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Help Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education

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Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education

Ventura, California

Cause Description:
Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global EducationSchool Philosophy We are committed to pursuing high academic achievement through the education of the whole child. Through an integrated, student-centered curriculum, and innovative activity-based instruction, Ventura Charter School students are empowered to meet California content standards and to become effective problem solvers, critical thinkers, and self-motivated learners. Our teaching methods are informed by the research of Jean Piaget, who found that children learn by connecting new information to prior knowledge and by actively constructing their own understandings. Using his constructivist learning theory, Ventura Charter School students explore ideas and phenomena, tackle familiar and unfamiliar problems, and then reflect on and analyze their findings with one another. We offer a rich, multi- dimensional curriculum where children will be challenged and motivated in multi-age classrooms to achieve above and beyond the confines of grade level instruction. The Multiple Intelligence Theory of Harvard cognitive psychologist Howard Gardner is integrated into our instruction. Dr. Gardner defines eight separate intellectual domains: verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, body/kinesthetic, intrapersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. A core principle of this theory is the recognition that people think and learn differently and express their intelligence in a multitude of ways. At Ventura Charter School, we work to identify a student's personal strengths and skills and use that knowledge to strengthen their learning. Our teachers are experienced in the development of project- based activities that engage students. Project-based learning provides opportunities for students to pursue their own interests and questions and make decisions about how they will find answers and solve problems. A project may begin with the investigation of a real-world topic of particular interest to the children. For example, first graders fascinated by animals might begin a project to learn about different animal habitats around the world. Phase 1 of the project would involve an initial discussion, which includes the students' first-hand knowledge, and experience of the topic. Phase 2 would involve research, reading, drawing, interviews with experts, field work, and actual construction of models. The final phase of the project could be a presentation, such as a museum display, with the students acting as docents for visitors. Children who are excited about what they are learning dig more deeply, expand their interests, and retain what they have learned. They make connections and apply their learning to other problems. This approach allows them to collaborate, build social skills, solve problems, and think critically.

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