Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the word “Intentional” as “done on purpose; deliberate” with synonyms including such words as “conscious, studied, meant, willful, purposive, and the like.”
I saw this descriptive come to life the first time I visited an Acton Academy and have seen it time and time again at every Acton academy studio I have ever stepped foot in. The guides are intentional about the learning atmospheres in their studios. The eagles (students) are intentional about their studies, their goals, and their relationships with others. In fact the entire studio is filled with intention and not a bit of it is anything less than engaging, fun,and equipping. Why is this important? Moreso, why is this important for gifted, talented, and creative kids?
Let’s stat with engaging. If a gifted child is engaged, then we have his/her full attention. An engaged learner is one who is learning for the sake of learning, not just learning so he/she can pass a test. The engaged learner is acquiring a depth of knowledge (mastery) that cannot be as easily acquired by being forced to study this subject and this time for this long to pass this test. An engaged learner’s mind is in a state of full attention, thus the child is able to process much more information at a faster and more elaborated rate than a child who’s attention is divided. An engaged learner is having fun. At Acton Academy Salado, our eagles are engaged individually by working on their personal academic goals each week and as a community through afternoon quests and challenges.
Fun. If there’s anything I learned from teaching college for 15 years and watching my mother teach 4th graders for over 20 years is that the best learning occurs when the students are having fun. Fun doesn’t have to be silly. Fun can be quite challenging and even competitive. When the eagles are having fun, they are more open to taking risks and discovering new outcomes. They are not just building their intellect, but they are building friendships as well. In the sense of competitiveness, the eagles are learning how to win fairly and lose with integrity. When the studio is fun, the eagles want to be there, they want to learn, they want to discover, and they learn to soar as they become more and more intentional with their personal academic goals and accomplishing them.
Equipping. This is by far the coolest thing I’ve ever seen at an Acton Academy and definitely a standard that separates Acton Academies worldwide from other private schools I have encountered. At Acton Academy Salado, our goals and guides expect nothing less than what other Acton Academies expect in regard to equipping students. We are here to equip our students to succeed at their lifelong hero’s journeys! We are not just here to get you into an amazing college, we are here to equip our eagles to graduate. Not college oriented? No problem. We are here to equip our eagles to learn, to be, to do. We are here to equip our eagles to soar no matter what their life callings are or are not. We are here to equip them to become:
Deep and Critical Thinkers
Avid lifelong learners
Intellectual and Wise
Secure in their personal identities
Successful at time management
and every other positive adjective you can think of that propels humanity into another level of success and favor. We equip our eagles to soar into life knowing that they have everything they need to overcome any hurdle that may try to resist them as they pursue their individual callings.
At Acton Academy Salado, we love our eagles and we believe in them. We have the courage to let them set the pace of their studies and to complete each unit with total mastery and depth. No more casually going through school. No more worksheets. No more homework. No more busy work. No more work that makes no sense to us, to them, or to the parents.
Gifted children respond positively to being trusted, to being challenged, to having fun, and, especially, to kindness. The two rules at Acton Academy Salado that are in every studio, every day, and will be incorporated into daily eagle life is:
1. Be Kind
2. Get some work done
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people could do these two simple things? Maybe even simultaneously? Be Kind. Get some work done. Simple, yet profound. No bullying. No cheating. No cliques. No unfair parental or student politicking. No more mean playgrounds or sitting alone at lunch. No more feeling different for being curious or wanting to sit quietly and read through a lunch break. No more begging to not go or dragging one’s feet while getting ready for school. At Acton Academy Salado, the children are being equipped to be successful in life by (1) being kind and (2) getting some work done.
Oh, and by “getting some work done” we mean with mastery.
Are you ready to launch your child into a Hero’s Journey? Visit us at http://www.actonsalado.org