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Nurturing a Love for Learning

Have you ever watched a toddler explore a room or the beach or check out a new person? Amazing to witness the world through their new eyes, right? Research has shown that we are born with curiosity as a driving force to engage with the world around us. Unfortunately, we then live experiences that do not nurture this curiosity, but instead crush it. Poverty, lack of access to variety, even the structure of some school environments can crush curiosity. At APCH we provide constant support for curiosity and we have a lot to explore. Our Educational Services department is on a mission to spark a love for learning within our youth!

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(Photo: Eric Elmore)

After a full day at school, the APCH Educational Services department provides additional academic support to our members, drawing from research-based teaching strategies and methods and taking a student-focused approach. With 18 classes and eight homework groups, including Math and Language Arts intervention classes; eight drop-in labs; a circulating library collection of approximately 4,000 books; access to technology and support for school projects; we equip our youth with tools to help them succeed in school and beyond.

Across the board at A Place Called Home, we implement a whole-child approach, which means that in addition to supporting academics, our Ed Services team promotes students’ socio-emotional growth, self-confidence and that very important one we mentioned earlier: curiosity.

We begin by creating an environment that respects and welcomes our youth. Every day, our members are greeted as they enter a learning space that has been prepared with intentionality and purpose. They’re invited to speak up and share ideas. Fear crushes curiosity, so we create a safe space where youth can be active learners, express themselves, and make mistakes without fear that they will be shut down.

Teaching by example is at the core of our educational approach. Ed Services staff model curiosity and passion as they implement 21st century education skills: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. Structured programming includes flexibility and learning often takes place outside of the familiar four walls, or ventures into the digital universe. We see the benefits of interacting with nature and the importance of integrating technology to develop the skills necessary for academic success that is relevant to the world today. Our staff also stays curious, regularly exploring new methods and developing new material for their classes.

We offer the possibility of arriving at more than one answer to a question. Sometimes we even choose to stay in the question for a while and explore. We encourage our youth to experience the joy of discovery, and what’s most exciting is when they realize that answers just lead to… more questions! More curiosity! More love of learning!