Whole Child Education
A great education engages all aspects of the mind and body and addresses the multiple layers of human intelligence. In addition to providing a solid academic foundation, learning at TVCS includes artistic and musical expression, healthy social and emotional development, and physical activity and coordination. Every day, students at TVCS have opportunities to build and create, care for farm animals, interact with peers and adults, play outside, and sing and dance. This allows all students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civilly.
TVCS uses this dynamic approach to teaching and learning in which students explore real-world questions and challenges, while simultaneously developing cross curricular and interpersonal skills. The teacher acts as a facilitator, working with students to pose worthwhile questions, structure meaningful tasks, provide new and engaging resources, and encourage the use of appropriate social skills. While allowing for some degree of student voice and choice, rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st century skills (such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products and presentations. Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning.
TVCS uses restorative practices as a way to empower each and every student to make positive contributions to the school community. Restorative practices are both proactive and reactive, ranging from relationship and community building activities to effective processes for dealing with disruptive student behavior and violence. When systematically employed on a whole school basis, restorative practices allow students to take responsibility for making their own schools better. The use of restorative practices is a stark contrast to the prevailing reliance on punishment that is used in most schools today.
At TVCS, we aim to give every student and parent feedback that is accurate, perceptive, and able to reflect the unique character and growth of the individual child. We believe that assessment of learning is best achieved through close observation and deep knowledge of students on the part of teachers. Formative (informal and ongoing) assessment occurs daily at TVCS and is used to provide students with clear constructive feedback, tailor instruction to the specific needs of each student, and challenge students in appropriate ways. Report cards are completed three times per year and are primarily used to track student progress over time. Throughout a child’s tenure at TVCS, a student portfolio is kept to document their growth through their own unique representations of their learning experience. We chose this method for assessment because grades assigned to student work or performance are generally not adequate (or at best are only one-dimensional) indicators of competency and progress.