Our Philosophy

Answering the Call

Art and history hybrid lesson at Three Dragons Academy.

TDA fills a need for true arts-focused education. Study after study affirms that early exposure to music, theatre, and art enhances academic achievement and even future career success.

TDA's innovative program combines a casual, calm classroom with a safe yet saturated learning environment. Kids have ownership over their space and education. Parents know their children are gaining critical foundation skills such as keen thinking and cooperative teamwork. Our curriculum is committed to emotional as well as cognitive development through individualized instruction.

Many families seek a balance between the social advantages of the mainstream school model and the flexibility of home-based instruction. TDA gives passionate learners the best of both worlds.

Hybrid Education

Experiential learning with guest musician at Three Dragons Academy.

Over the decades that we've been working as educators and artists, we've investigated a variety of education philosophies including:

  • Reggio
  • Montessori
  • Sudbury
  • Waldorf
  • Classical/Socratic
  • Spolin
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Project-based learning
  • Play-based learning

Combining the best from each of these methods, we've collaborated to refine our own hybrid approach that we’ve fine-tuned into Three Dragons Academy.

Our curriculum is designed to nurture curiosity, creativity, and confidence. These three Cs empower participants’ potential now and into the future.

Arts education is a powerful vehicle that fosters a lifelong love of learning. Our specially crafted music and drama lessons reward harmonious teamwork and attention to detail, while developing courage and originality. Our widely varied art projects teach aesthetics and analysis, stimulate critical thinking skills, and promote divergent thinking. Fearlessly exploring, imaginatively creating and inventing, leading with conviction: these are the very core of innovation.

Personal ownership and self-reliance are key aspects of our classroom: the kids draft and vote on their own classroom rules, clean up after themselves, and even help build some of the classroom works. For example, participants created several original board games which are popular choices in the classroom.

Our classroom is a "prepared environment" with new activities and challenges presented daily and tuned to each monthly TDA theme. It's also a truly child-centered classroom. Unlike co-op models, parents and family are invited into the kids' classroom only for special occasions, such as performances, showcase days, and community events like family game night.

Curriculum

"The free mingling of children who differ broadly in age is a key element to children's abilities to educate themselves successfully, on their own initiatives. Children learn by observing and interacting with others who are older and younger than they are."

—Peter Gray, Free to Learn

Participants at Three Dragons Academy join in daily classroom activities, rotating activities, and special month-long, arts-themed projects. Lessons and activities are based in music, theatre, and art and integrate academic subjects as well (ranging from physics to poetry to economics to Greek myths). Rather than a dictated curriculum set at a median pace for all, much of each TDA participant’s experience is self-determined: self-paced study combined with child-centered teaching let participants’ own inquisitiveness guide their learning choices. Each month, group projects allow more focused and intense exploration, foster teamwork among peers, and give variety and exposure to many fields and interests. Each aspect of the curriculum illustrates clearly that knowledge is its own goal and reward. Homework, testing, and grades have no place in the TDA environment—instead we concentrate on collaborating to build an enduring love of learning.