Since its foundation almost forty years ago, Open Window School has been committed to a curated curriculum that meets gifted students where they are, challenging and supporting them as they continue to learn and grow. The programs at Open Window School are designed to prepare students to be innovative problem solvers and engaged global citizens with the tools for long-term success in a 21st century world.
Our programs stem from our core values, which are:
- Teachers – We have passionate, caring teachers who ‘get’ gifted children. Knowing that our teachers are masters of their craft, we work to procure and create curricula that allow our faculty to do what they do best – teach gifted students.
- Authenticity – Gifted students require in-depth learning and investigations that deal with real life problems and issues, and it is vital that their work allows them to have real-world experiences that reflect what authentically matters to them. Our curriculum is designed so teachers can create units and projects that allow students to authentically engage in this type of work.
- Love of Learning – Gifted students crave depth and complexity and the opportunity to dive deeply into subjects of interest to them. They require time to explore passion areas, create, and problem solve. We intentionally provide time for these deeper explorations that allow for academic challenge and therefore we do not focus solely on acceleration.
- Social and Emotional Learning – Gifted students often experience asynchronous development, a mismatch between the cognitive, emotional, and physical development (e.g., a nine-year-old who has the cognitive ability of a typical twelve-year-old who also has the emotional regulation of the typical seven-year-old). Because this asynchronicity is so common in gifted children, some experts argue that it is the defining characteristic of giftedness (as opposed to potential or ability). Knowing that gifted students experience heightened awareness, anxiety, perfectionism, issues with peer relationships, stress, and concerns with identity, our curriculum is designed to integrate social and emotional learning throughout all academic areas, as well as in focused lessons where students learn, explore, and role play different scenarios they are likely to encounter. SEL at Open Window develops students’ skills in the crucial areas of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. SEL is necessary for all students, and a strong SEL program is vital for gifted students.
- Community – Learning is a social phenomenon and authentic learning occurs best in an environment that includes interactions with others who bring a diverse array of experiences and perspectives to the classroom. Our curriculum intentionally builds community as a part of the learning process, bringing to life our belief that how students learn is just as important as what students learn.
All areas of our curriculum are aligned to meet the needs of gifted students. Whether in math or technology, writing or art, PE or science, Open Window School’s curriculum is dynamic, authentic, focuses on students’ social and emotional learning and growth, and builds on our students’ inherent love of learning.
The school philosophy is applied in small classes with highly skilled teachers that share our students’ love of learning. Social and Emotional Learning is emphasized at all levels, developing our students’ skills in the crucial areas of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.