Our Approach to Education

What makes Alta Vista School unique
With an emphasis on science, math, engineering, and the arts, Alta Vista School encourages students to go beyond a strong academic
foundation to engage in their community, their environment, and pursue their passions.
Experiential, hands-on learning

Taking things apart can be far more illuminating than following an instruction manual. We believe that children learn best when they explore, touch, observe, hear, consider, speak, analyze, measure, predict, that is, experience learning. The educators are trained to teach creatively and to instill a growth mindset as students continually learn from failure and feedback.

Science and technology focus

Our approach is rooted in the scientific method, which engages children's inherent curiosity to drive their investigation and creative problem-solving. Technology, innovation, and design thinking are used as powerful tools for learning and growth. Technology is thoughtfully integrated into the classroom with Google Chromebooks, SMART Boards, document projectors, video cameras, digital cameras, and more.

Serious play

Play and joy are the keys to opening children's minds. Teachers are passionate about infusing their classrooms with laughter, play, and the joys of learning. 

Whole child approach

Recognizing the emotional, social, physical, creative, and cognitive facets that make up each child, AVS provides much more than a rigorous intellectual foundation. Social and emotional learning that is grounded in neuroscience is integrated into the daily coursework and the culture of the school. Students are guided in the discovery and pursuit of their unique talents, interests, and sense of self. The core STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) is enhanced with classes in drama, music, arts, garden/sustainability, physical education, and Spanish. The lower school pillars are curiosity, creativity, and communication. The middle school curriculum builds confidence and independence, with an emphasis on analytical and problem-solving skills across a variety of contexts. Overall, the AVS program promotes self-advocacy, responsibility, accountability, and choice to help students build resilience and self-reliance in their academic pursuits and beyond.

Grounded in community

Equally crucial to development is learning to be inclusive, responsible, and respectful of oneself and the greater community. Students are encouraged to be kind, respectful, and proud of their actions,

and to take responsibility in their communities. This includes being personally accountable, cooperating with peers, and applying tools for effective and peaceful conflict resolution. An important part of the school community's ethos is to be a contributing member at Alta Vista and beyond.

Everything at Alta Vista works towards the greater mission: to prepare students to thrive as creative thinkers, innovators, and catalysts for positive change in the world.