Today I stopped by a former workplace and visited with two of my favorite colleagues. They asked about the school, and since I love to talk about JRA, I launched into an enthusiasm-filled spiel. One listened and then said, “I see. What you offer is an artisanal education.”
The more I think about this adjective, the more I like it. Wikipedia tells us that “An artisan is a person engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.” This stands in contrast to the mechanization of goods produced by a factory-type setting.
Most private schools interview the children who apply to see if they fit their program. We listen to see if our program can fit the child. Our belief is that children want to learn and they want to be successful. If they are not, they will generally show us that by their behavior: acting out, shutting down, withdrawing, being defiant. It is up to us to determine what the problem is and how we can get past that. Our teachers delight in ferreting out where the learning blocks are, what each child’s gifts are, and what will help each child be successful. The teachers know to check their egos at the door; this is not about what makes them look good but what makes each child soar.
After all, each child is a unique work of art and deserves to be treated as such. A mechanical one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t pass muster. If a child needs assignments broken down into smaller parts, that’s what needs to happen. If he needs a great deal of movement, we offer running at the Eno, active games, swings and a trampoline in the hall that can be accessed at any time. If a child needs one-on-one reading tutoring, five of our staff have the training to do that. If she is advanced in math, let’s put her in a book that challenges her. Our outdoor classroom may be just what the squirmy kid needs.
After two years we can say that this method, which just seems like common sense to us, works. On their end-of-year tests (the untimed, write-in-the-book, no-stress ones) the kids showed a great deal of progress. Many of their behavior problems have settled down and their social skills have improved. Some of our kids, for the first time ever, report that they like school.
This is what we can do for your child. We have a couple of slots left, grades K through 10. Give us a call.