strong core curriculum, students at La Scuola become proficient in traditional subject areas: language arts, math, social studies and science. Trimester-long theme studies enhance the core academics by providing students the opportunity to apply and broaden their knowledge through studying special topics in depth. Topics are designed along with the students based on their interests which provides the children the opportunity to immerse themselves in a focused area of study. Through these research studies, we incorporate science, math, writing, reading, research, visual arts and outdoor education.

MASTERY OF ACADEMIC SKILLS
La Scuola inspires and challenges students while supporting them in a nurturing environment. Two full-time teachers are in each classroom. Our low student-to-faculty ratio allows teachers to personally know students and respond to their individual learning styles. By working closely together inside and outside the classroom, teachers and students build strong and meaningful personal relationships that make children feel valued and appreciated for who they are. Teachers collaboratively work at each grade level, and students are often divided into smaller groups for core subjects and specialists’ classes. Overall, students receive a high level of individual attention.

The teachers challenge students to think critically. Creative problem solving begins with valuing differences and fresh insight. Working in small teams, students learn their own ideas are often enhanced by collaboration, tested by negotiation and given clear voice by presentation. Students are surrounded by peers, teachers and parents who are inspired and motivated.

FIELDTRIPS / OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Age-appropriate trips provide children with fresh, life-altering experiences and new challenges, along with opportunities to apply skills learned in the classroom, collect data for use in the classroom, solve problems, bond with classmates and teachers and develop self-confidence. Often, these experiences give children rich topics for their writing. Fieldtrips aren’t just fun add-ons, separate from academic studies. Adventures in the field are ideal opportunities for integrated teaching and learning. Students go on fieldtrips to conduct research, interview people, perform scientific experiments, navigate, compute, document, reflect in journals, sing, perform and create artwork. They are an inextricable part of the way we teach and learn.