On Wednesday, February 24, I visited The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA. Thanks to the gracious hosting of Nueva, my colleagues and I joined a number of other visiting educators, and we toured the Lower and Middle Schools.
The campus and the learning spaces are beautiful with numerous patios, outdoor gathering areas, green spaces, trails, and purposeful hallways and classrooms full of visible learning. The guide explained a few times that the school is geared toward talented and gifted, and the curriculum works on an above-grade-level paradigm. Most compelling to me were the 1) integrated curricula, such as humanities; 2) the design and engineering programming and space; 3) the visiting and resident scholars who were enriching instruction; and 4) the sense of joy that permeated a serious pursuit of content knowledge.
In the moments that we toured the design and engineering space and observed a session there, the fifth graders were exploring motors and gears as a sub-discovery lesson related to their bigger design challenge of developing a tree house prototype for a composite user of “1st grader” that they had begun by interviewing and observing their younger schoolmates.