We are all invited to walk the path of mastery.
What do you think the results would be if you tried to teach a naturally gifted dancer to be an accountant? Your child, like all children, is unique. We believe your child was born with a particular set of gifts, talents, and abilities. We think it is our job to bring out those attributes in your child and nurture them. In simpler terms, nurture the nature of the child. When your child comes to RLT Academy, we provide engaging opportunities for them to show us how they learn and what they are passionate about, then we fan the flames of their passions and interests. This is not to say that there is not a set curriculum laid out for them. We believe your child needs the opportunity to explore and experiment what there is to learn. We want them to learn how to learn.
At the core of our curriculum, your child will study what is laid out by the Ministry of Education and the Ontario Core Curriculum. In addition, your child will move beyond the borders of the classroom walls regularly expanding into the communities of nature and human society to increase their awareness and connection to both the land and their communities.
topics of inquiry
Topic of Inquiry
If the core values are the foundation of our school, the curriculum is the structure. Both are integral, informing the programming we do and are continually evolving. One of the critical aspects of our curriculum design is the use of topics of inquiry (T.O.I- pronounced “toy”). A T.O.I always has relevance to your child because it explores knowledge and skills through a hands-on experience similar to the way that students may encounter it later in their lives.
We believe there is great value in your child engaging with knowledge and skills in an experiential format, not just theoretical. The T.O.I becomes the focal point from which all core academic and non-academic learning centres around for a set amount of time. Most mainstream education divides subjects into sub-groups like math, english, science, etc., however, when using a T.O.I, we are showing the intersectionality between skill and their application in the real world.
We have not abandoned subjects, and we do reference them in discussions with our students. To demonstrate the use of a T.O.I at Road Less Travelled Academy we have provided an example to show how it works.
T.O.I: Forces and Simple Machines
Mathematics: Finding the sum of 2 digit counterweights used to achieve balance during a lever experiment.
Science and Technology: Using simple machines to control the size and direction of an objects net force.
Languages: Recording a journal entry describing how we use simple machines on a daily basis.
Social Studies: Studying the way simple machines have been used throughout history to allow people to complete tasks that would otherwise be impossible.
The Arts: Using gravity based painting methods to emulate Jackson Pollock style paintings.
Health and Physical Education: Riding a bike to determine the forces and simple machines involved in doing so.
Ask any doctor, and they will tell you no two brains are the same. Ask any parent with two or more children and they will confirm that claim. Each child has different strengths, needs, gifts, and dreams. At Road Less Travelled Academy, we recognize and celebrate our students' individuality. In doing so, we realize that every student will progress through their academic journey at a different rate. To help foster your child's unique strengths and needs, we have created a stream based progression structure, where students focus on the mastery of all curriculum content at their own pace.
Students at Road Less Travelled Academy, progress through a series of streams which encompass 2-3 years of Ontario Core Curriculum (OCC)Content. A student’s progress through their stream is determined by their mastery of the OCC content associated with it. Students move on to subsequent streams only after mastering the knowledge base covered in the previous stream.
In the mainstream academic progression, students advance to new grades as they grow older, with advancement based on age (generally-speaking), and not necessarily merit. Through the use of our streams progressions system, we are able to give all students the time and resources to master all of the curriculum content before they progress. This prevents students from being “left behind” due to insufficient foundational knowledge to build upon.
While our mastery-based approach to learning prevents students from falling behind academically, we realize falling back socially can be just as detrimental. To avoid this, we have expanded the academic content of each stream to parallel 2-3 years of OCC content. Extending the educational content beyond a single year's worth of OCC content allows students the ability to move ahead in areas they may excel while taking extra time in areas they may need. Our progression streams and their parallels to multiple years of OCC is what allows us to offer a “progress at your own pace” model without the social shortcomings that can be associated with them. Below you will find our projected streams and their associated OCC content.
The academic content encompassed in each stream is delivered via our “Topics of Inquiry” (T.O.I). Each T.O.I is designed by our knowledgeable instructors, keeping in mind academic content and student individuality, creating an enjoyable and productive learning experience.
While outlining the academic content a student is working on, our progress streams also provide time and space to focus on specific themes beyond academic content. These overarching themes are directly related to a student’s development beyond academics and contribute towards fostering well-rounded individuals. These themes include social skills, critical thinking, curiosity, leadership and many more. At RLTA students we believe in the value of a good education because although children make up only 15% of our population, they make up 100% of our future.
While everything we do is based in our natural classroom, special attention is paid to building a basic set of outdoor knowledge and skills. Our studies include:
Environmental stewardship including hands-on work removing invasive species and assisting with reforestation and conservation work
Tracking and observation of both plants and animals
Survival skills including safe management of fires, orienteering, and carving for older students
One of the core values of Road Less Travelled Academy is to connect our students with a diverse community of teachers and mentors. Our community staff are people living within the greater community of Port Hope and the surrounding area, who are specialists in their field. Community staff come in to share their expertise with our students on an ongoing basis. In doing so, our students begin cultivating authentic relationships and empower them to become active and responsible members of the Port Hope Community.
Our neighbours in the Northumberland Hills are artists, artisans, farmers, coaches, cattlemen carpenters, and on and on. There is a wealth of wisdom around us, and we want to invite those who are interested in sharing their knowledge with our students. Some of these pursuits may require days spent off campus and logistics will be determined on an as-needed basis.
This is awesome…
Road Less Travelled Academy is very honoured to be one of the amazing contributing partners to the Turtle Guardians. As part of our curriculum we have a special Topic of Inquiry centred around the protection and regeneration of the turtle species living here in Ontario. Turtle Guardians empower children and youth to be active participants in helping support the many turtle species that are in peril. The average turtle lays 10 eggs a year and it takes a turtle 25 years or more to replace itself, so with increasing traffic to cottage country, where the majority of our turtles are, chances become slimmer and slimmer. Just click here to learn more about Turtle Guardians.