The second of these intangible qualities, reported in more than 93% of our students, is a life-long love of learning. Students who benefited from a Progressive education are able to set personal goals and self-regulate to achieve them. They are unusually focused–they know how to take an interest in a subject and follow through on it. One of our recent alumni summed it up best: despite the heavy duties associated with accelerated academics and being the captain of Stuyvesant’s math team, he still makes time each week to learn new things in topics that interest him, a habit he developed in elementary school.
The result of this quality is that the individual goes far beyond expectations in academics on their own initiative. This in turn leads to awards, increased confidence, and the determination necessary to aim for a challenging higher education. This zest for learning is so common at Progressive that we almost forget how rare it is in the general population! Just recently, a Progressive School graduate reported graduating as valedictorian of SUNY Buffalo, and without a moment’s hesitation added, “I know it’s unexpected, but the motivation and love of learning I embraced at Progressive has carried me all the way.”
The explanation for regular great achievements, often unforeseen during elementary and middle school performance, lies in a really simple common truth: these young people are furthering their education outside of school, and when no one is watching! And this, my friends, is not a rare phenomenon, rather it is the most reported “excuse” for reaching heights that few, if any, expected of them.
The alumni reflect that this characteristic was nurtured at Progressive though the following special activities:
- always keeping the learning process fun and relevant
- a focus on application of knowledge rather than memorization
- permitting choices through independent studies
- shifting responsibilities to the child and rewarding them with freedoms
- flexibility and individualized curriculum
- being educated with love
Is it any surprise that love figures into the equation? Someone who feels the love of their teachers is likely to believe in themselves, and want to give back in a similar fashion. Love is indeed the essence of Neohumanism.
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