A project-based, integrated enrichment program for 11 1/2 – 14 year olds (approximately 5th through 8th grades).
Perfect for homeschoolers, unschoolers, and online academy grade schoolers wanting an arts-based enrichment program. SPARK features imagination-fueled learning designed for inspired and empowered participants ready to flourish through more mature approaches.
All classes take place in and around our classroom in the historic University Heights building in Seattle’s University District. See our Location page for details and directions.
SPARK is a two day per week program that runs through the academic year. Class days are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am – 3 pm.
SPARK is an arts-integrated, child-centered approach to middle-grade education that joins teamwork among a small group of peers with the flexibility to focus on individual areas of interest. Inquiry, projects, self-directed work, games, and group lessons are some of the ways SPARK kids learn. Classes are small, allowing participants to forge lasting peer relationships while benefiting from plenty of educator attention.
SPARK focuses on building essential values at a critical age:
- Fun and inspiring group projects and inquiry-led investigations nurture ingenuity through collaboration.
- Themes and classroom culture cultivate compassion by developing emotional intelligence, valuing kindness, and rewarding action that alleviates problems in the classroom and our world.
- Holistic practices, divergent thinking, empathetic approaches, free interchange of ideas, and art with a message inspire connection among people and ideas.
- Culturally aware projects develop community by addressing ideas of citizenship and justice in the real world beyond our unique classroom.
Read more about our teaching philosophy.
2017 – 2018 Sessions
SPARK offers one two day per week session running through the academic year. We are currently finalizing details for our upcoming session. Please check back soon.
2017 – 2018 Fees
7500 annual tuition + 750 nonrefundable registration fee
Tuition is payable in full at the beginning of the year or in monthly payments of 750 (payable by the first of each month, September through June). Registration fee (750) and last month’s tuition deposit (750) are required at registration to secure your child’s enrollment space for the upcoming year.
Financial Aid: We do offer some limited, needs-based scholarships or partial tuition reductions. Alternatively, we can offer financial aid in the form of flexible payment schedules. We're happy to discuss these options if your family is in need.
Our admissions process is as follows:
- Fill out a SPARK application.
- Meet with us to ensure a good fit.
- If your application is accepted, complete the registration materials and pay your registration fee and tuition deposit.
Because our curriculum is based on teamwork, we build our classes carefully so each child can flourish. Our application process allows us and you to make sure that SPARK is the right fit for your family.
We recommend that applicants generally be 10 – 14 years old and have at least 3rd or 4th grade reading and writing skills. Age ranges are approximate. Please contact us if you have questions.
Space in our program is limited because we are committed to maintaining a small class size and a superb educator to child ratio (1:8). While we cannot guarantee you a space for the upcoming academic year, we do sometimes have openings. Please indicate if you would like your child added to our waitpool in the event that a space becomes available.
We're sorry, but we cannot do trial periods. If you are concerned that your child might not be a good fit, we are happy to talk through your concerns before registration.
Please apply by June 1 for consideration for the upcoming academic year.
- Apply. Once we have reviewed your application, we will contact you about next steps.
- Meet with us. If your application is accepted and we have space available, we may invite you and your child to meet with us so we can all determine if SPARK is a good fit for your child.
- Register. If we agree that SPARK is a good fit for your child, we will send you a link to register and make your deposit.
+ What do I need to know about homeschooling/unschooling?
Our part time schedule is ideal for homeschoolers and unschoolers, as well as online academy students (Columbia Virtual Academy, Khan Academy, and WAVA online public school, etc.). Mainstream public and private school students can also take advantage of part time student status to participate in enrichment programs like Three Dragons Academy. Many parents find the Home Based Instruction (HBI) handbook (the “Pinkbook”) helpful. The “Pinkbook” covers all Washington State laws related to education choice. Please be aware that parents of children age 8 and up might need to file the Washington State Declaration of Intent in order to comply with HBI laws. Read more about the Declaration of Intent here.
+ How many openings does SPARK have each year?
Because SPARK is a new program, it’s difficult for us to anticipate enrollment Please check back with us regularly and join our SPARK mailing list to be notified about enrollment changes.
+ When should I apply?
We accept applications year round. Please apply by June 1 for consideration in the upcoming academic year.
+ What is the class size?
We are committed to small classes and superb educator to participant ratios (1:8). Each session has a small class size that ensures individualized instruction.
+ What is your attendance policy
For vacations or sick days, we simply ask that you give us as much advance notice as possible. With advance notice we can adapt the individualized lesson plan around occasional schedule disruptions.
+ What is your sibling policy?
We balance our enrollment years in advance. While we strive to make sure there’s room for each participant’s younger siblings, we do assess sibling participation on a case by case basis. Once an enrollment space is given up, though, any priority for siblings is lost. If SPARK is full, applicants may join the waitpool.
+ Do you use technology in the classroom?
SPARK’s programming creates opportunities for more technology use than participants in the younger TDA program would normally experience, and will vary from quarter to quarter based largely on the requirements of each quarterly theme. (Three Dragons might also offer coding classes, gaming camps, or other tech-related options outside of our SPARK schedule.) Personal technology policy for SPARK students: we do not permit phones, tablet, web-based or other smart-device use during SPARK’s group lessons. Children may leave these tools in their backpacks during the 6 hours of the SPARK class day.
+ How do you handle allergies and food restrictions?
We are humble educators with fine arts degrees giving lessons in a shared, public community-center building as well as onsite at locations throughout the city. So, while we can respect food restrictions (if we were to offer a treat, for example) it is simply impossible for us to provide a true allergen-free environment.
+ Can you administer medications?
We cannot administer or monitor any medications.
+ Can parents be involved at SPARK?
Aside from our small teaching staff, no adults (including family) are permitted in SPARK spaces unless there’s a special reason approved by the participants in advance. We invite family or friends into the classroom only for special events like a Winter Showcase performance or a Family Game Night. New participant family tours and special guest artists are the rare exceptions, but even those are reviewed by the participants beforehand. We do not permit audio or video recording of the kids in their space except by staff.