HOW ARE WE DIFFERENT?
SMALL CLASS SIZE
Small is Beautiful. We believe in Human Scale Education and this depends on a small overall school size and a small student-to-teacher ratio. We keep our class sizes to ten children and that allows the students to work closely with their teacher and with the subject matter. We are strongly committed to this.
Our curriculum and philosophy are research-based and come from both Harvard’s work in multiple intelligences and the new brain-compatible research. This includes drinking water throughout the day, using different lighting, helping the students use music to aid memory, etc. Our classes are in multi-age groupings allowing for peer tutoring and teamwork.
We believe that all gifted children need high standards and in-depth investigation of subject matter. We relish our differences and we expect children to grow at their own unique rate—not using yardsticks designed for “everyone” but not serving “anyone.” Our typical student is the gifted child who has been slightly bored at school and seems to enjoy project-based, real-world learning.
Every child is honored and unique at Kingfisher. If Johnny isn’t a great reader, but is a wonderful soccer player, then Johnny’s talents are just as valuable and useful to the community and to himself. Every child has strong and weak areas, and we work with these to help the students grow more confident in school. We believe in low student-teacher ratios, individualizing schoolwork, using each child’s strengths and weaknesses to adapt instruction for individual children’s needs.
We are family-friendly. We believe that parents know their children best, and we work with families to seek the best learning system for each child. We want to meet our families’ schedules and needs and we don’t expect parents to do fundraising beyond paying the tuition.
Our fees are structured to cover most details — with a few separate fees for certain books for literature, some art materials, special field trips, etc. We know it’s a sacrifice for many families to send their children to private school so we try hard to keep our tuition affordable for our middle-class working families.
Students will have a variety of ways to meet the objectives—writing, drawing, singing, moving around, building, etc. We expect kids to move around and to work under a looser structure and with more freedom than in a larger school. Some projects will be group-based and some will be individual work. Often we find that researching and making something to demonstrate the knowledge gained in a subject helps cement the learning and makes abstract knowledge more useful.
We believe in using the environment as an integrating context for instruction and always seek the earth-friendly considerations of any subject or activity.
Our teaching system changes over time as we add new experiences and new ideas to our repertoire—you won’t see the same bulletin boards or themes year after year. We try to “stay fresh.” We think doing “real” activities helps to cement learning—planting real seeds in real dirt is much more meaningful than reading a chapter in a science book about seeds.
We believe that the school should foster a sense of community—that parents can be comfortable at school events and that families can work together toward the betterment of their child’s education and life. We believe that life is made up of joyful moments and we like to cultivate that optimistic notion with the children.
We believe that kids learn as much from the community as in the classroom and make trips into the surrounding neighborhood part of our curriculum — eating in the restaurants, using the public library and parks, and doing service projects around the neighborhoods that surround our school.
We honor and respect various family traditions and holidays. Therefore, rather than ignoring or squelching celebrations and holidays, we encourage and offer activities for many of the holidays that are left off standard calendars. We celebrate our differences, while keeping an awareness that people tend to be more alike than different.
We believe that children should learn to be compassionate, kind citizens that are interested in working toward resolution of issues regarding social justice. We are part of the peace school movement.
The name Kingfisher was taken from Greek Mythology ~ Alcyone and Ceyx were a couple so much in love that their crazy silliness made the gods angry and and jealous. After a magically fierce storm, Ceyx drowns and Alcyone is left wandering up and down the shore of the sea crying and calling out for her beloved. Taking pity, one of the gods arranged for magical weather to occur once a season that would bring Ceyx back as a Kingfisher bird and turn Alcyone into a Kingfisher, as well. This gave them a way to be together for a short time each year. Thus the Greek word for Kingfisher is Halcyon and the Kingfisher represented times of magical weather when anything could happen.