Studies show that when students are taught self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making, their academic performance increases by 11%! This is because when a child is in a safe, supportive environment they are willing to take academic risks, try harder, and persist in the face of challenges(Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011).
Children are able to free up their “emotional energy” to figure out and pursue their passions. A meta-study conducted by Columbia University, showed the benefits of a strong social-emotional curriculum don’t stop at academic achievement. Students enrolled in schools with a strong social-emotional curriculum earned on average $11 more for every $1 their parents or the school system invested (Belfield, Bowden, Klapp, Levin, Shand, Zander, 2015). With this information in mind, we’ve integrated social-emotional skills into our curriculum and all students participate in a formal social-emotional class each week.
Children learn best when they are involved in their learning. We offer a heavy “hands-on” learning environment along with monthly scheduled field trips to support their learning. It might be a visit from an exotic animal petting zoo for our youngest students or an overnight trip to the Dallas Aquarium for our middle school aged students!
It’s critical to offer children regular “Brain Breaks” throughout the day. We give our students at least 2 hours of outdoor time on our shady 1-acre property to stretch their legs, get their body moving and have some fun. They have the opportunity to practice their social skills on the playground while developing muscle strength, hand-eye coordination, and gross motor skills!
Every child benefits from this style of education. However, we’ve noticed that children with learning and attention disabilities benefit the most. Our classrooms are child led and our curriculum moves at the student’s pace. Our students feel like they are an integral part of the classroom and if something is not working, we change it!
It’s important to us that our families feel supported too! We know the morning commute starts early and the day ends late sometimes, that’s why we offer early drop-off at 7:30 am and late pick up at 5:30. We include plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and milk at scheduled snack times throughout the day and take the time to communicate regularly with our families during drop-off and pick-up times.