A Different Kind of Education
At Greenfields Academy, we offer a fundamentally different approach to learning than traditional schooling. Our learners are challenged to become the hero in their own story and take control of their education. They have agency and a voice in how they want to learn and when. They aren’t asked to sit down and passively jot down notes in a lecture—no, our learners participate and co-learn with their Guides, empowering themselves as they become leaders in their own lives.
We call our elementary learners the Travelers and Navigators, or Trav/Navs for short. At this age, a growing sense of independence, identity, and leadership begins to develop as children a more proactive role in their education. Our Trav/Navs learn in an environment that is supportive, fun, and challenging—a space they know is made for them and scratches that itch they have for more responsibility.
Honoring our learners’ opinions, giving them authentic choices, and showing them that their actions matter are part of our foundational pillars of positive human development. Each learner at Greenfields has a hero’s mindset and approach to learning. With the freedom to choose their own path, our Griffins produce more work, challenge themselves to dig deeper, and do all of this with joy, passion, confidence, and a love for school.
The school year is neatly divided into seven sessions, each focusing on a unique class project—writing and directing plays, designing and building rooftop gardens, using chemistry knowledge to cook a three-course meal, and so on—that culminates with a public exhibition for students to showcase their learning. Here are some examples of past projects:
Art-a-Palooza: We rented out an art gallery to display an exhibit of original works for the community. Older Griffins produced, marketed, and curated the event.
Shakespeare Ain’t Here: Launchers helped produce, direct, design, perform, and manage a historical play. This project was school-wide, so Launchers collaborated with Griffins of all ages.
Build a Business: Every year, all of our Griffins work together in groups to develop a brand, create a product/service, build a marketing strategy, and then pitch their “business” to hundreds of customers at the Chicago Children’s Business Fair.
Passion Project: Trav/Navs explored their curiosities and passions and worked on a performance piece to share their findings in a community workshop.
These projects are fun, collaborative, and help students broaden their horizons about what they can accomplish both inside and outside of the classroom.
Cognitive science tells us that children learn best when they are in their Challenge Zone—that learning sweet spot sandwiched between being too comfortable and feeling panicked. We use small class sizes and technology to keep each Trav/Nav in their challenge zone as much as possible. This helps our learners deeply absorb these skills beyond that of standardized memorization and move along their learning path at a quicker, intuitive speed.
Greenfields Academy uses the latest in educational technology, multi-age studios, diverse learning materials, and mastery-based badges in order to challenge students, foster a learning community, and help them develop their own unique learning paths. Trav/Navs will become empowered learners with the help of their Guides as they set their goals for the year, complete challenges, receive and give feedback, and keep track of their own progress.
At Greenfields, our learners earn badges, not grades. There’s also no assigned homework or high-stakes tests. We’ve found that grades, homework, and traditional test testing are limiting and discourage students from learning from their mistakes. On the contrary, our learner-oriented badge system allows Trav/Navs to demonstrate mastery of important skills in a fun and unique way that celebrates all their hard work.
Personalized learning means that no two Griffins’ experience is the same. This adventure is all about discovery and growth, with your child leading the charge. They are traveling and navigating towards who they’re meant to be and we can’t wait to watch their journey unfold.
At Greenfields, we believe in cultivating skills that will help young people effectively navigate the world outside the classroom, such as interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.
Trav/Navs develop community standards and work daily on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and sticking to them.
They are kind to each other.
They stand up for themselves and others and hold each other accountable.
They create a learning support system and learn how to give and receive feedback.
They practice socialization and having good, intentional conversations with one another.
They work on listening, understanding, and respecting different perspectives through Socratic-style discussions.
They learn to be leaders and how to guide their fellow Griffins.
They learn how to regulate their impulses.
The Trav/Nav studio promises to uphold these standards in order to have the kind of community everyone feels welcome to participate in.
The skills learned here will not only help them during their time at Greenfields, but also for the rest of their life.
A day in our studios consists of large blocks of time for work and play with clear yet flexible guard rails in place to help Trav/Navs manage their time, set goals, and track their progress.
Mornings are reserved for core skills, while afternoons are for hands-on projects with integrated time to reflect, think deeply, and connect with peers. Within each work block, Trav/Navs choose from a broad range of work options based on their personal goals, passions, and commitments.
Drop Off and Free Time
Core Skills: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Civilizations
(After-School Programs Available)
A Better Way
At Greenfields, we help young people stay curious, challenge themself, and strive to make a difference.
We want them to fall in love with learning and get started on the right foot. In our eyes, conventional schooling is no longer that “right foot” or relevant (if it ever was) to the world our children will inherit.
Are you willing to walk away from the traditional path and embrace a better way? Do you want your child to have an education that caters to their needs and prepares them for the real world? Do you want to see them thrive instead of survive?
Set up an appointment to speak with us and decide if you’re ready to embrace your Hero’s Journey.