Learning at Sundance
We know that within any group of children there is a wide range of individual differences. We use various learning and teaching strategies to help students to be the best they can be. Individual Program Plans (IPP’s) are developed for any student with exceptional learning needs.
We are Technology Rich
The use of technology to problem solve, extend learning, produce quality work, conduct research and communicate with others is an essential component of a quality education. We strive to provide meaningful opportunities for students to use a variety of technologies (including hand-held devices) to support learning. Students also have access to assistive technologies.
Fine Arts / Active Living
We believe that children make sense of their world in multiple ways…the arts and being physically active are two important vehicles of expression. We develop literacies through a fine arts program focused on art, music, drama, and movement. Artists-in-Residence programs and in school performances supplement / enrich our learning experiences.
Principles of Learning and Teaching
Education begins with the individual learner. Along with a teacher’s efforts to support the development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of students, comes a professional commitment by teachers to develop a common understanding of what constitutes sound learning. The following principles represent current professional knowledge about successful learning and teaching.
Learning is Socially Constructed
Learning seldom occurs in isolated environments. Rather, learning is mediated in the company of others...skilled and informed practitioners collaborate to offer relevant experiences which are connected and meaningful to the learner.
Learning is Unique and Personalized
It is widely understood that learning takes place at different rates and in different ways. Learning may be recursive; at other times rapidly progressive. Constants in the learning process are individual engagement and intention. There are strong links between the quality and quantity of learning with the depth of a learner’s involvement and commitment.
Learning is Connected
Effective teaching occurs when teachers are able to make connections that are apparent and relevant to each individual child. Each idea or system of ideas goes through a series of revisions in our minds. (Consider what “electricity” means to a child and what it may mean to older people whose life experiences have augmented their understanding).
Learning is Inquiry Based
Inquiry is a process where students are engaged in the construction of knowledge through active involvement in task-oriented work connected to real life. This takes place in a variety of groupings. It is collaborative, authentic, and addresses diverse needs. Through inquiry, important skills such as careful observation, reasoning, critical thinking, and the ability to synthesize, analyze, and evaluate are developed. Students formulate questions, investigate widely, and then build new understandings, meanings, and knowledge. The knowledge that is created is used to answer a question, to develop a solution, or to support a position or point of view. It is usually shared with others and is most meaningful when it results in action being taken.
Learning Involves Risk-Taking
Learners are generally motivated to continue when they meet with success and when their achievements are validated. It is equally important for learners to learn from unexpected and unsuccessful experiences. “Mistakes” and “failures” when approached with care by teachers and fellow students provide critical learning opportunities. Learning requires risk-taking in a supportive environment.