Admissions recently interviewed Katherine Schroder, parent of three children at BASIS Independent McLean, in grades 2, 5, and 7. Katherine shared her insights on what makes the primary school (grades 1-4) a magical and unique learning environment.
What words would you use to describe the primary school at BASIS Independent McLean?
Joyful and active. The joy is in the classrooms. The hands-on projects energize my second grader and keep her excited for school. She hates to miss even a single day!
What are the top three things you like about the primary school at BASIS Independent McLean?
1. The class design of nine classes in a week is perfect for the active early learner. My daughter loves moving from class to class and getting to know each Subject Expert Teacher (SET), with the support of her amazing Learning Expert Teacher (LET) by her side (click here, to watch a video describing the SET/LET relationship). This year she became more independent and confident as she learned to interact in a variety of classrooms.
2. The primary school curriculum with its focus on hands-on learning. The BASIS Curriculum provides an incredible foundation in the core subjects and the arts, but I love that the teachers prioritize opportunities to create, question, and experiment in the classroom. For instance, my daughter's second grade class designed and built structures based on the Three Little Pigs story, then watched as the Head of School, Mr. Aiken, donned a wolf mask and tried to "blow" them down using a leaf blower! To learn more about Connections Class, click here.
3. Support for independence and intellectual risk-taking. Students use a daily planner called a Communication Journal (CJ) to organize their day and share information with parents. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their education, which reduces the need for parents to be overly involved in the day-to-day activities at school. The primary program also encourages students to take intellectual risks by shifting the focus to asking the right questions rather than always knowing the right answer. Nothing encourages learning like a robust discussion in the classroom or a project that the student creates and tests herself.
What differences are you seeing in your second grader since she started?
This year has been phenomenal for my daughter. At her old school, she didn't push herself and stayed quietly under the radar. Now, after a year at BASIS Independent McLean, she is an active learner who seeks challenges and is proud of her accomplishments in the classroom. Her humanities class has so inspired her that she writes books at home for fun and has developed a love of biographies!
What does Claire like about BASIS Independent McLean?
Honestly, she would say that she loves everything about BASIS Independent. She particularly enjoys her Engineering and Connections classes and having three recesses a day.
What are the top qualities you see in your children as a result of coming to BASIS Independent McLean?
Enthusiasm, responsibility, and resilience. This year, I've watched my children get excited about scientific classifications, ancient civilizations, and Shakespearean tragedy; take responsibility for their academics on a daily basis; learn how to recover when their best efforts fail. In so many ways, these qualities are even more important than the curriculum itself.
Click here to see the course listing for grades 1-4.
BASIS Independent McLean is a preschool-12th grade private school located in Tysons. To learn more about our acclaimed liberal arts and science program, please register for an upcoming informational event. We are currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year on a rolling basis (Rolling Admissions). Click here to learn more about admissions.