The Adolescent

The Adolescent’s Needs:

Adolescence marks a plane of development  characterized as  “A Period of Creative Transformation.” Rapid physical growth is accompanied by intense hormonal activity. The energy needed during this rapid growth can sometimes diminish the amount of energy available to concentrate on academic work. The brain is undergoing significant re-organization, and as such, structured academics can be difficult for the adolescent. The New Hampshire School of Applied Learning channels young people’s natural energy and helps to turn the challenges of the adolescent years into positive experiences. The central role of the program is to initiate students into the real world, adult work, and contributions to the greater community.

Adolescents are asking:

Who am I?
Where do I fit into society?
How can I be of use?
What is any of this (schoolwork) good for?

NH School of Applied Learning (NHSAL) provides a place for guided work and study, a community environment in which all members experience learning that they choose and are invested in, a sense of belonging, engagement, shared responsibility, achievement, and awareness of the significance of their contribution and worth. This provides an investment in each other and in the occupations and projects generated by the community – as well as a greater context for their learning.

The curriculum is different, and more than a straightforward inventory of subjects as in traditional school. NHSAL develops the adolescent intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally.

The curriculum is divided into 3 domains:

Intellectual Development
Preparation for Adult Life

These main areas are well integrated with the intellectual and self-expression domains having a particularly strong connection and emphasis in daily project work. The core academic program adheres to and exceeds New Hampshire State Standards. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to allow students to learn at their own pace and to connect ideas/concepts across all of the subjects studied.

The middle school experience at NHSAL is the culmination of each student’s previous education and life experiences. The level of independence that they achieve, the confidence that they gain, and the concepts that they master enables them to be successful in their future endeavors, scholastically and beyond.

Traditional education often teaches facts that are isolated from life outside the classroom; NHSAL offers lessons with practical applications that allow students to make connections with and an impact on their community. “What will I use this for?” is an often-asked question of the adolescent, as they are determined to use knowledge to DO something in the world. For instance, students work as a group to run a business:  – for many this marks their first direct experiences with the economic connections in a society – and making their own money! The success of earning money for a job well-done is a strong source of validation for the adolescent’s skills and contributions. New England is a perfect area for adolescents to explore physics, architecture, engineering, culture, history, transportation, ecology, technology, art, and business.

Who should consider NHSAL for their Child?

The answer to this is ANYONE, but specifically:
Children who are bored in traditional schools
Children who seem to have lost their spark for learning
Children who are curious and love learning
Children who are eager for autonomy and independence

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