Sparks of Learning Success

S: Social-Emotional Learning

Before optimal learning can occur, the social and emotional needs of a child must be recognized and nurtured. Academic skills are more easily acquired when a child feels safe and confident in the learning environment. Building a relationship of trust allows students to take risks, stretch their skills, and build resilience.

P: Participation

Before optimal learning can occur, a child must be willing to participate in their own learning. A sense of motivation for learning, both content and foundational skills, may need varying levels of support from parents and teachers. This collaborative approach is most successful when there is active participation by each member of the learning team: Teachers creating just-right, interesting, and relevant lessons; parents encouraging kids to keep trying even when tasks are challenging; and students finding energy and motivation to persevere while generating a dialogue of positive self-talk.

A: Academic Understanding

Before optimal learning can occur, teachers and parents must recognize that true academic understanding occurs differently for each child (and adult). We strive to honor the actual understanding of a concept or skill rather than focus strictly on assessment data and benchmarks. Truly understanding something often takes repeated exposure and time. We accept and expect that children will experience different rates and levels of mastery.

R: Researched and Responsive Instruction

Before optimal learning can occur, researched-based, multi-sensory instruction and pedagogical knowledge must be in place in order to create systematic structures and teaching practices. At the same time, teachers will respond intentionally to individual students’ learning profiles. Knowing a student’s interests, passions, and strengths comes from building an authentic positive relationship with the child and family. Each teacher will to use his or her own strengths and creativity to create individual learning plans and develop positive relationships with students and families.

K: Kindness is our Culture

Before optimal learning can occur, compassion for a child’s challenges must be realized. Treating each learner with kindness and creating a dynamic child-centered learning environment builds trust in the relationship, thus leading to increased motivation, resilience, and learning. We strive to create a space in which teachers, parents, and children give and receive kindness rather than judgement to others in our presence.