Project Based Learning
Our educational structure is centered around project-based learning. Project-based learning refers to students designing, planning, and carrying out an extended project that produces a publicly-exhibited output such as a product, community service project, publication, or presentation. We believe that children have increased ownership of and pride in their work when learning is purpose driven with an end product in mind. We have chosen to focus on project-based learning because displaying quality work and effort is a tremendously powerful motivator.
Holistic and Balanced Education
Using a holistic education model, the purpose of the Roots environment and daily flow is to prepare students to meet the challenges of living as well as academics. Emphasis is placed on the social, emotional, and physical health of the child, along with a balanced academic program. We believe that a holistic approach to learning will build both resilience and an aesthetic approach to life. Resilience entails overcoming difficulties, facing challenges and learning how to ensure long-term success. An aesthetic approach to life describes an ability to see and appreciate the beauty in each day and its experiences. At Roots we believe that children must learn about themselves. This includes learning self-respect, self-esteem, self-motivation, and self-regulation. Children must also learn about relationships and social interactions. Every child benefits from intentional instruction and reflection surrounding social awareness, collaboration and contributing as a community of learners. Children also need time for physical exercise throughout the day so that learning can be optimal and enjoyable. Our program incorporates one hour of recess daily, along with a yoga and physical education program. At Roots we believe that a balanced education is important for creating meaningful daily experiences and a love of learning. A balanced daily flow weaves in multiple learning modalities (visual/seeing, auditory/hearing, kinesthetic/moving and tactile/touching) throughout the day. It also weaves creative art opportunities into traditional subject lessons with the desired outcome of increased retention of and appreciation for learning.
Foundation for Multi-age Education
Our classrooms are multiage configurations with either a two or three grade span. The benefits of multiage educational practices are plentiful. The classroom community is strong and family-like as children of varying ages, teachers, and parents support each-other. Every child is challenged at just the right level so learning is thrilling, motivating, and enjoyable every day. No student is bored waiting for others to catch up and no child is labeled “behind”. Our children are able to develop overtime within a supportive community according to her/his unique abilities. As a result, the child leads her/his own learning. While older children benefit from the ability to teach younger students, younger students view more sophisticated and complex problem solving. There is an atmosphere of nurturing rather than one of competition in which children pressure one another to fit an arbitrary norm. The teacher finds himself or herself supporting each individual child as to their own complex set of needs rather than trying to lead a group of students to complete an age-based step.
Developmentally Appropriate Classroom Environments and Daily Flow
We believe each developmental stage is unique, a wonder, and to be honored, and we design our classrooms and daily flow to accommodate and celebrate a range of developmental levels. This means we emphasize depth over breadth, allow for time to learn and let learning sink in, and adapt curriculum to fit children’s emotional, social, cognitive, language and physical needs. This approach creates an environment where children innately love learning, creativity, and problem-solving.
Independent, Uninterrupted Work Time / Task Time
Uninterrupted work time, “Task Time”, is a block of time where students develop independence in learning and problem solving, strengthen their ability to focus as they dive deeper into their learning, and find satisfaction and joy in both the learning process and in a job well done. Teachers facilitate this time by guiding children into goal setting, being available for instruction as needed, and giving feedback. Academic standards are reviewed with students so they understand learning targets and the next steps to take.