Because children are natural-born scientists from the minute they enter the world, we have made early science education and, in particular, scientific literacy the cornerstone of Feynman School’s academic program. We capitalize on this natural curiosity by guiding and encouraging gifted children to work collaboratively and creatively to solve problems, make and extend meaning, develop and test new ideas, and learn about the world around them. Through hands-on exploration and experiential learning, students begin to develop scientific literacy while building their observation skills, vocabulary, and scientific identity. Students at Feynman School are not scientists in training. They are scientists because the do the work of scientists every day.
Digital literacy is essential in our digital world and it begins in early childhood. Children, however, should not spend their days behind a screen which is why we have found ways to lay the groundwork for future technological mastery without extensive screen-time. Through participation in Hour of Code in Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten, students engage in hands-on activities which require logical thought and set the stage for developing future coding abilities without using a computer. In Pre-Kindergarten, students learn the basics of computer use through short interactions with their classroom computer.
Our mission is to help our students move beyond knowledge acquisition to become knowledge producers and this process begins even in early childhood. Children are full of ideas and we foster their creativity by encouraging them to turn their ideas into action. Students in the Early Childhood program are exposed to the basics of the Engineering Design Process, with particular emphasis on creation and revision. As they learn about a variety of topics, we encourage critical thinking by asking them not only to consider how something can be improved but how they can share their newfound knowledge and ideas with others.
Starting as early as Preschool and continuing into Pre-Kindergarten, students are actively engaged in mathematical thinking and reasoning during direct small group instruction as well as during their ever important free play.
We nurture children’s natural mathematical interests and abilities. Our young mathematicians can be seen regularly engaging in play that involves classification, magnitude, enumeration, patterns, and shapes, as well as spatial relations. Teachers capitalize on these moments through higher-order questioning and promote conversations between students that encourage children to talk with each other to problem solve and share ideas and strategies. During these conversations, teachers use correct mathematical vocabulary so that students become comfortable early on engaging in mathematical discussion and thinking.
By using children’s self-directed play experiences as teachable math moments in addition to structured math instruction, children develop a positive attitude about math and a deep understanding about how math relates to their world that they will carry with them through life.