A Culture for Learning
Home Base Learning Center strives to create a culture for learning by explicitly and implicitly promoting student independence and growth, open-ended inquiry, team spirit, and high expectations. It is a comprehensive program built on the Scouting curricula and infused with common core and next generation science standards.
Home Base engages three central tenets to achieve this. First, relationships between young people and non-parental adults are key to positive development. Second, young people need to acquire skills that are meaningful and empower them to navigate the world more successfully. Third, young people need opportunities to assume leadership roles in meaningful ways.
To achieve the above, teachers are guided by the following ideas and philosophies of teaching and learning:
- Project-Based Learning – Students gain knowledge and skills by working for extended periods of time to investigate and respond to authentic, engaging, and complex questions, problems, and/or challenges. The projects are the foundation for the authentic study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum.
- Emerging Understandings – Children’s understanding will emerge, based on individual entry points into the topic at hand; as well as ways in which individual children, groups of children, and teacher guidance and facilitation work to construct their understandings.
- Constructivist Approach to Teaching and Learning – Teachers and children work together to construct new understandings. Both are stakeholders in the process with the teacher often acting as facilitator of materials, experiences, culture/environment, etc.
- Scouting – Home Base Learning Center is based on the ideals and curricula of the BSA. Each member will be registered as a Scout and will be required to adhere to the values and expectations in the Scout Oath and Law. Although students will be actively participating in Scouting activities, they may choose if they would like to be recognized publicly for their achievements or not.
Place-Based Learning | Outdoor Experience | Nature as Teacher
Attention to, appreciation of, and understanding of one’s place in the natural world is the culture in which the curriculum sits. The outdoors will serve as the classroom whenever possible; utilizing local landscapes, opportunities, and experiences, specific to those available at New England Base Camp. Children will engage in projects and curricula in the outdoors, where they will learn and practice the skills of self-regulation, problem solving, cooperation, and negotiation. Children’s whole selves—their social, emotional, physical, and intellectual lives—will be nurtured in the context of forming strong connections to the natural world and to their human community. Through this practice, we also aim to re-establish a healthy balance of indoor and outdoor time in young people’s lives, as well as foster a sense of interdependence and care for the earth.
A Day in the Life
In keeping with the belief that creating a space of physical, social, and emotional safety is of utmost importance, days at Home Base Learning Center will follow a predictable structure with established routines. Within these structures, there will be a fluid use of time and many opportunities for choice. However, children are expected to learn with their teachers, who have the responsibility of meeting the mission and goals of the school.
Sample Daily Schedule
|8:30-9:00||Arrival: Families will drop off their children by Hayden Lodge. Children and teachers will spend this time engaged in choice activities as they ease their way into the day|
|9:00-9:15||Walk to Cabin & Daily Housekeeping: Take care of belongings and get ready to start morning meeting.|
|9:15-9:45||Morning Meeting: Each day will begin with the whole group gathering together. This will be an opportunity to welcome everyone to the space and establish community for the day. Additionally, this will be used as time to review and or create learning goals for the day|
|9:45-11:30||Workshops: During this time, children and teachers will engage in activities related to the theme. This will include teacher guided, student selected, indoor and outdoor time, 1-1 time with teachers, small group work, etc.|
|11:30-12:00||Whole Group Read Aloud & Quiet Reflection|
|12:00-1:00||Lunch and Open Choice Time: Teachers and children will gather together for a meal with established routines and rituals that invite a mindful approach to mealtime. A minimum of 20 minutes will be devoted to sitting altogether, eating in community.|
|1:00-2:30||Workshops: During this time, children and teachers will engage in activities related to the theme. This will include teacher-guided, student-selected, indoor and outdoor time, 1-1 time with teachers, small group work, etc.|
|2:30-3:00||Clean Up & Closing Circle: The space will be cleaned and organized. Students and staff will close the day in a brief, reflective circle.|
|3:00-3:30||Departure: Students will be picked up at Hayden Lodge.|
Guiding Principles to Support a Group Learning Environment
Willingness to Engage in Activities and Lessons – Home Base learners should come prepared with a willingness to engage in activities and accept redirection when appropriate.
Ability to Attend – Home Base Learning Center supports development in the areas of concentration and focus; however, coming to Home Base with basic listening abilities is essential for individual and group learning.
Respect – Love and respect for all is at the forefront of what we do at Home Base Learning Center. We strive to be gentle with one another in words and actions; in doing so we provide space for ourselves and others to take risks in our learning.
We commit to doing our best by engaging fully, participating and having fun.
We commit to strengthening ourselves, each other, and the community.
We commit to listening fully with our ears, eyes, heart, and whole self.
Parent Communication and Assessment
We believe open communication is vital to a healthy community. If parents have a concern or suggestion, please bring it to the teachers right away. As we have limited time at pick-up/dropoff, please schedule a time to speak with one of the teachers if you would like to have a longer conversation about your child. More formal conferences will take place in face-face meetings in December and June. A phone check-in will occur in April.
The Learning Process and Assessment
At Home Base Learning Center our focus is nurturing your child’s genius. All young children are natural learners, constantly trying to figure things out and achieve the next level of mastery. We help keep that spark alive by cultivating a love of learning and guiding your child’s innate ability to learn. If they have yet to learn or master a skill, this is an opportunity rather than a deficiency. Life is a learning journey, not a race; learners are not ‘ahead’ or ‘behind.’
We are committed to keeping your child at their learning edge. That includes both academic and emotional intelligence. Crucial to the concept of being a lifelong learner, is a healthy relationship with personal challenges. We challenge everyone at Home Base Learning Center to embrace increasing levels of depth and complexity in their learning adventures.
To that end, Home Base Learning Center views assessment as a tool for understanding children across all domains. Assessment is ongoing and largely formative as opposed to summative. It serves as a means for teachers to meet children where they are and support their individual growth. Such assessment will largely be in the form of teacher observation and anecdotal notes to be shared with families and children.
Our teachers will be keen observers of human development and the natural world, assessing and facilitating children’s creative interactions based on interest, risk, opportunities, and offerings that may arise from the children, the environment, or the families.