The science is here.

{We’re just bringing it together and putting it to work.}

 

Cajal Academy is innovating education by grounding every element of curriculum design and the classroom experience in what scientists now understand about how children’s brains develop, how their bodies inform their learning, social and emotional experiences—and what strategies prove effective to change those outcomes.

Here are some resources to help you learn more about the basic principals underpinning our program—check back periodically to see what’s new, and find out more about our approach on our blog, Educating Innovation.


Neuropsychology

Cajal Academy’s program is based on the premise that neuropsychological data should be used to individualize each child’s program to enable them to experience their gifts—and to build up their capacity in areas of weakness through the principal of neuroplasticity. After all, now that we have the science to figure out at a very granular level why a child is struggling, and the science to understand how to “move the needle” to improve it, it seems to us that we have an obligation to do just that.


Neurophysiology

Traditional educational models presume that children learn with their brains, feel with their hearts and move with their bodies—but advances in the field of neurophysiology reveal that in fact we cannot separate the three. Sensory stimuli can dysregulate our mind, learning struggles can be the root of significant anxieties, and immunological reactions can temporarily impede core cognitive functions—to name but a few examples. This can be overwhelming—but it reveals critical tools we can use to improve those outcomes as well. These resources just begin to scratch the surface, but provide a basic primer in some of the science behind what pop culture calls the “mind-body connection.”

 

Social-Emotional Learnings

We understand social-emotional learning as core to all learning events—for the simple reason that when they do not feel safe and connected, children do not learn. But modern science tells us that there are lots of factors contributing to whether a child will feel that sense of safety, or might instead be trapped in a state of survival, including neurological differences like sensory processing disorder, learned experiences like repeatedly feeling unsuccessful at school, chronic medical experiences and even disruptions to the family system such as adoption or divorce. Equally powerful, modern science tell us that just as the body can contribute to throwing a child into survival mode, so too organizing the body can be used as a lever to help improve that sense of safety as well.

At Cajal Academy, we are building on the work of the movement for trauma-informed school by integrating it with scientific understandings about how neurophysiological differences and events inform children’s social and emotional experiences. We push this through all aspects of the trauma-informed approach, from how we build connection to the factors we explore in helping a child understand their own behaviors to the personalized strategies we teach them for how to self-monitor and ultimately self-manage their own survivalist triggers (emotional, sensory, learning and otherwise). And we share the science behind it with the children themselves, giving them a scientific perspective on their struggles that helps them to understand what Carol Dweck calls “the power of yet,” and an alternative narrative to compete with the self-approbation they hear in their own minds. Here are some videos to provide a little more background on important principles behind our approach.

 

Innovative Educational Models

Our highly-individualized programming requires a flexible, student-centric instructional model—and we wouldn’t be fulfilling our mission of integrating modern neuroscience into the classroom if we didn’t take a critical look at traditional assumptions about the classroom as well. We are inspired by the activity happening in educational and technology sectors to develop new curriculum models that step away from the teacher-centric, one-size-fits-all approach that is so ill-suited to meeting the needs of kids with learning, social, emotional or medical differences—especially for twice exceptional learners. Here are resources on some of the educational reform movements that influence Cajal Academy’s program.

Project-based Learning

 
Rocket-Picture.jpg

Cajal Academy launches in fall, 2019!

Neuroscience-driven, innovative program combining individualized instruction, therapeutic expertise and project-based learning to empower twice-exceptional kids & their peers. Accepting applications on a rolling basis for the 2019-20 school year.

 

What Makes Cajal Academy Different:

 

Find out more about how Cajal Academy is bringing this science all together on our blog: