Shaped by child development best practices, NBFA’s progressive pedagogical approach facilitates experiential learning and promotes individualized academic and social-emotional instruction.
By expanding its definition of Social-Emotional Learning to include emotionally responsive practice, NBFA optimizes teaching and learning by creating an environment that is safe for children and adults to feel vulnerable, develop deep understandings, and foster meaningful relationships.
NBFA classrooms are integrated, arts-infused, engaging places where student voices are amplified and self-expression is welcome. Through our holistic approach, students are learning to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and collaborators -- essential skills for success in 21st-century careers.
Key Pedagogical Differences
- School is a part of life.
- Learners are active participants, problem solvers, and planners.
- Teachers are facilitators, guides who foster thinking.
- Disciplines are integrated as children make connections.
- Knowledge is constructed through play, direct experience, and social interaction
- School is preparation for life.
- Learners are passive absorbers of information and authority.
- Teachers are sources of information and authority.
- Disciplines, particularly language and math, are separated.
- Knowledge is absorbed through lectures, worksheets, and texts.
The Achievement Gap
NBFA classrooms have an average of 20 students and two adults per class in grades pre-K to 6. There are 1.5 adults in each 7th and 8th-grade classroom.
Teaching is approached through a central concept that unifies all the disciplines. This is a creative system for learners, enabling them to notice connections between various subjects and to view learning as a process extending beyond textbooks or prescribed curricula.
Through this approach, an emphasis is placed on both the process and product that represents learning as students are asked to apply learned knowledge through problem-solving, analyzing, and researching.
NBFA administers student assessments to create skill-appropriate instructional groups, inform classroom instruction, and identify areas for professional development. Our student-centered approach to data interpretation helps teachers and administrators better understand the students’ specific needs and growth over time.
NBFA provides teachers and leaders with frequent, ongoing training to support student learning. Thanks to our special partnership with Bank Street College of Education, a global leader in progressive pedagogy, our instructors and leaders receive the best and latest preparation for the emotionally-responsive classroom.