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Parents often share with us that their children have lost that love of learning, remarking that their child “lost that spark in their eye.” At The Briarwood School, we rekindle the flame. With the Wilson Language Programs as a foundation, teachers utilize evidence-based programs as a part of the curriculum while tailoring lessons according to the unique learning profiles of students. The outcome is a powerful learning experience that builds on students’ strengths while developing critical skills needed to become independent and confident learners.
While our approach to teaching and learning is both diagnostic and prescriptive, our Lower School recognizes childhood as an important stage in a student’s social and emotional journey. We embrace fun and play, with time designated daily for physical education and recess, and a weekly rotation of specials class including music, art, and makerspace. Students engage in hands-on activities that develop a growth mindset, widen the scope of their worldview, and encourage a curiosity about the world around them.
The Briarwood Way is to be with our students. One way we do that in Lower School is through our specials class, Teaching Opportunities in Pragmatic Skills (TOPS). TOPS uniquely offers direct instruction and opportunities for students to practice developmentally appropriate social and pragmatic skills. To keep those skills front and center, Lower School faculty reinforce positive character traits by giving students “Right Choice” awards based upon the growth mindset and grit research by Dr. Carol S. Dweck and Dr. Angela Duckworth. Each month, a specific character trait is directly taught in TOPS class, and teachers award individuals when students demonstrate one of the character traits. Our goal, as said by our founder, Yvonne Tuttle Streit, is to “catch them doing something good!” Students are also taught to actively seek these qualities in one another through our KCC Club. The Kindness, Compassion, & Courage Club fosters a caring community and encourages students to look for ways to be kind towards one another, as well as appreciate acts of kindness done by others.
Our character education program explicitly teaches positive character attributes such as a growth-mindset and curiosity. We reinforce these traits by offering several opportunities to recognize and celebrate student successes, including “KCC Hearts” and “Right Choice Awards.”
Character-building language is embedded into daily instruction and discussions as part of our Briarwood Expectations Guide. Through positive behavior support, students have opportunities to:
Briarwood’s daily program includes: