Our youngest students spend the first three months of each school year exploring each of four domains in weekly two-hour sessions. At the end of this period, based on documented faculty "noticings," the student’s performance, and the student’s interest, a placement in one of our four KidWorks groups is suggested. This school year, our four groups are:
KidWorks coaches regularly conference with each student, so that students learn to identify and advocate for their preferences. Though native abilities make it easier to master some domains, commitment and hard work are required in order to achieve excellence and can compensate for difficulties in mastering many skills. If a child demonstrates both strong interest and a willingness to work hard, they will be placed in their preferred group regardless of staff observations and recommendations. From January through June, KidWorks students explore projects in their domain in greater depth and with increasing constraints.
Each Upper School school student is assigned a teacher as a coach with whom they will define and explore a domain they'll dedicate themselves to throughout the school year. Domains are wide ranging — from studying the history of surgical knots, to creating a multi-media autobiography, to learning to take apart & reconstruct a Porsche — and are individualized to the skills that a student wants to develop further.
IndieStudies students also work with their coach to identify resources and potential mentors outside of the school. A mentor is an expert in the field under investigation who devotes time to working 1:1 with the student (supervised by the coach), providing both feedback and guidance. At the end of the school year, Upper School students present their work, process, and discoveries to a round table consisting of adults with domain-specific knowledge and select peers.
Lower School students ready to pursue a passion project with discipline and supervision are also invited to participate in our IndieStudies program.