Nueva’s thirty-three acres of wooded campus provide many opportunities for outdoor learning, and venturing off campus for outdoor educational experiences is also an important aspect of the education program. Our educators believe outdoor learning provides an abundance of hands-on lessons in a variety of subjects such as science and math. For example, outdoor trips may include the opportunity to investigate the communities of organisms that live in freshwater habitats or tide pools, to observe the effects of fire on a forest ecosystem, or to see what it’s like to work as an archaeologist.
Children’s social-emotional growth has always been an important component of a Nueva education and outdoor learning provides an atmosphere where students learn about themselves and collaborating with others. Children who are active and enlightened through experiences outdoors tend to grow up healthier, and possess a better understanding of the sciences, are self-aware, and excited about the natural world. As adults, children immersed in the outdoors tend to value taking care of the natural places and resources they have learned to love.
Nueva’s campus grounds enhance learning opportunities. For example, children working in the school garden learn sustainable agriculture methods and the benefits of organic farming. They grow and harvest organic crops such as tomatoes, cabbages, melons, basil, and more. They have fun digging, planting, and watering to help plants thrive. The Gardening Academy enables students to dive deeper into gardening methods and issues around agriculture.
Young and older students alike go on outdoor trips around California and beyond for field trips and overnight trips. Lower School students go on one to two-night excursions, while Middle School students have trips that last five days and more. Students participate in a variety of challenges such as hiking, climbing, ropes courses, and group games that encourage them to push themselves in new ways.
The outdoor setting makes for an interesting learning environment where students grow more in touch with the natural world, and it also teaches students important skills necessary for traveling and living safely in the wilderness. For example, the seventh grade participates in a five-day outdoor program in Yosemite National Park where students learn to care for others, purify water, secure food away from animals, cook meals, and clean dishes.
Personal growth is another tangible benefit that children get from the outdoors. The moments on these trips when children spontaneously help each other, listen respectfully to each other in discussions, work as a cooperative group in an initiative game, help defuse disagreements, and provide support for homesickness, all contribute to their growth and personal resources. Children extend what they learn in school about their interactions with each other and about their own images of the kind of people they are, which is an empowering experience. Outdoor learning embodies Nueva’s motto of “Learn by doing, learn by caring.”
The Common Ground Speaker Series, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2012, is the brainchild of Nueva's Head of School Diane Rosenberg. Each school year, Common Ground proudly presents some of the nation's most compelling thought leaders in parenting, education and health at venues on the peninsula. All Common Ground Speaker Series events are free of charge to parents, faculty and staff of member schools.
Upon arriving at our school, Diane saw a need for a speaker series, after helping assemble a smaller version of Common Ground at Princeton Day School in New Jersey. So she and former Nueva parent Faye Star (along with many parent volunteers from Nueva and other schools) worked tirelessly to launch Common Ground. That inaugural year, speaker events had audiences of fifty to one-hundred parents from about six independent schools. Word quickly spread about this wonderful new series and now about twenty-four independent schools along the Peninsula and South Bay are part of the Common Ground consortium. In fall 2011, author Sir Ken Robinson drew in a record audience of nearly 1,000 parents!
You can find more information about the Common Ground Speaker Series here.
March 19-20, 2013: Leonard Sax, MD, PhD -- Yes! Gender Matters
As one of the nation's foremost authorities on gender differences, Dr. Leonard Sax examines the role gender plays in how we learn and how we handle stress and anxiety. He clarifies the distinction between self-esteem and resilience, examines the lost virtue of humility and explains why today's social media is anything but gender neutral. Parents and educators will learn about his practical strategies for building resiliency and coping mechanisms in both children and teens. Dr. Sax's books include Why Gender Matters, Boys Adrift, and Girls on the Edge.
