Meeting the needs of our students impels us to address a variety of learning styles and individual differences. We accomplish this objective by carefully analyzing the academic, social, and artistic potentialities of each student through interviews, initial testing, and continuous observation and evaluation after enrollment. The comprehensive growth of every child demands enriching experiences in every area of development – intellectual, personal, emotional, cognitive and physical. We balance their successes in the classroom with different types of experiences in academics, art, music, drama and physical education; areas that open up a wide array of further knowledge and growth.
Teaching in a Different Way
In addition to our strong emphasis upon individualization, our non-traditional approach maximizes the individual child’s experience by having the children change classes at the end of each instructional period. Through flexible scheduling the child is afforded an extremely low student/teacher ratio in areas of greatest need, and experiences larger classes in areas where group work is important. This allows for exposure to a variety of teaching styles, different educational settings and a variety of techniques that build confidence for the ultimate return to the general/traditional classroom. Each class represents a new and different opportunity to experience success throughout the day. This policy is maintained uniformly from the lower elementary grades through the high school years.
Through Mastery Learning, students are expected to demonstrate 85% mastery level of skills and knowledge in order to progress through each increasingly difficult and sequential skill. Students who do not attain 85% mastery are provided with additional instruction specifically designed to correct areas of misunderstanding. During the re-teaching process, the strategies utilized vary from the original instructional methods to ensure greater retention. Through this methodology, critical concepts are mastered before new content is introduced. If mastery is not demonstrated on a test, a supplemental assessment is provided to allow the students a new opportunity to achieve mastery. We provide the conditions and activities through which our students are challenged to learn and to grow.
Our belief in the necessity of social and emotional growth inspires our character-building program. Integrity, honesty, friendship, loyalty and caring for others are among the many lifeskills that are constantly being reinforced. Children want and seek praise, but experiences often have been just the opposite. The program emphasizes those positive attributes that bring children personal satisfaction. Knowing that life is truly the end result of the many choices we make, we help children use critical thinking to make sound choices and give them the tools with which to solve their problems with tolerance and compassion. We give careful attention to the child’s interaction with other children and his or her peers.
While the methodology at Killian Oaks is based on the latest educational concepts, the structure of the curriculum is essentially traditional. Pedagogically, we draw from the Core Knowledge Curriculum and the Sunshine State Standards for content. While in the early grades our major concentration is the development of skills, as the child progresses and matures increasing emphasis is put upon content and the traditional subjects.
Our educational method stresses individualized instruction and mastery. It is an eclectic approach in that all available resources are utilized; it is humanistic in that success is the goal. We attempt to change the disposition of children from “failure avoidance” to one of “success-striving,” thus producing a change in both attitude and in lifestyle. We give careful attention to the child’s response to educational accommodations and strategies while modifying the approach according to the student’s response to educational interventions.