The LOFT academy is a dynamic, creative environment that offers a project-based, STEAM-inspired curriculum. By asking “Essential Questions,” students become more engaged and discover new pathways to learning.
Traditional models of education are often repetitive and do not lead to a deep, more meaningful discussion or understanding. Our academy builds on the foundations and researched backed methods of Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTigue.
One of our Lofty Goals is to enable integrated learning across a wide variety of subjects. We provide the environment, facilitators and materials to explore big-ideas and develop projects that stimulate the learner to enthusiastically engage. We look for real-world problems for the learner to explore and solve in a creative and authentic way.
We accomplish this style of learning through a practice called Project-Based Learning (PBL). What is PBL? It is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a learn-by-doing approach that results in a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. Learners have the opportunity to develop 21st Century skills such as problem solving, leadership, collaboration, written and verbal communication skills, and initiative. These skills are all well developed in project-based learning.
Through PBL, learning goals are geared towards persuasive speech, collaboration & teamwork, and critical-thinking skills. These are the types of skills our children need to be productive, empathetic, independent contributor in our society as adults.
Our compassionate and relaxed kids’ space inspires our students’ curiosity and confidence through child-navigated educational experiences and hands-on experiments.
We also use the growing library of “Essential Questions” curriculum to motivate young minds to pursue the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).
At The LOFT, we believe it is essential to kindle a love for learning that our kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
PBL is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a learn-by-doing approach resulting in deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. Learners have the opportunity to develop 21st Century skills such as problem solving, leadership, collaboration, written and verbal communication skills, and initiative.
Our goal is to stimulate sustained and lively inquiry around an essential question. What is an essential question? These are questions that are not answerable with finality in a brief sentence. Their aim is to stimulate thought, provoke inquiry, and to spark meaningful connections that can inspire students to ‘big ideas’.
At the Loft students are emboldened to follow their natural curiosities through ‘voice and choice’. In all settings we encourage a free exchange of thought from students so they may chart their own path to a particular interest.
The adults providing guidance at The LOFT are referred to as Coaches or Facilitators. These passionate people create an environment designed to stir a joy for learning stemming from the child’s innate curiosity and intrinsic motivation to gain knowledge, solve problems and understand the world around them.
Our goal as Coaches is to ask good questions, give hints but not answers, and redirect the conversation as needed to ensure the kids have control of their learning process. Coaches help scaffold the projects to assist with the learning process. The Coach helps give our kids “voice and choice” to ensure a high degree of interactive participation in the activities.
We do not teach students how to take tests or prepare them for standardized testing. Also, “grades” are not part of our program because we consider the processes of grading to deter from the vital intrinsic desire to learn and strive to do your best.
The notion of striving towards a “grade” is an external motivator that completely undermines the joy of learning we want to cultivate in our kids. Our students assess themselves and their own progress. They are respected and empowered to evaluate their own learning.