Students in grades 1-4 have selected a topic of interest and will have dedicated time in the schedule to learn about their topic.
Taking a page from Google's "Genius Hour" initiative, Lower School is implementing a "Passion Projects" program that will give students in 1st - 4th grades the opportunity to learn about a specific topic of interest that they select. The students will work with a teacher in small groups throughout the semester as part of the 8-Day Rotation schedule. At the end of the year, each student will showcase the project they completed.
The topics offered include Calligraphy, Cultural Dancing, Board Games and Card Games, Science Experiments, Cooking, Digital Photography, Knitting, History of Fashion, Jazz Dance, Kindness Club, STEM, Public Speaking, Spanish, and Independent Research.
The concept of dedicated time devoted to a project of interest comes from Google. The company utilizes a “Genius Hour” where employees can spend up to 20% of their company time on a passion/interest. Google found that overall company productivity greatly improved and several of their top products, including Gmail, are outcomes of this initiative. Many schools are starting to implement a similar program in order to increase learning engagement.