Since its founding in 2009, Feynman School has been dedicated to nurturing and enriching the lives of gifted learners and their families. We collaborate with some of the world’s foremost authorities on gifted education to develop our programming. Our program — a blend of science, math, language arts, foreign language, social studies, and visual and performing arts — incorporates the latest research on effective curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development for the gifted learner. We draw from a variety of pedagogical approaches that have proven successful with academically advanced students. With extensive specialized training, our teaching teams stimulate high-ability learners to question and create in a fun, dynamic setting. Our approach is based on these core beliefs.
Intellectual curiosity should be encouraged and supported
Ceilings should never be placed on a student’s learning. Our low student-teacher ratio and specially trained teachers allow us to meet every student where they are in their learning trajectory and take them to the next step. By learning alongside their intellectual peers, students are free to share their gifts in a supportive, collaborative, and challenging environment which is targeted to the specific needs of gifted students.
Children are incredibly capable
Childrens’ resourcefulness and capabilities are often underestimated. We know that when children are given opportunities to stretch themselves, engage with complexities, and develop their talents that they will rise to the occasion. We emphasize metacognition, thinking about thinking, in all aspects of the day as we empower our students to advocate for themselves and determine how they as individuals learn best.
Learning should be experiential, engaging, and fun
Children are naturally curious and eager to learn about their world. We capitalize on this natural curiosity by using hands-on multi-sensory lessons that excite students’ interests and engage their minds. Children learn best through actively doing rather than passively listening. By tapping into our students’ questions and creative processes, the knowledge they gain sticks with them and is its own reward.
All learners deserve respect
Our teachers respect their students by actively listening to their ideas, incorporating their interests into the curriculum, valuing their efforts, and stretching them to reach both their academic and social-emotional potential. People of all ages can and do learn from each other and we respect everyone’s knowledge, regardless of their age. We do not talk down to our students; they are an active partner in the learning process.
Deep understanding is more important than surface knowledge
We don’t want students to simply gain content, we want them to build deeply rooted foundations that will support all of their future endeavors. As Richard Feynman said, “There is a difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something”. Talented learners may have exposure to topics without the necessary depth and complexity to truly understand what they mean. Our students understand the reason behind facts so they are able to gain mastery over a subject, make connections, see the larger picture, and innovate.
Creativity is a necessary component of education
Creativity infiltrates all aspects of life and is the basis for problem-solving skills. We foster the creative process in every subject, provide direct instruction in divergent thinking, and place emphasis on our high-quality visual and performing arts program. Creativity is not restricted to students; we encourage creativity from our teachers and give them room to allow their professional experience to shine.
Social and emotional well-being is as important as intellectual development
Intellectual, social, and emotional learning are inextricably linked. Social and emotional learning is an essential part of the Feynman School experience as we foster our students’ character development, sense of justice, and civic responsibility. Our teachers are trained to work with the unique social and emotional needs of gifted children.
Challenges are an exciting opportunity to grow
When a person becomes comfortable being good at something, it can be scary to try new things. We challenge our students to get out of their comfort zones, take risks, be open to new opportunities, and recognize that with effort and support they are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. As we often say, “It is OK to not know, it is not OK to not try.”
Feynman School enrolls children from Preschool through Grade 8. As our school expands, we will introduce developmentally appropriate curricula for gifted learners through high school. This rich, nurturing academic background will prepare Feynman School graduates to take their place as tomorrow’s leaders.
Please visit the links for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle School Curricula to learn more. As we generally do not rely on “canned” curriculum, please contact Dr. Penny Walter, Director of Enrollment at 301-770-4370 for more in-depth curriculum information.