Since being founded, Pacific Northern Academy has embraced the progressive education model first developed by Educator John Dewey.
This structure is centered because children thrive in experiential and interactive learning environments, rather than sitting stagnant memorizing information. As such, we believe students should authentically demonstrate what they have learned independently and collaboratively through research projects, writing, conversing, presentations, performances, as well as ongoing teacher assessments.
This learning approach is how we encourage our students to be lifelong learners of vision, courage, and integrity. It is also how we best equip them with the tools needed to become curious creators, thoughtful inventors, empathetic leaders, and happy, healthy, confident adults that thrive and contribute in our ever-changing world.
INQUIRY AND PROJECT BASED LEARNING
Utilizing Project Based Learning (PBL), inquiry-based curriculum, and 21st Century skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration, we provide our students with the wherewithal to tackle anything and everything they choose to pursue.
This education model teaches our students how to be independent thinkers with a global perspective, which helps them engage with real-world issues by asking purposeful questions (inquiry) to design their own solutions. As such, this experiential and interactive approach sparks joy in learning that is supportive of each student’s strengths, contributions, and passions.
Specifically, PBL units encourage students to become active participants in their education to become masters of their research, develop a diverse skill set, and build a growth mindset. More importantly, PBL projects lead to authentic, enjoyable learning experiences that stick with kids long after they’re over, helping our students realize their power as independent thinkers.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING
At Pacific Northern Academy, we foster a school culture centered on inclusivity, where students’ social and emotional needs are taken into account daily.
When these needs are met, students blossom, take intellectual risks, and display optimism and joy at school. From our beginners to our middle schoolers, PNA students develop a well-balanced approach to life and enjoyment in being lifelong learners.
As a small, tight-knit community, we take the time to get to know students to personalize their educational experience to meet their needs best.
To do this, we put much value in relationships by getting to know who students are as people. When teaching, we consider each student’s unique personality, learning style, strengths, and areas of challenge–this helps us find ways for each child to feel understood, challenged, and successful.
Pacific Northern Academy focuses on educating the entire student. Physical Education contributes to that goal by developing an understanding and appreciation of movement that will last far beyond the student’s years at PNA.
Students have the opportunity to become exceptional learners in the area of movement through classroom activities that engage their bodies, minds, and spirits. As independent thinkers, they learn movement concepts while experiencing the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and officiating.
At Pacific Northern Academy, we know a child’s mind is open and active, and that’s precisely why we integrate Performing Arts, Studio Arts, Physical Education, and Spanish into the core curriculum. We want children to fully access their talent and creativity by having opportunities to engage in everything from the arts to athletics.
In Studio Art at Pacific Northern Academy, students learn that the process, rather than the product of art, is most important. There is no right or wrong way in art, but what works and is compelling; the act of creating the pieces themselves is the process that brings students to a real awareness of his or her work. The art process involves learning and using concepts, techniques, practicing our skills, and studying the masters. The Studio Arts program uses a multidisciplinary, multiple intelligences approach for classroom work.
PNA students are immersed in Spanish language and culture during their Spanish classes, which, depending on the grade level, meet from two to four times weekly. In Preschool and Kindergarten, children learn through the use of songs, games, and kinesthetic activities based on the methods by which young children learn their first language. Each session involves a fun, immersive experience in which students participate and play while using Spanish. The students gain comfort in using their voices in the target language and have fun using PNA’s wealth of Spanish language and cultural resources.