In her 1938 treatise on progressive education
at The Avery Coonley School, Finding Wisdom, Gertrude Hartman wrote, "To
grow, children need the freedom to move, to investigate, to try out their ideas
and interests. They need real experience; they need periods of activity and
quiet times of relaxation and repose.”
Our foundational approach has evolved to
make The Avery Coonley School a natural fit for gifted learners. Because we
know that gifted children learn differently, ACS teachers structure their classrooms,
lessons, and expectations in the best interest of gifted learners:
- ACS classes consist of
like-minded peer groups where academic motivation is the norm. We are a place
where it is "cool to be smart.”
- Perfectionism is a characteristic
of many gifted children. Risk-taking is encouraged and acknowledged, and
mistakes are viewed as invitations to learn.
- Flexibility within the classroom
(both physical setting and climate) creates a relaxed yet challenging
environment that encourages responsibility and autonomy.
- A multitude of opportunities
exist for hands-on, less-structured learning experiences – projects,
simulations, dramatizations, fairs.
- Fewer rote-learning activities
and repetitions are required for subject mastery. Students are allowed to
quickly explore higher levels of thinking. Boredom is not an option.
- Opportunities for independent and
group work encourage students to engage their own interests and benefit from
- Emphasis on both divergent and
convergent thinking supports creative problem solving.