When you think about your schooling experience, what emotions are sparked within you? Maybe you feel a mixture of emotions depending on the particular memory that resurfaces or the scenarios you experienced from year to year. Your learning environment shaped you, molded you, and had a huge impact in your life as you grew…and may still even have remnants of influence in who you are today.
Most of the time, the positive memories associated with school can be found when we look back and realize we were having fun because the learning was engaging and we were developing relationships with our peers at more than just a surface level.
Imagine a school in which learning was always fun and children were developing valuable life skills through conversation, interaction, and relationship-building practices with their peers. Imagine a school that encourages children to explore what is of interest to them, provides adequate time for play, yet still guides a room full of learners through the critical building blocks of educational skills in order for them to have a mastery-level understanding in all academic areas. Imagine a school where children are whole-heartedly excited to come to each and every day because they feel valued, intrinsically motivated, and know that their presence makes a difference in the world around them.
Solvit Academy has encompassed the best parts of schooling and has created a learning environment that we don’t have to just “imagine” anymore. The design consists of two multi-age studios (Spark: Grades K-1 and Exploration: Grades 2-6). I have the amazing opportunity of guiding our Spark Voyagers. In just one year, I have witnessed our group of learners excel academically, build solid relationships with their fellow Voyagers, and thrive in their daily life. Within the Spark Studio, our learners are receiving the core skills that students within a traditional classroom would be receiving, but the delivery of these concepts may look differently. The Spark Voyagers are learning through hands-on, authentic experiences—which research shows solidifies the learning that is taking place. Every Voyager’s academic, social, and emotional needs are being met at an individual level through one-on-one time spent with me or through small group time spent with peers. Spark Voyagers are intrinsically-motivated to succeed, but also experience the value of learning from mistakes and the power of having a growth-mindset in order to positively move forward.
School is more than just academics. Within the Spark Studio, we place a large emphasis on character building and problem solving. We recognize that we are not just guiding young learners, but we are guiding young people…and as humans we are so much more than the knowledge we possess. For this age group of children, play is developmentally (and vitally) important. Not only will it allow children to “recharge,” but it will allow them to work on important life-skills in a safe place. Spark Voyagers put forth much effort when it is time to work, but also enjoy free-time when it is time to decompress. We have really struck a healthy balance for our younger ones. Learning is fun, time is spent on building relationships, and the stress associated with the demands of school that can weigh down those little minds is non-existent.
Imagine if every child loved school because his/her school encouraged a love for learning. Imagine if children learned at a young age to peacefully problem solve and carried this trait with them throughout life. Imagine if you could take all the amazing pieces of your learning experiences and create a place that leaves you with fond memories and positive influences for your life today.
Henry David Thoreau once stated, “The world is but a canvas to our imagination.” In the field of education, Solvit Academy is holding the brush and has truly created a masterpiece.