How Our Program Works
The science behind our model of teaching kids how to learn is based on natural human development and how the brain learns best.
Our academic program is based on proven best practices in education, melding together brain science, character education and effective instruction.
Meeting the basic human, growth and development needs of each child will increase achievement and prepare the child for adult life. Thus, delivering instruction by developmental level, as opposed to chronological age, encourages continuity of relationships.
We use three primary underpinnings:
- Integrated Visual Learning: Each student enjoys a customized learning program, ensuring success. Students are asked to do developmentally appropriate tasks and given the tools to do them well.
- Choice Theory: The school culture is defined by positive relationships and placing the needs of the children before the school curriculum. In other words, we teach children, not a subject matter.
- Character Education: It does us no good to produce highly educated, gifted learners if they have no moral compass. We teach our students to "do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do."
The frontal lobe of the human brain is the last and most complex area to mature. As this region matures, children acquire motor, sensory, attention and thinking skills. Physical, emotional and cognitive behavior is a reflection of the state of brain maturation. Our developmental teaching model is aligned with the natural maturation of a child's brain.
The model of teaching we use understands that Development starts with movement, progresses to auditory/verbal and finally matures with visual/oculomotor, the most complex motor system in the body. Acquisition of competent eye movement skills is crucial to attention and cognitive development in that eye movement errors may result in learning difficulties.
Why Vision is So Important
Child development is a progression to visual dominance. To be clear, Vision and Sight are not synonymous terms. Sight refers to how well the eyes can see. Vision refers to the picture a student gets in his head while listening or thinking. Vision is primarily a frontal lobe function and serves as the basis of human executive function. Skillful, sophisticated Vision is crucial to social, behavioral, academic and character success.
Proper behavior leads to good choices, which lead to academic and arts excellence. Our curriculum emphasizes six traditional positive character traits. These traits are kindness, work ethic, responsibility, respect, optimism and cooperation. Students receive and grade themselves in each of these traits along with their academic grades. The traits are woven throughout our school protocols, lessons and culture.
Traditional education experiences teach part-to-whole and in a linear fashion. Here are the facts, and they happened in this order. Research has proven that the brain does not naturally think this way. At NCA, we give our students the whole picture so that when they get the detailed facts, they have an understanding of why they are important, or whole-to-part. We also explore connections naturally made during the learning process to have a deeper understanding of relationship as opposed to learning linearly.