Philosophy of Learning

At KIS we believe that learning is organic and expansive; active rather than passive.

Our effort is to create an environment for students where learning is a natural, continuous process that goes far beyond the walls of a classroom. When learning is intentionally active, students construct an ever-widening view of the world through a range of interdisciplinary experiences within and outside the traditional classroom setting.

In a constructivist approach, the student is necessarily responsible for their own learning. Learners build knowledge through observation, experience and reflection, and not all will do so in the same way or at the same time. The teacher serves as facilitator, scaffolding the student experience rather than dictating its course. To be effective, teachers must understand where each student is at in the learning process and establish intentional spaces for engagement and interaction. Each student is encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas, take intellectual and emotional risks, and learn from each other. 

Our natural location is central to our identity.

Close interaction with the community makes it possible for our students to benefit from real-world situations and authentic learning opportunities. Learning in the context of locality and environment enhances the ability of young, curious minds to grasp complex concepts and apply them in both practical and compassionate ways. Our students learn to engage thoughtfully with others, respect and preserve the natural world, and emerge from their KIS experience as responsible local and global citizens

We strive to keep our student community small. KIS maintains a low student-teacher ratio in order to better meet the diverse needs of individual learners and support them through a rigorous academic program. When possible, we adopt a “high challenge-low risk” approach, encouraging our students to challenge themselves while reducing the pressure and stress often associated with academic performance. Our students are celebrated as the unique individuals they are and allowed to develop creatively, experientially, intellectually, socially, academically and personally---without fear of judgement or disapproval. As a result, our students grow into confident, assertive, and emotionally resilient young adults.

Our core strength is our ability to celebrate diversity while establishing and living out our common values. The scope for learning in our multicultural, residential community then becomes both continuous and profound. Students and staff learn from each other in the classroom, on the sports field, in their residences, on hikes and field trips, and across the many organic learning spaces found at KIS. We become aware and appreciative of multiple viewpoints, cultural differences and affinities, and the critical ways in which, individually and collectively, we impact the world around us. It is through these life experiences that our graduates become people the world needs, equipped to face the challenges — and harness the opportunities — ahead of them. 

Our core strength is our ability to celebrate diversity while establishing and living out our common values.