Coming Soon: Qualia 4th and 5th Graders!

Qualia: The School for Deeper Learning is delighted to announce that, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, it will be enrolling fourth and fifth grade students at its campus in Calabasas. 

Please join us for Coffee and Conversation with our Heads of School on January 11th at 5:00PM. We invite you to stay for our grades 6-12 Open House after the Coffee and Conversation to learn more abut Qualia’s unique learning model and see what’s in store for your students. Please RSVP here.

When the school opened its doors in September 2021, parents of fourth and fifth grade students were already expressing interest for the unique learning model offered at Qualia. The core traits of a Qualia learner — boundless curiosity, productive questioning, and critical thinking — are all skills that can be taught, in age-appropriate ways, to younger kids. Indeed, our own faculty member JC Wright is a trained member of a growing “Philosophy for Children” movement rippling outward from the University of Washington and the UK, among other places. Qualia is proud to be in the vanguard that is introducing deep thinking to upper elementary kids, and we are excited to draw from, and contribute to, this emerging international model and its movement away from traditional fact-based instruction.

We know from speaking with our present families that for many students, kindergarten through grade 3 are great learning and social experiences, but that something fundamentally changes in grade 4. We know that that big change is that in upper elementary grades, the focus often changes from learning for the joy of learning to learning for “the big jump to middle school,” where tests, standardization and large classrooms are preparing students for even more of the same in high school. Students for whom the Qualia model is ideal do not thrive in these kinds of environments and we can see withdrawal from learning even in grade 4 students. We also know that when these students come to us in grades 7 or 8 or even later, that they quickly “snap back” to their old selves.

Our conclusion was simple – let’s head off that retreat from learning before it even happens. We believe that providing these upper elementary students with an approach to learning that privileges self-direction and student interest while embedding these practices in an instructional model based on our Symposium, Deep Dive and Great Ideas programs could provide unique benefits.

As the first step, we will be recruiting an upper elementary school specialist with training in teaching philosophy to young learners (see this link for more about this exciting movement). We would also be delighted to meet with parents of prospective Qualia 4th and 5th graders to gather their ideas and invite them to partner with us in building this unique program.

We look forward to seeing you on campus to discuss this exciting evolution in the Qualia model.

Jim and Jon