When it comes to the education of our children there is no such thing as good enough. Prospective parents who visit IDS often arrive with a list of concerns about their children’s prior educational experiences that have caused both exasperation and frustration. Tales of boredom, teaching to the test and unwanted anonymity abound, and unfortunately, education becomes something to be endured, rather than an enriching journey to be embraced, celebrated and enjoyed.
As a result, visiting parents often ask us to describe how IDS is different and to be quite honest; we sometimes don’t know where to begin. We could start by speaking of our beautiful 33-acre campus and winding nature trails, challenging academics, and supportive learning environment. Or…we could go into great detail about our bold, inquisitive students, our Centers of Excellence, and our superb secondary school placement. However, despite all of these options, we generally start with something much more basic: the smiles. Independent Day School students absolutely love coming to school, and the evidence stretches from ear-to-ear and extends throughout every grade.
Of all the obstacles that hinder children from succeeding in school – and later in life – fear may be the greatest of all. Fear of failing. Fear of success. Fear of trying something new. Fear of being left out. Fear of standing out. Fear of being yourself. So at The Independent Day School, we work hard to remove fear from the equation by creating Fearless Learners.
Fearless learners are intellectually curious students who are fascinated by the world around them and intrigued by endless possibilities. Undeterred by the fear of failure and indeed strengthened through their own mistakes, fearless learners boldly enter the marketplace of ideas with an eye on achieving continuous self-improvement and personal success.
Fearless learners confidently speak in front of All-School Meetings, proudly display their first watercolor paintings, boldly perform on stage for the first time, eagerly volunteer to scale the climbing wall, bravely draft their first poem and empathetically extend a hand to people in need. The tallest and the smallest IDS students are at ease when facing challenges. They push themselves to be better students, fitter athletes, more accomplished performers and kinder friends.
The IDS Fearless Learning experience varies depending on the student and the different age groups. However, one unifying principle remains consistent, we keep our students at the center of their education, one fearless step at a time.
The Centers of Excellence
Critical thinking, writing, analytical thought and argument formation have long been central facets of a premium independent school education. In essence, in addition to exposing students to a wide range of ideas, viewpoints and content, a large part of what independent schools traditionally sought to achieve, was to teach students how to think and communicate effectively.
These fundamental skills are not only critical, but are also timeless in their functional value. That said, the ever changing and highly competitive landscape of the 21st century requires far more of our students than ever before.
With this new reality in mind, The Independent Day School developed The Centers of Excellence program; Design Thinking, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, Global Citizenship and Cultural Studies, Environmental Literacy, and the Creative Arts. Each individual center represents an important part of a broader strategy designed to ensure that our graduates have the skills necessary to both effectively compete and joyfully succeed in a world rich with both challenge and opportunity.
Social and Emotional Learning: An Education of the Whole Person
An IDS education goes well beyond challenging academics, the arts and athletics. The cultivation of character and integrity is a fundamental component our program as we prepare our students to succeed beyond IDS. Our social-emotional curriculum encourages responsibility and develops positive social skills by focusing on cooperation, empathy, communication and self-awareness. Students develop independence and grow in their ability to make good decisions. The social-emotional program starts in the earliest grades with an embedded program called Responsive Classroom and culminates with Second Step in the middle school. Is there an IDS-type of student? Absolutely! They are the ones holding the door, offering to pitch in, reaching out to new students and looking after their younger sibling. In short, they are all-around nice kids who make a difference in their world every day and who will ultimately have an enormous positive impact on the larger world.