Tuesday, March 19, at 7 pm
1310 Bryant Street, Palo Alto
Wednesday, March 20, at 9 am
The Nueva School
6565 Skyline Blvd, Hillsborough
Wednesday, March 20, at 7 pm
Yavneh Day School
APJCC Auditorium, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos
April 23-24, 2013: Brad Sachs, PhD -- Good Enough Teens: Promoting Self-Reliance
With compassion and intelligence, Brad Sachs, PhD, returns to our stage to explore the physical and psychological challenges of adolescence. He shares insights and practical guidance to help us enjoy, appreciate ,and better understand our teens. Dr. Sachs' books include The Good Enough Teen: How To Raise Adolescents with Love and Acceptance and Emptying the Nest: Launching Your Young Adult Towards Success and Self-Reliance. On April 24, he will devote his evening talk to parents of juniors and seniors and present strategies for guiding young adults toward independence.
Tuesday, April 23, at 7 pm
Crystal Springs Uplands School
400 Uplands Drive, Hillsborough
Wednesday, April 24, at 9 am
Harker Lower School
4300 Bucknall Road, San Jose
Wednesday, April 24, at 7 pm
The Priory School
302 Portola Road, Portola Valley
Lit Club, Nueva's homegrown literature discussion program, has been a part of our school for almost thirty years! The curriculum offers students in grades 2-8 opportunities to read and discuss stories in small groups, led by trained adults. An outgrowth of our constructivist approach to learning, students explore literature with the spirit of inquiry, to think about an author's purpose, to appreciate the richness and complexity of stories, and to discover how productive a group’s creative and critical thinking can be.
Without a large number of parent volunteers, Lit Club would not be able to offer this small group experience to our students. If you would like to participate, your training begins with a workshop called Grand Conversations that helps develop, refine, and practice skills needed to conduct literary discussions with children. During the school year, brief sessions continue to develop your skills, and provide you with feedback and information about the curriculum, reading, and children's literature.
Part of our school's strategic vision is to share educational resources with people and organizations outside Nueva, particularly with public and underserved schools in the Bay Area. Nueva strives to share exceptional and relevant information through professional development, scholarships, and partnerships with local organizations.
Partnerships with institutions can enhance student learning. For example, the Innovation Lab recently partnered with Kaiser Permanente's Health Care Innovation Center for Middle School students to explore problems in health care and invent solutions. Kaiser Permanente's Garfield Innovation Center is a living laboratory where ideas are tested and solutions are developed in a hands-on, mocked-up clinical environment. Many aspects of delivering health care can be innovated and examined at the center using real-world scenarios and activities such as simulations, technology testing, prototyping, product evaluations, and training.
Nueva also provides scholarships for students and educators to attend its programs such as the Innovative Learning Conference, and Nueva Summer camp. It also offers teaching resources to educational professionals through the Social-Emotional Learning Institute, and the Design Thinking Institute.
Children from outside Nueva receive scholarships to attend the Nueva Summer camp, which brims with a variety of offerings such as music, photography, languages, robotics, cooking, fencing, gardening, and much more. Nueva funds children that otherwise would not be able to attend our camp by collaborating with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America around the peninsula, and the SMART (Schools, Mentoring, and Resource Team) program, which provides motivated, financially-disadvantaged students with educational opportunities, personal experiences, and social support services.
The service-learning component of Nueva's program also provides opportunities for community outreach. Students have worked on projects with local organizations such as food banks, conservation groups, and educational programs. Working with local organizations and groups furthers Nueva's goal of inspiring its children to change our world for the better.
The Nueva School seeks motivated and passionate learners who will thrive in and contribute to our program. When considering students for our school, we look for evidence of intellectual curiosity, independent thought and depth of ideas, creativity in approach to problem solving, and divergent thinking. Our students bring a great deal of knowledge to the classroom and actively participate in the learning process. Our students are self-empowered to be teachers as well as learners.
Part of Nueva's mission is to reach out locally, nationally, and internationally to the broader community of gifted students, teachers, homeschoolers, administrators, and clinicians. Through publications, presentations at conferences, partnerships with institutions such as the Stanford d.school, and institutes on campus, Nueva is a leader in the world of gifted education. Nueva, as an institution and through its teachers, offers many opportunities for teachers, administrators, and parents to learn more about gifted education in classes, workshops, conferences, institutes, and publications, both print and online.
Nueva has remained true to its mission to cultivate and serve intellectually and creatively gifted children since 1967.
Here are some resources: