AABC’s Curriculum Components
CORE SKILLS (READING, WRITING, MATH)
Reading, writing and math are learned via online platforms (e.g., Khan Academy, Lexia, DreamBox), which enable learners to progress at their own pace. This ensures that no learner ever gets “left behind” so that others can progress. Quite the opposite. By having an environment where learners can advance at their own pace, our learners are able to master essential skills before moving ahead.
In addition, at least once a week, we "Drop Everything and Read" (DEAR) and, twice a week, we have a Writers’ Workshop.
Hands-on projects in science, entrepreneurship, and various art domains prepare learners for real-world challenges. In a Quest, which usually takes six weeks, we take practical challenges from our daily life and package them into personal and group activities. In each Quest, we integrate different learning subjects, and the learning is by ‘doing’ and not by listening or memorizing.
At AABC, we don't administer tests or give out grades. Learners celebrate the mastery of tools, skills, and character by earning badges, assembling portfolios, and participating in public exhibitions. Parents can review a learner’s academic progress by reviewing their earned badges in Core Skills (i.e., reading, writing, math, and spelling) and Character Development (i.e., “Learn to Be”) Badges. At the end of most Quests, public exhibitions allow young heroes to present their work to experts, customers, or the public for a real-world test.
INCORPORATING MINDFULNESS & NATURE
We integrate daily meditation into the schedule and we practice yoga at least once a week. We feel it is important that the learners spend significant time in nature as part of the weekly schedule and that will occur through outdoor lessons, activities, and trips all year long.
Critical thinking, debating, raising questions and doubts are developed through discussions about important people, historical events, civilization, and social case-studies. The ability to listen, think and contribute to a discussion is extremely important alongside understanding that, in many cases, there is not only black and white but a lot of gray too.
VOLUNTEERING & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
We live in a community and we are taking an active part in it. We go outside, meet our neighbors, help keep our parks and woods clean, and volunteer in as many places and activities as we can. We believe that giving back to our community is a privilege and a great opportunity for our students to connect with the real world.
FIELD TRIPS & GUEST SPEAKERS ("HERO VISITS")
To the extent possible, we will incorporate a field trip or host a guest speaker that relates to the given Quest, like visiting a local farm/nursery during Gardening Quest, visiting an architectural firm in NYC during Architecture Quest, having a botanist visit us, and take us on a nature walk to show us how to identify edible plants during Survival Quest.