Learning at The Oaks
Integrated, thematic units are at the core of the student learning experience. Given engaging and complex questions, problems or challenges students are allowed to play, experiment and address authentic issues. In pursuit of knowledge students make inquiries that lead to innovation. They seek feedback and revise based on the new knowledge or perspective they have gained in the learning process. Students then share their work with others for deeper learning.
A key component of Oak’s learning is collaboration. In small groups, students develop interpersonal skills through interaction and “doing,” while developing solutions to real-world problems. Exposure to and understanding of diverse perspectives develop higher-level thinking and communication. Students learn to respect and value the contributions of each team member and also learn skills for resolving conflict when they arise.
Reflecting on one’s own learning enriches learning and fosters intellectual development. Giving students opportunities to think about their thinking makes their learning more “visible.”
The learning is beyond memorizing content and is more about exploring ideas, using reasoning abilities, thinking about misconceptions, and gaining deeper degrees of understanding. Using thinking routines and documentation of learning, students are able to reflect on how and why their thinking has changed.
Students share their learning and work through culminating events. Through performances, exhibits, and guided classroom tours, students share their powerful and meaningful learning moments throughout the year. These culminating events help us gain a better understanding of what and how our students are learning. They are also fun as families, buddies, and other students gather together to enjoy the excitement in their work.
A significant part of assessing student learning is self-assessment. Student showcases give students the opportunity to demonstrate agency and ownership of their learning by describing their learning path throughout the year with evidence of their work. It may be a portfolio presentation or a student led conference. Students share their understanding of what they know and speak to how their thinking about a topic has changed and developed over time.
OUTDOOR LEARNING & PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The physical environment is an extraordinary resource for a student’s learning experience. It is, in effect, another teacher for students. In addition to the indoor classrooms, Oaks' students benefit from outdoor and physical learning experiences. Students can move freely in an open space, explore surroundings with their bodies and their minds, engage in discussions, observe and reflect about their learning.
JOY OF CHILDHOOD
Children have the innate ability to feel joy and to become deeply absorbed in engaging with the world around them. We build on that joy of childhood by offering students learning opportunities where they can relish the moment, imagine, interact, and engage with the world around them. Our students take pleasure in meaningful, productive activity, like constructing things, working with others, exploring ideas, and solving problems.