Silverleaf utilizes methods of instruction that have been proven effective for eager students with a love of learning. Students will be taught skills in a variety of ways and provided opportunity to demonstrate proficiency. Once proficiency is demonstrated, students may move forward in their learning regardless of the pace and proficiency of other students. Skills may be taught in small groups or individually–both in pace and content. We do not separate students by grade. For social and emotional purposes students are grouped by age. For academic purposes, students may be further grouped by ability.
PROJECT BASED LEARNING
Our project-based approach allows students to dive deeply into subjects they are individually passionate about. Projects embed foundational subject areas of mathematics, language arts, science and social studies on an individualized and proficiency-based level. Emphasizing both teamwork and independent learning, projects inspire creativity and innovation while teaching skills in problem solving, critical thinking and project management.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are essential skills for the 21st century. Information, technology, and artificial intelligence are advancing at light speed. Students must understand the fundamental principles of these subject areas and have the ability to work in partnership with technology in order to be successful in the world in which they will work.
These essential subjects, which are typically offered to students in 5th grade or higher and/or as after-school enrichment opportunities, are part of our standard subjects and are taught to all Silverleaf students, regardless of age. We use menus to support differentiation and we use mathematics curriculum specifically designed by experts in gifted education to meet the needs of students who require accelerated math education.
LANGUAGE ARTS and HUMANITIES
Reading and writing strategies, and mechanics of language as well as social studies are largely incorporated into project-based learning (PBL). This inquiry-driven approach allows students to investigate topics they are interested in learning. We utilize techniques and curriculum to support development of the essential skill of critical thinking. Along with PBL and menus to support differentiation in social studies and language arts, we utilize Jacob’s Ladder reading comprehension program. Students learn keyboarding, cursive, and any other techniques that may help them in processing language. Foreign Language instruction is also provided.
Social Studies is taught heavily at Silverleaf to build awareness and understanding of the world around us, and to expose students to geography, culture, and history.
Mixed media arts is provided to all students as part of our STEAM integrated education. Students learn foundational art techniques and get creative. Students participate in music class and performing/theatrical arts elements may be incorporated into some of the project topics throughout the year.
Personal wellness is important. Students engage in physical education every day which may include games, calisthenics and yoga.
Students are provided instruction in emotional/social well-being to provide them with awareness of what is happening in their bodies and brains, as tools for lifelong success. We offer diverse resources to support the differences among children.
Throughout the school year, we work to foster essential skills. The essential ROCKETBOTS skills, as we have defined them, are: Respect, Originality, Communication, Kindness, Empathy, Trustworthiness, Boldness, Open-mindedness, Teamwork, and Service. We recognize effort and achievement in these skills and academic subjects through our Badges for Learning Aptitudes, Skills and Talents (BLAST) Program .
Experiential learning is an important part of our model. We go on field trips monthly (except in months with extended school breaks such as December and March). Parent chaperones are required to participate in field trips with students. This is a great time for us to break away from school and explore our community together.