by ZEENA GREGG | photo by Spark Photography

With more families exploring the options of homeschooling, Danielle Strachman and Christine Kuglen decided to apply the successful elements of homeschooling to an institutional learning environment. In 2006, they started developing a curriculum that allows students to follow their individual interests and leverage their unique skills and talents to maximize learning, and in 2008 opened the doors to Innovations Academy.

Innovations Academy is not a traditional school in many ways. There are no textbooks, no homework and no tests. Rather, they emphasize the value of learning and utilize self-assessment tools. “Our program has a dual focus: it is designed to develop social and communications skills through a solid social emotional program integrated within a project based hands on approach to learning,” said Kuglen. “Project based learning accesses the natural learning process and creates an engaging sophisticated academic environment for students much like creative adult work places thereby better preparing children for the real world.”

[quote]“Learning is connected to what students already know and to what they want to learn.”
~ Kuglen Christine[/quote]

Another important element is its social emotional program, which is interwoven throughout the curriculum. “Self-discipline is doing what is right even when no one is coercing, bribing or threatening,” said Kuglen. “Other components teach the skills of effective communication and active collaboration among all community members.” Also stressed are problem solving, critical thinking and reflection.

Interactions, exploration and reflecting are all key elements of the Constructivist learning theory. “Constructivism is based on the belief that learning is a search for meaning and not simply a memorization of facts. Individuals construct their own meanings of our world through observation, interaction and reflection.” said Kuglen. “Learning is connected to what students already know and to what they want to learn.”

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The Academy is a free public Charter school and accepts students ages 5 through 13 in grades K-8.  For more information visit the Innovations Academy website at www.innovationsacademy.org.