We believe that education should be child-centered and children who can work in their area of strength and interests are more motivated and likely to be successful. We use assessment to determine specific learning styles and match curriculum and activities based on the results. Our goal is to give students a strong foundation by building thinking abilities to encourage life-long learning. Our core curriculum is designed to engage students using an enriched environment that is intriguing, fun and challenging. We encourage the development of creativity, problem solving, and diversity in our students. To accomplish this we use hands-on projects, multi-sensory learning stations and brain-based teaching strategies. Small group or one-on-one individualized instruction is the most optimum environment for learning. We desire that our students be independent thinkers who are knowledgeable about how they learn and take responsibility for their learning. Today’s students need a much more stimulating and challenging kind of education for the twelve year period in school. Many experts report that 21st century learning should not only include a knowledge base, but should also teach problem solving, reasoning, creative thinking, and higher order analysis. However, the push for teaching higher order thinking in schools to elementary children assumes that students have strong learning abilities in place. A teacher cannot teach what a child is not ready to learn. Our goal at the Shady Oak Learning is to train those needed cognitive thinking abilities and help students master academic skills in core subjects through an enriched curriculum.
“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”–Chinese Proverb
Before entering our program, each student will be assessed with the Learning Abilities Assessment, a three hour test, which shows learning preferences and areas of strength. The 26 subtests assess gifted abilities, undeveloped abilities and average abilities. Intelligence is not limited to a number or an IQ score. This assessment identifies levels of abilities required for learning and then offers training to further improve those levels. When planning instruction and choosing materials based on a student’s learning profile, we use the data from the Learning Abilities Assessment to choose curriculum and activities that enhance a student’s strengths. Brain based teaching strategies derived from neuroscience informs and drives our instruction. A few of these include artistic expression, visual cues, hands-on project based learning, mnemonics, music, movement, and the use of an engaging sensory environment.