If gifted children are not challenged on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis, they may fail to thrive; gifted students may become bored or frustrated in an unchallenging classroom situation causing them to lose interest, learn bad study habits, or distrust the school environment. Gifted girls may mask their abilities in order to try to fit in socially with their same-age peers. Gifted boys who are not challenged and understood often attempt to gain stimulation through disruption, which can frustrate and alienate their teachers and fellow students. Gifted boys also have more trouble reining in their, often excessive, energy. Routinely being admonished and failing to be challenged can lead to negative feelings about education.
By contrast, placement in an affectively and cognitively supportive educational environment where the individual needs of gifted learners are met allows these children to develop to the highest levels of their potential. The Knox School of Santa Barbara is committed to providing:
An ability-based (versus age-based) instructional approach - those students who show a natural aptitude or display a particular interest in a subject area are given the opportunity to stretch beyond the boundaries of their grade level with no ceiling
A rigorous, flexible integrated curriculum that promotes inquiry-based, experiential, meaningful, trans-disciplinary learning in order to deeply engage the students in critical and creative thinking processes and retain a deep love of learning
A high teacher to student ratio which allows for individualized & differentiated instruction
A professional and supportive staff sensitive to the instructional and emotional needs of gifted and talented children who can provide an emotionally safe haven where both strengths and weaknesses are understood and respected, and it is safe for students to discover and reveal who they really are
Teachers who are not threatened by their students’ intelligence but who welcome their intellectual debates, give opportunities to delve deeply into topics of interest and take joy in their students’ strengths
A recognition of the uniqueness of each child and a commitment to the preservation and development of that individuality
Gentle fostering of self-awareness and self-understanding in all students so that they learn to self-advocate and become the principal architects of their lives
Emphasizing creative thinking skills by allowing students to find that there are many ways to solve a problem
Respectful accommodation and a variety of strategies to meet all learning and output styles
A community of peers to support and strengthen the child’s social development. The gifted child can often feel isolated in the traditional classroom, where he/she may be resented or inhibited from developing his or her learning potential. One of the main benefits of programs that group gifted children together is the opportunity for varied and satisfying friendships to emerge, enhancing the child’s social development.
Development not solely in academic content areas but also in the operational and affective skills necessary to succeed and excel in real world settings, such as collaboration, communication, presentation, critical thinking, leadership, risk assessment, organization, time management, self-assessment and reflection. These skills go beyond discrete, memorized skills or information and are developed through our enriched concept-based curriculum.