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Instilling a Desire for Lifetime Learning

Keeping children positively engaged in learning and instilling in them a desire to learn throughout their lives are promises we make to you. Achieving such lofty goals requires understanding, commitment, creativity, and experience.

We could not accomplish what we do with our students without engaging them in the learning process. Is every minute of every day fun and exciting? Well, no. However, every minute of instructional time is considered important and pertinent. For example, most classes have a morning routine that helps children transition from the morning rush to get to school into a learning mindset. When the morning bell rings, teachers and students connect in ways that establish and maintain that mindset throughout the day.

Our most important academic standards are that our day-to-day lessons are rigorous, relevant, and relationship building. You know that our program is rigorous in that it is accelerated, requires in-depth study, and looks at topics of study from multiple perspectives. As professional educators, we call this depth and complexity.

Relevance is addressed throughout the program. Saxon math introduces new concepts very incrementally and directly, so each lesson ties into the “big idea” that is forthcoming. The students learn right away that everything they are learning in math is pertinent, important, and useful for upcoming lessons. This is true in all the subject areas. Kindergartners’ imaginary trip to Asia is highlighted by a Japanese Tea with the seventh grade students. Our five- or six-year-olds understand that what they are learning in class today will help them when they are twelve or thirteen at the Middle School.

Relationship building is looked at two ways. First, the students build relationships with their teachers and fellow students throughout the learning process. The teachers often say, “We are a community of learners.” Secondly, they are taught about the relationships between subject areas, and are often engaged in interdisciplinary studies. There are examples of this at every grade level, starting in prekindergarten with theme units about transportation, animals, the ocean, etc. Connecting learning across disciplines reinforces the information gained and establishes a “memory bank” that can be drawn from and built on forever. New learning takes hold when it can be associated with prior learning, and the “memory bank” builds.

Rigor, relevance, and relationships inspire engagement and reinforce the learning mindset. When this happens everyday, engagement becomes habitual and a part of the culture of the school. These same qualities that nurture engagement also instill a desire for ongoing learning. Our alumni continually assure us that the foundation they gained at WWS has been an underlying impetus for continued success. Administrators at the schools our graduates go to assure us that our students arrive prepared and eager to learn, more so than most. It is no accident that many of our students have become Valedictorians, Salutorians, or National Merit Scholars at their respective high schools.

Beyond these assurances, neuroscience and research about the experiences and attitudes that lead to success have proven that rigor, relevance, and relationship building make a positive and significant difference towards the persistence of a desire to learn for a lifetime. Warren-Walker School has a proven record of success in this regard, and is absolutely committed to the cause.

Posted by pvolker on Sunday March, 25, 2012 at 03:39PM

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