Innovation is defined as, “The action or process of making changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.” Innovation at Heatherwood takes many forms. Innovation is present in the design and use of learning spaces in the school, in unique partnerships with families and the community, in the creation and delivery of student-centered instruction, and in students' approach to learning and problem solving. Heatherwood cultivates an innovative atmosphere by promoting flexibility, open mindedness, and trusting relationships. Risk taking is encouraged, creativity is fostered, and mistakes are celebrated as valuable learning opportunities.
Innovative learning spaces
The furniture and learning spaces at Heatherwood are flexibly designed to enable numerous configurations and support different learning styles. Students are allowed to choose the furniture that helps them learn best in a given area. Though innovation can take place anywhere in the school, one designated space where students come to innovate is our Makerspace. The Makerspace allows for hands on exploration and problem solving using a wide variety of materials. Whether students are constructing 3D models or programming robotics, the Makerspace is a unique place where students can create, problem solve, test ideas, take risks and most importantly, have fun!
Students are given opportunities to ideate and test innovative solutions to problems using Design Thinking; a multi-step problem solving process that encourages empathy, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Design Thinking is integrated into classroom projects and units of instruction throughout the school year. In addition, all students participate in a variety of school-wide “Drop & Design” challenges leading up to our annual Design Thinking Challenge Night.
DESIGN THINKING CHALLENGE NIGHT
On Design Thinking Challenge Night, teachers facilitate unique sessions leading families through the steps of the Design Thinking process to collaboratively solve a problem. Join the Heatherwood community for this fun night to experience the Design Thinking process together!
Project Based Learning
Students in every grade level participate in engaging Project Based Learning (PBL) units integrating content areas and curricular standards. Project Based Learning is an inquiry based approach to learning in which students solve authentic, real-world problems. PBL units are student driven and allow students voice and choice in their learning process and products. Project Based Learning promotes the development of important skills such as formulating inquiry questions, conducting research, applying information, communicating ideas, giving and receiving feedback, presenting learning, working in a team, and much more.
PBL night is held annually in the spring. Heatherwood families and members of the community are invited to attend a showcase of PBL presentations by students in all grade levels. Students work hard on PBL units throughout the year and appreciate having an authentic audience to present their work to and gain feedback from. We hope to see you there!