Launched this school year, the Rosarian Academy is piloting an enrichment program, the Explore Project, in kindergarten and first grades. Under the leadership of Laura Jane Linck, an educator with credentials that span developmental psychology, reading disorders, cognition and creative thinking, students participate in project-based learning and design thinking experiences that teach them how to learn.
Working collaboratively with the classroom teachers and through challenging discussions and experiments, Linck expands upon the academy’s solid core knowledge units being studied in the classroom and teaches the children how to think critically and creatively, drawing on their interests, prior knowledge and experiences. “We need to move our students to the point where they are capable of internalizing what they are learning. When they internalize their learning, it becomes a part of them and they own it for life,” she said.
During this early part of the school year, the focus is on enhancing the students’ ability to learn how to learn. Linck is working to develop growth mindsets in each of her students, along with dispelling many of the neuromyths that they come to school believing.
Linck believes girls and boys are equally strong in every subject in which they work hard. They are not wired for math or language, but have the potential to develop them equally well with dedication and persistence. “We strongly know and support that every student can learn and learn well,” she said. “Smart is not a gift, it is a behavior. We are teaching our very young students to learn and internalize smart learning behaviors so that they are capable of establishing lifelong productive habits of mind.”
According to Linck, learning how to think critically and creatively is a lifelong endeavor. “It takes time, practice and a culture where mistakes and risk taking are the norm,” she said. “At the Rosarian Academy, we are investing in the future of education by creating a culture of thinking in the early grades that cultivates dispositions of imagination, creativity and innovation.”
For more information, visit www.rosarian.org.
ABOVE: Rosarian first graders Hannah Cook and Nicholas Lombardi work collaboratively on a Design Thinking Challenge.