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When considering the beginning of the educational journey at Harrisburg Academy, we look at where the journey begins rather than when. Everything we plan for our students and implement for them starts first by thinking about our school's mission. This mission is focused on only one outcome — preparing our students to be successful adults. We accomplish this by differentiating our teaching methods, providing knowledge to prepare them academically for the challenges of the 21st century, and modeling behavior that will enable them to develop their own character, built on solid integrity.In other words, the focus of this 15-year experience is the individual child and the “whole child,” at that. At every point along a student’s journey at the Academy, we want to know each child, what motivates him or her, and what his or her passions and aspirations might be. By understanding who each child is and how he or she develops along the journey, we can best attune our instruction to that student and his or her social and emotional growth. It is for this reason that we continually update and amend our curriculum across all divisions including forward-thinking programs such as lab science in Early Childhood and the Centers in Upper School. By differentiating our instruction, we are best able to encourage students to think analytically, creatively, and innovatively. This is the kind of “deep” thinking we choose to develop at our school, and this is why our instruction will never become repetitive practice for the purpose of taking standardized tests which are scaled to unsatisfactory low means.
When students achieve both a solid understanding of basic learning concepts and are given the freedom to think critically, their desire to learn becomes self-motivated and they find the “joy in learning.” When this occurs, our students want to command the direction and depth of their learning. We form the foundation for learning in this capacity in our Early Childhood division (3-year-old and 4-year-old preschool, and Kindergarten) and Lower School (elementary school) programs. We see inklings of it happening among our Middle School students. And we see it continuously in our high school, the Upper School, where our faculty and the IB Diploma Program encourage a spirit that says, “I’m ready to take charge of my learning.” We also see this in our Centers for Experiential Learning & Innovation. Thus along the personal learning journey that is Harrisburg Academy, passion is born, highly successful matches with colleges are made, eye-opening, first-hand global opportunities are possible, and fledgling Academy alumni are launched for productive lives throughout our nation and across the world.
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