Why Providence Innovation Academy?

With a troubled economic forecast and a decline in societies moral values Providence Innovation Academy stands as a beacon of light for parents and students. Using Christian principles we help students develop and stand on a firm foundation of truth and honor. We believe in liberty and justice. We prepare our students to think creatively and act responsibly. Our students are taught the difference between the three foundations in our society.

“Entitlement Foundation” where people exist on welfare and are expecting someone else to provide for their needs. Where you give a man a fish and he then expects you to give him one every day.

“Competitive Foundation” the dog-eat-dog society where everything goes to be able to get ahead. This is governed by fear and a scarcity mentality exists. You have to be the biggest and best to survive. This is the perverted capitalist system that is prevalent today. When you teach a man to fish he can feed his family for a lifetime, as long as he can get his fish first. He becomes a predator, preying upon the fish, competing against all the other fishermen who are all trying to get theirs first.

“Creative Foundation” the creation of wealth and prosperity exist in abundance on this foundation. A place governed by faith. The true form of capitalism exists here. This is where we create and multiply in every area of life. We can help someone else and we gain more in the process. You can teach a man to farm fish and he can then feed his community. He will never run out or face a lack of fish as long as he continues to manage his fish farm with correct principles. This is the foundation our nation was built upon. This is the creative process that ensures abundance and prosperity.

We teach children how to live on the “Creative Foundation” in spite of our society. We help them to create businesses and opportunities to change society through the creative process.

Our students are prepared to contribute to society. They may advance to a college or university as fast as they are able. We have had students advance to college at 15 years old.

We provide an atmosphere where students are encouraged to think and ask questions. Where excitement to learn is fostered and is fun. We teach students how to ask questions and recognize the answers.

Our students are not held back by grade or time. They can progress as quickly as they are able. Students are provided opportunities to use and witness the use of principles they learn in real life settings. They see the value and use of the subjects they learn.

Is Multi-age Learning Truly Beneficial?

The basic structure of a true multi-age learning environment is one in which the teacher views the entire class as one learning community and which supports students staying with the same teacher for more than one year.

When students work alongside each other day after day, even the youngest, shyest children become comfortable asking for help from older students. As older students teach younger ones the procedures, read them stories, and help them write their names, they develop valuable leadership skills and nurturing behaviors.

The success of this combination of individualized learning, small group collaborations, and whole group interactions is dependent on the development of self-direction and independence in the children. This may be acquired by setting up centers with task cards, bins of individualized learning games, a classroom library of leveled books, shelves of math manipulative materials and games, a science discovery center with task cards, an art supply shelf, and a supply shelf with paper, staplers, tape, markers, and pencil sharpeners which children can access as needed. When students are not dependent on their teacher to meet all their needs, they are empowered to take ownership of the classroom environment and to develop individual responsibility for the classroom community. The interplay between older and younger students in the same classroom can facilitate this development of self-directed behavior as older students provide models for younger students.

This is the essence of the multi-age classroom: Older students model good behavior and, through continual peer mentoring, stretch their teaching muscles and solidify their own knowledge. And the younger students learn that teachers aren’t the only ones who know a thing or two. “I haven’t had a student yet who, even six years later, didn’t remember whom they helped and who helped them,” says teacher Terence Rodgers about the mentoring process. “Really, it’s pretty magical.”

In small-group learning, employ the three-before-me rule: Students must check with three classmates before raising a hand to ask for help from the teacher. This approach gives every student the chance to help instruct.

The realization that childrens’ uneven developmental patterns and differing rates of progress are ill-matched to the rigid grade-level system has left teachers searching for a better way to meet the needs of all students

Within a typical multi-age classroom of 25 to 30 students, children work in various grouping patterns–as individuals, pairs, triads, small groups, large groups, or whole class. Such short-term groupings are based on interest, needs, learning style, problem solving, skill instruction, and reinforcement (Privett, 1996; American Association of School Administrators, 1992;

Continuous Progress. In a multi-age classroom, children learn in a continuum; they move from easier to more difficult material and from simple to more complex strategies at their own pace, making continuous progress rather than being promoted once a year or required to wait until the next school year to move forward in the curriculum (Gaustad, 1992; Katz, 1992). Developmentally appropriate schools are flexible in their expectations about when and how children will acquire certain competencies (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996). Children are viewed as individuals, and expectations are adjusted for each child. “Instruction, learning opportunities, and movement within the curriculum are individualized to correspond with individual needs, interests, and abilities,” note Anderson and Pavan (1993, p. 62). Continuous progress promotes social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive development. It is success oriented, avoiding the problems associated with retention (Privett, 1996; National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996).

Many effective gains also have been documented in multi-age research. Students show increased self-esteem, more cooperative behavior, better attitudes toward school in general, increased pro-social (caring, tolerant, patient, supportive) behavior, enriched personal relationships, increased personal responsibility, and a decline in discipline problems (Mackey, Johnson, & Wood, 1995; Stone, 1995; Anderson & Pavan, 1993; Uphoff & Evans, 1993; Grant, 1993; Gutierrez & Slavin, 1992; Lodish, 1992; Katz, Evangelou, & Hartman, 1990; Miller, 1993; Villa & Thousand, 1993; Pratt, 1993). For example, preliminary results of an investigation by McClellan and Kinsey (1996) suggest that mixed-age grouping helps children develop social skills and a sense of belonging. These effective gains are due in part to the fact that competition is minimized as children progress at their own pace and individual differences are celebrated (Fox, 1997; Stone, 1995; Katz, 1995; Anderson & Pavan, 1993). Older students in particular develop mentoring and leadership skills as a result of serving as role models and helping the younger children (Stone, 1995; Nye, 1993).