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Teaching for Understanding

Teaching for understanding is at the core of our teaching philosophy for all ages and all subjects. Understanding kindles a student’s enthusiasm and inner light. We believe that the most effective teaching strategy involves students understanding why something works, not just how to do something. A child's love of learning is driven by their curiosity and confidence in their own ability. Covering material without imparting understanding dulls the mind.

Many schools simply teach algorithms and formulas, and then move on to the next topic, often regardless of the fact that some students may not be ready to move on. While this approach may work for some, it leaves many children feeling confused, disengaged and dragged through academic material. Most schools do not offer gifted students a chance to move up, especially if they are above grade level in only one or two subjects. These students are often bored in class, as they are never challenged or given the opportunity to stretch their skills in new directions. This dulls a childs love of learning just as surely as constant confusion does. At Chrysalis, we believe in sparking creativity, in helping students make the connections that creates true understanding of the academic material. We find that this is a much more powerful way to teach.

We create abundant opportunities for our students to experience understanding. We keep our classes small. This way, our teachers can be responsive to teachable moments and can work one-on-one with students to ensure that each student is fully absorbed in the material. Classes are filled with group discussions and engaging activities that allow for deeper exploration of the subject matter. For science and social studies classes, students are in small classes with their peers. However, for math and language arts, Chrysalis places students based on their individual instructional level, rather than grade level, so that each student learns at his or her own pace, experiencing understanding, rather than boredom or failure.

Let's say, for example, that your child excels at language arts, but has struggled for years with math. In language arts, your child would be moved up to a class that matched his or her ability level, allowing them to reach for new heights. If your child is working at a level higher than eigth grade, we work with you to help design a unique program that would allow your student to progress. Your child would be placed into a math class with other students who were at the same point. This individualized combination of support and unhindered growth fosters understanding, builds confidence and allows your child to discover that learning can be fun.