The Nueva School's educational goals reflect the school's motto, "Learn by doing, learn by caring," and the school's mission statement. A key characteristic of a Nueva student is that they love to come to school, they want to be at school. Students are engaged in their classes and enthusiastic about their studies. The program is interesting and creative, meets students' needs, and challenges them to stretch and grow. The program goals are to:
- inspire a passion for lifelong learning.
- foster social and emotional acuity.
- develop a child's imaginative mind.
- enable children to learn how to make choices that will benefit the world.
- establish foundational skills in all subject areas.
- encourage strong habits of learning.
- learn research and design thinking skills.
- help students reflect on their own learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses.
- give students myriad opportunities to learn through hands-on exploration.
- support students as they develop resilience and intrinsic motivation.
Goals for learning are put into action in classrooms, play spaces, at lunch, and on the sports fields. From prekindergarten, our program is an exemplary model of constructivist education. The curriculum emerges from the interests of the students themselves, and they learn from real-world explorations of class themes. For example in third grade, three questions form the basis of the constructivist program: How does geography affect the way people live? How are people's choices shaped by geography? How do people express their beliefs in their daily lives?
Another example is the "Solar House Project" in sixth grade, which combines math, science, and design thinking. Students learn how to make choices that benefit the world and understand the positive impact individuals can have on it.
In Middle School, the Trips Program provides a rich context for students to investigate their world by taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about life in other cultures, to experience living in another country, and to reflect on the experience through writing and sharing.
Nueva's educational program has succeeded with respect to students' achievement, attitude towards school, subsequent progress, and placement in other schools. Our students are often highly motivated and self-directed. The program supports the school community's variety of learning styles, and teachers work hard to differentiate curriculum to meet each student's needs.
The overall program provides a significant number of opportunities for exploration and learning outside the classroom, and students benefit greatly from these opportunities.
Our students are sought after by highly selective schools in the local area and by national boarding schools such as Philips Exeter Academy and the Thacher School. Nueva graduates take Advanced Placement and honors classes, and are almost universally successful in high school. Nueva alumni rise to the top of their classes both in leadership roles and academics. Our alumni report they feel prepared for high school, and adjust quickly to the expectations of their new schools.