Students develop a high level of thinking, listening, speaking, reading and writing proficiency in Mandarin, Spanish and English while also acquiring awareness of and empathy for other cultures. They complement language acquisition with their involvement in world issues, local associations and contact with a broad diversity of school guests. Mandarin is used daily to provide content without repetition or translation in English or Spanish, and all three languages together present the full curriculum content.
Students strive for academic excellence in all subject areas, meeting or exceeding American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL and age-appropriate achievement goals, including standardized tests when applicable. Due to the interdisciplinary and project-based nature of the curriculum, students are invested equally in their own learning and that of their classmates who, like the teachers themselves, are every student’s true collaborators.
Our values-based education is rooted deeply in the development of habits and character. Centner students benefit from current research in neuroscience that endorses positive mindsets and a deliberate curriculum of kindness to support classrooms where students learn good personal, nutritional, fitness, social and academic habits. The complexity of multilingual environments helps develop a high level of mental and emotional responsiveness and resilience in the face of pressure, choices, priorities and interactions.
There are many stimulating advantages to urban schools, not the least of which are real-life communities and situations that contextualize learning in authentic ways. Talk about water, sanitation, fish, food or hurricanes, for example. Such topics help give students insight and sensitivity while challenging them to make important decisions, even from very early years. Self-directed students are more givers than receivers of learning as they personalize and dive into the passions of their own learning. Learning about choices and decisions from an early age progresses logically through adolescence to the college years, making habits of the mind and conscience a necessary reflex for children in a changing world.
Our choice of building and classroom design supports a curriculum of broad thinking, working in groups, and solving problems in and out of the walls of a class. While immersed in English, Spanish or Chinese, our collaborations lead seamlessly to interdisciplinary academic experiences across all subjects. The development of social-emotional learning teaches kids to value and depend on the important relationships within a class and as a springboard to fun outside collaborations.
Designed for play, social interactions and inquiry into the world around them, our school building and every space within it are key platforms for child development. The curriculum is intentional in creating hands-on, multisensory experiences, using open-ended materials that stimulate both play and learning. Physical play develops fine and gross motor skills and growth of all kinds. Too often schools do not have or make time for play, but we schedule it and provide all the fun interactions that grow happy, healthy, engaged learners, indoors and out!
Our children attend school each weekday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with optional early drop-off and late pickup times to accommodate family schedules and help avoid congestion. All our curricula (academic, character, language immersion, cultural awareness and personal health) play a part in making these hours together valuable and productive, and many elements of the curriculum continue into after-school programming. The school is designed as an open space where children can move about easily depending on their interests, programs, instincts and time of the day.
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