It sounds simple, but it takes flexibility, perseverance, and original thinking. Our teachers make the time to know each student, learn what matters to the child, and engage in a constantly evolving relationship. From one day to the next, activities are adapted to the emerging discoveries and needs of the class. Each conversation becomes an opportunity for learning about oneself, one’s relationships, and the world beyond

How it happens:

  • Make a personal connection
  • Follow children's natural interests
  • Present active thinking challenges
  • Encourage collaboration and teamwork
  • Demonstrate learning with visual models and presentations
  • Use story and tradition to build community




I observed students apply their learning in an authentic ways that involved critical thinking, problem solving, and self-generated projects based on their own questions. Students were engaged in their learning and teachers were able to individually listen to students and work with small groups. I was so impressed by the teachers’ questioning of students and the students’ genuine responses. It was a pleasure to be in an environment that values children’s voices and honors their sense of wonder.

- Joyce Friedman, Demonstration Teacher, UCLA Lab School