santa fe middle school girl outdoor classroomAt the School,  education is not a matter of opening the top of a student’s head and pouring in the knowledge, but rather is a dynamic, open-ended, and very personal process that requires dialogue and exchange of ideas among students and teachers. Called the Socratic method, this teaching approach requires that all students be involved and participatory in a small, seminar-style classroom. In this setting, students develop personal and trusting relationships with the teacher and their fellow classmates, and are encouraged to share their individual world views.

The small, seminar-style environment helps students develop initiative and the ability to articulate thoughts effectively in writing and speaking. Students learn to work as a team and to value intellectual, cultural, social, and physiological diversity, which creates excitement for learning—multiple perspectives from the students, and from the academic materials, provide stimulus for lively debate, depth of thought and informed opinion.

At the core of effective learning are relationships— small school and classroom facilitate more meaningful connections. A small community of educators and learners are accountable to one another and no one person can be invisible. Through these relationships, students learn how to think, rather than what to think.

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