At the WSU Charter Academy children experience a Brain-Based whole child curriculum that is grounded in contemporary educational theory and research.
Our Brain-Based curriculum is developed from: embed links below in italics text
- 12 Brain/Mind Natural Learning Principles (Caine & Caine; http://www.nlri.org/
- Developmentally Appropriate Practice (https://www.naeyc.org/resources/topics/dap)
- Utah State Board of Education core standards (http://www.uen.org/core/)
How does the Brain-Based curriculum work?
Curriculum is organized by study topics or “big idea” questions children are interested in exploring. Study topics often focus on science, social studies, and creative arts topics.
Photos of study topic experiences:
Guided discovery and exploratory play experiences are planned to help children answer the questions and support the development of learning skills such as patterning, attention regulation, and memory.
Daily experiences that focus on fundamental math and literacy skills are embedded within the study topics.
Our teacher also has expertise in, and implements the following evidence curriculum for specific content areas:
- Reading First
- Singapore Math
- Second Step social emotional curriclum - Second Step
- Reading Level 1 Endorsement
12 Brain/Mind Natural Learning Principles
All learning is physiological.
Body and mind are integrated. Young children learn best through sensory and physically active experiences. Our curriculum engages children in a variety of sensory and physical active experiences.
The brain/mind is social.
Being part of a community is an essential human need. Our curriculum engages children in social interactions and relationships that honor unique individual strengths, family, and culture.
The search for meaning is innate.
From infancy to adulthood humans have a need to “make sense” of experiences. Our curriculum engages children in study topics that honor children’s interests, purposes, and ideas.
The search for meaning occurs through patterning.
Children make sense of experience by finding and creating patterns and connections. Our curriculum engages children in creating patterns, and connecting those new patterns to what they already know and understand.
Emotions are critical to patterning.
Emotions are part of every thought, decision, and response. Our curriculum engages children’s emotions and decision-making capabilities
The brain/mind processes parts and wholes simultaneously.
Making sense of experience requires both a big picture and paying attention to the individual parts. Our curriculum engages children in learning Utah core standard concepts and skills through applied study topics, real life events, meaningful stories, questions asked by children, and projects that children create.
Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception.
Attention is guided by interest, novelty, emotion, and meaning. Our curriculum deepens children attention regulation capabilities through learning experiences about meaningful study topics, conversations, and events.
Learning is both conscious and unconscious.
Learning requires both consciously attending to a problem and creative insights. Our curriculum engages children in a variety of learning experiences that provide opportunities to “think about their thinking”, and reflect on personal learning strengths.
There are at least two approaches to memory.
Dynamic memory is about organizing ongoing life experience, while rote memory is focused on memorization of facts. Our curriculum engages children in everyday learning experiences that create multiple ways to remember.
Learning is developmental.
There are predictable stages in human and brain development, but the rate at which individual children move through these stages varies widely. Our curriculum is tailored to support children’s individual differences in maturation, development, and prior learning.
Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat associated with helplessness and/or fatigue.
The optimal state of mind for learning is relaxed alertness, with high challenge. Our teachers engage children in a supportive, empowering, and intrinsically challenging learning experiences
Each brain is uniquely organized.
Each child has similarities with other human beings, and unique life experiences that include social, ethnic, gender, and economic differences. Our teachers tailor learning experiences to strengthen the unique talents, abilities, and capacities of each individual child.