Virginia Chance School is an independent school for children from age 2 through fifth grade focused on progressive education in Louisville, KY. Inside our bright, busy classrooms and outside in our magical wooded setting, students learn through hands-on discovery. It’s an ideal place for children to develop a lifelong love of learning. Where You Start Matters.
Progressive Education at Virginia Chance School
Because we offer a progressive education, we:
Focus on the whole child
- EVERY area of development, cognitive, social, emotional, moral and physical are important, and we are intentional to grow them.
- Each child has the right to be healthy, safe, supported, engaged and challenged while learning at school.
Create a caring, learning community:
- Each child is nurtured to be part of a loving and nurturing community.
- Classrooms are like families that help one another, meet together, work out problems together and care for one another.
- Our sense of community extends into the home as we value a partnership with parents and offer parenting classes that complement our program and philosophy.
Encourage learning using intrinsic instead of extrinsic motivators
- Children have a voice in their own learning and get to make choices.
- We help children learn to process what they think and feel about their own work rather than focus on what outsiders think and feel.
- Learning is its own reward and we want children to love to learn; therefore, we don’t cheapen that with stickers and gold stars or grades.
Provide active, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities
- Children play an active role in discovering, exploring, creating, and thinking as a necessary part of their learning instead of being passive learners who listen to the teacher lecture and “pour in” facts and information.
- Teachers serve as facilitators, guides, listeners, questioners, observers, supporters, challengers and encouragers of the child.
- An original motto and Chinese proverb that is still a part of our Mission/Philosophy Statements says it this way:
I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.
- Learning centers and stations, theme study, experiments, authentic learning experiences, project-based learning projects are abundant.
Develop critical thinking, problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills
- Instead of rote memorization and skill and drill methods that only require children to remember, children are provided opportunities to understand and explain, apply and use information in new ways, analyze and differentiate, evaluate and question, and create and construct.
- Children create their own questions and solve their own problems.
- Teachers ask questions that lead to discovery and thinking rather than factual, closed questions.
- These 21st century learning skills are incorporated daily.
Focus on collaboration and cooperation
- Students work together with other students; designing projects, and solving problems together.
- Children learn to work with others instead of only do individual work.
- Teachers model this by collaborating with other teachers and with students.
- Cooperation, collaboration and an open exchange of ideas is prevalent.
- These 21st century learning skills are integrated through cross-curricular learning experiences.
Treat each child with dignity and respect
- Children are treated with respect in how teachers address them, talk to them and guide them.
- Stephen Glenn’s Developing Capable Young Children and Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline serve as guidelines for how children are treated with dignity and respect.
- Children participate in making the class rules, and self-discipline is valued.
Focus on process over product
- We think it is more important to teach children how to learn and how to think rather than simply what to learn and what to think.
- Learning is messy and we welcome that.
- Creativity is valued over products that look alike and made from a teacher’s model or directions.
Provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences
- Each child is met where he/she is developmentally and then teachers make sure the learning goals and experiences are suited to that level and challenge them to grow.
- Teachers know each child well and know how children best learn and develop; this knowledge is combined to create learning experiences in the classroom.
- Learning is differentiated so that each child works to his/her own potential.
Give children a voice
- Children are valued and their interests, ideas, and thoughts matter.
- The curriculum and classroom environment reflects the students’ interests, input and decisions.
- Children are provided with authentic leadership opportunities from an early age.
Provide compassion and social justice learning
- Children participate in authentic opportunities to help others, our earth and animals.
- As a school of compassion, community service and service learning projects are incorporated into the curriculum.
- We make a commitment to celebrating our diversity and teaching inclusiveness.
- Children grow beyond themselves when learning how to embrace and include others
Have an integrated curriculum
- Thematic units include all areas of the curriculum and provide the framework for integrated, related and meaningful study.
- Rather than teach in isolated and unrelated subjects, teachers design curriculum that is authentic and collaborative.
- Rather than rely on a single textbook, multiple resources including field trips are utilized to develop curriculum.
- Theme study is broad enough to dig deeply and provide in-depth investigations rather than surface or more shallow learning.
Provide authentic assessment
- Children are observed, listened to and assessed using authentic evaluations that are age-appropriate.
- Children’s assessments are on-going, formal and informal and are used to provide information on children’s learning and therefore to set goals, guide instruction and develop curriculum.
Value outside play and environmental learning
- Each child plays outside every day, except during heavy rain and thundering.
- We have 26 acres available to children, including woods, fields, pond and Goose Creek.
- Children experience environmental education through daily natural connections in our learning greenhouse, garden, orchard and chicken coop.
- We have an environmental program director to ensure environmental learning is sustained at the highest level.
- We became a certified Model Green and Healthy School, setting the standard in our region for other schools looking to become environmentally integrated.
Virginia Chance School is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS).
Please visit our Blog and hear from our experts on the latest insights in education and parenting.