Optimal Learning

Numerous studies cite the importance of the learning environment on student achievement. They have found correlations between improved learning environments and behavior, motivation, learning, achievement, and overall well-being. It makes sense, really, that the more comfortable a child is, the more they will able to focus, engage, learn, and progress in school. The trouble most schools find in creating optimal learning environments is trying to find some middle ground that will appeal to a majority of students (the mythical “average”).
Practice: At Chrysalis we have the benefit of being able to find just the right environment for each student to capitalize on these benefits. We can factor multiple elements into the equation, including teacher/student personalities, time of day, length of day, noise or light sensitivity, 1-1 setting, group setting, peer groupings, and much more to create an optimal learning environment for each student. We can even adapt preferences for different subjects where students exhibit significant strengths, weaknesses, or preferences. In these first weeks of school we are gathering observations about students in a variety of contexts and micro-environments to ensure we’ve created the right program for your child, and may be making adjustments as necessary to ensure their success.

Encouraging well-being

The World Health Organization identifies health and well-being as crucial elements to academic performance and educational attainment. Beyond the absence of disease, this refers to physical safety, nutritional health, physical fitness, sleep hygiene, supportive relationships, and positive mental health. When any aspect of well-being is lacking, the ability to learn is compromised.
Practice: We know from experience that when a child is hungry, tired, upset, or lacking any other basic need, they are not ready to learn. As we start a new year, we ask for your help in assuring that your child is in peak learning condition when they come to school by: packing them enough food for the day or money for snacks, ensuring they get enough rest, keeping them home when ill, making sure they have their glasses or other supplies they need to be successful, and doing anything you can to make for a good day. We thank you in advance!

The Gift of Time

Research: Rebecca Givens Rolland laments that schools are racing through K-12 education these days, with policies that encourage children to cover more material in shorter amounts of time under expectations that are misaligned with natural child development. She argues, “This push, while well-intentioned, is counterproductive. Children need time to sit with a subject, to see mistakes not as humiliations, but as chances to learn.” What’s missing in this “need for speed” is an understanding of the nature of the learning process and proper encouragement to create lifelong learners.
Practice: At Chrysalis every student is allowed to learn at their own pace and in their own time. Since we don’t adhere to arbitrary standards we can create educational programs that meet each child where they are and allow them to progress when they’re developmentally ready. Our program allows children the extraordinary gift of time to flourish, learn deeply, and develop a love of learning.

Work smarter, not harder!

1.WorkSmarterNotHarderResearch: Studies show that traditional classrooms wield inefficient use of student time (Goodlad 1984, Godwin et al. 2013). Only 70 percent of a student’s time in such an environment is dedicated to instruction, while the other 30 percent is dedicated to routines, behavioral issues, and socialization. Within that 70 percent of the school day, instruction is geared to teaching the mythical “average student,” meaning that lessons must be presented broadly, practiced, assessed, corrective procedures put into place, and assessed again. After assessment the teacher moves on to the next lesson, with or without students who mastered the concept. This methodology serves a few students well, but students on either end are left either bored or frustrated and, ultimately, alienated.
Practice: At Chrysalis we try to work smarter, not harder, by offering classes one-on-one and in small groups. Smaller numbers allow us to track student easily, continually assess their progress, create meaningful assignments toward their goals, and achieve mastery. We ensure that every minute we have with a student counts because academia is just one part of a child’s world…there’s so much else to explore!

No Such Thing as Average

Research: Todd Rose of the Harvard Graduate School of Education recently presented a TEDx talk on the myth of the average child. When we assume that an “average” child exists, we assume that they have an average learning profile–that they are equally skilled or gifted in all areas. But in reality, all students have different strengths and weaknesses in many dimensions of learning and subject areas. Rose argues that teaching to the average destroys talent. By contrast, when we design learning environments for individuals we can see what they’re really capable of, nurture their individual potential, and let them soar.  Average

Practice: At Chrysalis we know that while a child may struggle in reading, they may also excel in science, math, art, or drama. They may struggle in art, but may enjoy computer programming or electronics. We are able to create schedules that allow students to develop their areas of challenge, while also spending larger quantities of time in their areas of strength to nurture and grow these areas to work toward their potential. We are the nurturers of individual potential!