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.
At the WSU Charter Academy, we use a Brain-Based, whole-child curriculum grounded in contemporary educational theory and research. The curriculum is organized by study topics or “big idea” questions children are interested in exploring, which often focus on science, social studies and creative arts.
Guided discovery and exploratory play experiences are planned to help children answer those questions and support the development of learning skills such as patterning, attention regulation and memory.
Our curriculum is based on 12 principles that help explain our approach to teaching your children based on the book 12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action.
12 Brain/Mind Natural Learning Principles
All learning is physiological.
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.