The goal of the Sycamore School is to help children develop into self-directed learners and autonomous problem solvers and to facilitate each child’s quest to create meaning in a complex and evolving world.
reimagining the approach
Consider 12 year old Madison. When she was born, iPhones were in their infancy; As were Facebook, ‘big data’ analytics, 3D desktop printing, and blockchain. Her world is the result of a radical restructuring of life. In the past two decades, there have been drastic changes in the interface between technology, culture, and society. This shift has been termed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum. These dramatic advances have the potential to create new problems and untold opportunities. Technology-enabled solutions have altered the very fabric of our lives.
Madison may never need to know how to use a paper road map, but she will have to contend with the impact of artificial intelligence, smartphones, Kickstarter, real time language translation, Lyft/Uber, and Venmo. These examples barely scratch the surface of ways that Madison will live and work in her future.
Traditional education models were not created to address these momentous shifts. These systems are not sufficient to prepare today’s students like Madison for this new world order. It is imperative that we educate America’s children using new approaches with new mindsets and competencies. The assumptions of industrial-age-models of schooling are no longer sufficient for children to thrive in the 21st Century. Because information is ubiquitous and in constant flux, we have to move beyond teachers as mere transmitters of content. Our educators become curators of experiences; guides and coaches who help students explore, observe, and reflect. We have to help children develop the critical thinking skills necessary to be good citizens.
MISSION & VISION
To that end, we merge the best classroom practices with educational theory and developments in learning science. Metacognition, or “thinking about thinking,” helps students use their knowledge, skills, and abilities to embrace their curiosity in service of deep learning. Students are encouraged to play, explore, innovate, and create. They are given choice with the aim of becoming self-directed, autonomous problem solvers, who create meaning in the world around them.
At The Sycamore School, we champion an innovative and individualized approach to education. We seek to develop empathetic humans who are skilled in collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. Helping students to become academically prepared is simply one facet of a thoughtful education. In addition to developing the kinds of skills that will allow them to effectively learn and thrive in the school setting, we must have the broader focus of preparing them for a meaningful life in a complex and evolving world beyond the classroom. With these goals in mind, we consistently pursue a relevant, engaging, and challenging approach to thinking and learning, where shifting students from consumers to producers is an essential component of the educational experience.